100 books like The Invention of Murder

By Judith Flanders,

Here are 100 books that The Invention of Murder fans have personally recommended if you like The Invention of Murder. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of By Persons Unknown: The Strange Death of Christine Demeter

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

This book was written not as a work of history, but contemporary non-fiction by two reporters covering one of Canada’s highest-profile murder cases of the 1970s, the killing of Christine Demeter, a former model married to flamboyant Toronto businessman and Hungarian immigrant Peter Demeter. By Canadian standards, the authors had unprecedented access to lawyers and others involved in the 1974 trial of Demeter for the murder of his wife and benefited from evidence and a cast of characters straight out of a best-selling crime novel. Demeter was found guilty and while serving his sentence he was convicted of instigating two separate plots to have people kidnapped and murdered. By Persons Unknown broke new ground in Canadian true crime writing.   

By George Jonas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Persons Unknown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By persons unknown: The strange death of Christine Demeter [Jan 01, 1977] Jonas, George


Book cover of The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

Similar to my second choice, this American study explores the impact of a sensational unsolved death on early Victorian New York and America in general. In 1841 Marie Rogers, an attractive young woman who worked in a tobacco shop, was found dead in the Hudson River, suspected to be a victim of murder. The case was well covered in the press and exposed weaknesses in the city’s system of policing.  The author details how Edgar Allen Poe furthered early detective fiction in his story The Mystery Marie Roger, which although set in Paris borrowed heavily from the New York events. An example of how the public can make a celebrity out of a murder victim who is not from the elite.     

By Daniel Stashower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beautiful Cigar Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

On July 28, 1841, the body of Mary Rogers, a twenty-year-old cigar girl, was found floating in the Hudson-and New York's unregulated police force proved incapable of solving the crime. One year later, a struggling writer named Edgar Allan Poe decided to take on the case-and sent his fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, to solve the baffling murder of Mary Rogers in "The Mystery of Marie Rogt."


Book cover of The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

We all know that Grisham writes best-selling fiction that has been turned into several Hollywood blockbusters. But the most frightening book by this former small-town defence lawyer is his only work of non-fiction, an account of the wrongful conviction of Ronald Keith Williamson of the 1982 sex murder of Debra Sue Carter. Williamson, who was low-hanging fruit for police and prosecutors in Ada, Oklahoma, languished in prison for 11 years before being exonerated by DNA evidence. This book should be mandatory reading for police, prosecutors, and judges and is a useful reminder that public opinion and justice are often mutually exclusive.

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Innocent Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

__________________
***NOW A MAJOR NETFLIX SERIES***

A gripping true-crime story of a shocking miscarriage of justice, from international bestselling thriller author John Grisham.

In the baseball draft of 1971, Ron Williamson was the first player chosen from Oklahoma. Signing with Oakland, he said goodbye to his small home town and left for California to pursue his dreams of glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits - drinking, drugs and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and…


Book cover of Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Nation

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

This is a compelling Canadian true-crime tale that captures the atmosphere of early 20th-century Toronto and explores the intersection of class, ethnicity, and societal expectations of proper moral conduct by men and women during wartime. The Masseys were a wealthy Ontario family that amassed a fortune manufacturing agricultural equipment. In 1915 Carrie Davies was an 18-year old English maid working in the home of C.A. “Bert” Massey. She killed her married employer with a revolver in front of a witness and freely admitted carrying out the crime, explaining that he had been making sexual advances towards her. I enjoyed this book as it reminds us of how legal rules and arguments in the past could be overwhelmed by public pressure and cultural expectations. Davies, who many viewed as a heroine, was acquitted of murder by an all-male jury in less than 1 hour.       

By Charlotte Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction
Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Winner of the CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History
Winner of the Heritage Toronto Book Award
A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
Finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Ottawa Book Award, the Libris Award, the OLA Evergreen Award

A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and…


Book cover of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Michael Mullin Author Of Gothic Revival

From my list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people think of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece as horror, but the truth is – and I love this fact! – Frankenstein is widely considered to be the first science fiction novel. I’ve always been fascinated with the origin story of the novel: Lord Byron’s ghost-story writing competition proposed among friends at Geneva’s Villa Diodati in 1816. I’ve watched every movie version of that iconic gathering. (Most are bad. Oh well.) As a college professor, I taught Frankenstein in a writing class. (I was also a preschool teacher. Honest! Those kids read other books.)

Michael's book list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster

Michael Mullin Why did Michael love this book?

A classic that, in my opinion, lives up to the hype. Why is it on this list? It’s an iconic example of a story that would never have been written were it not for the literary gates opened 68 years before by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

I particularly liked that although short, this story is in no rush to reveal this or that the way it most certainly would be if written today. I find myself rereading details and descriptions when faced with any issue that presents a duality. Books like this that live far outside their own pages, ones that are elevated to cultural iconography, will always intrigue me.

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Dr. Henry Jekyll is a well-liked and respected physician. When he calls upon his lawyer, Mr. Utterson, to draw up a new will to include a strange new beneficiary, Mr. Utterson takes it upon himself to investigate the identity of this strange man. But nothing sufficiently prepares him for the truth he will uncover! Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes theme discussions and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work…


Book cover of Our Hideous Progeny

Angie Spoto Author Of The Grief Nurse

From my list on gothic set in Scotland.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first visited Scotland, I drove north from Edinburgh, driving through much of the country to catch a ferry to Orkney. This northern archipelago is certainly one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to; the steep sea cliffs and standing stones, windblown grasses, and violent waves put me in a gothic state of mind. I moved to Scotland a few years later to live by the sea. Since that first visit to Orkney, I’ve written my own Scottish gothic novels, as well as presented research on the gothic at various academic conferences. It’s a topic that I’m certain will compel me for a long time to come. 

Angie's book list on gothic set in Scotland

Angie Spoto Why did Angie love this book?

This book is such a smart novel. It draws its inspiration from Frankenstein, and although it is very different from the original (with its likable lesbian protagonist), it loses none of the original novel’s gothic themes and atmosphere.

The story moves quickly yet manages to convey rich language and explore complex themes. 

By Charlie McGill,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Our Hideous Progeny as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gothic adventure story, a classic tale with a feminist twist, a story of ambition and obsession, forbidden love and sabotage...

'It is not the monster you must fear, but the monster it makes of men...'

Mary is the great-niece of Victor Frankenstein. She knows her great uncle disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the Arctic but she doesn't know why or how...

The 1850s is a time of discovery and London is ablaze with the latest scientific theories and debates, especially when a spectacular new exhibition of dinosaur sculptures opens at the Crystal Palace. Mary, with a sharp mind and…


Book cover of The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece

Michael Mullin Author Of Gothic Revival

From my list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people think of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece as horror, but the truth is – and I love this fact! – Frankenstein is widely considered to be the first science fiction novel. I’ve always been fascinated with the origin story of the novel: Lord Byron’s ghost-story writing competition proposed among friends at Geneva’s Villa Diodati in 1816. I’ve watched every movie version of that iconic gathering. (Most are bad. Oh well.) As a college professor, I taught Frankenstein in a writing class. (I was also a preschool teacher. Honest! Those kids read other books.)

Michael's book list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster

Michael Mullin Why did Michael love this book?

This is such a fascinatingly researched book about the science during the time Mary Shelley created Frankenstein. I was surprised and enthralled to learn how many real-life Victor Frankensteins there were in Victorian England, all trying to be the first to reanimate a dead corpse. The accounts of grave robbery and, yes, even murder (The fresher the corpse, the better the experiment!) had me hooked throughout.

Also intriguing was how this macabre practice was deemed by many to be the cutting edge of science. I feel the theme is especially resonant today as we face our own life-creating hubris with Artificial Intelligence.

By Roseanne Montillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lady and Her Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Montillo recounts how—at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution—Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.

With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research—human reanimation—The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary…


Book cover of The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein

Michael Mullin Author Of Gothic Revival

From my list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people think of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece as horror, but the truth is – and I love this fact! – Frankenstein is widely considered to be the first science fiction novel. I’ve always been fascinated with the origin story of the novel: Lord Byron’s ghost-story writing competition proposed among friends at Geneva’s Villa Diodati in 1816. I’ve watched every movie version of that iconic gathering. (Most are bad. Oh well.) As a college professor, I taught Frankenstein in a writing class. (I was also a preschool teacher. Honest! Those kids read other books.)

Michael's book list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster

Michael Mullin Why did Michael love this book?

I picked up this book because it reminded me of a writing assignment I did in college. Instead of a traditional critical essay on Frankenstein, I wrote a “scene” in which Mary Shelley and Victor Frankenstein discussed the novel's themes. (I got a good grade if you are curious.) This isn’t the most lyrically written novel, but I loved the bold premise of bringing Victor into the real world to interact with the Villa Diodati group, telling them the unbelievable tale of his creation.

I admired the clever turns throughout, and the climactic discovery was well-earned. I’ve always been a fan of the fictional character stepping off the page. This one had me thinking long after I’d finished it.  

By Peter Ackroyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Victor Frankenstein begins his anatomy experiments in a barn in the secluded village of Headington, near Oxford. The coroner's office provides the corpses he needs - but they have often died by violent means and are damaged and putrifying. Victor moves his coils and jars and electrical fluids to a deserted pottery manufactury in Limehouse. And, from Limehouse, makes contact with the Doomesday Men - the resurrectionists.

Victor pays better than any hospital for the bodies of the very recently dead. Even so, perfect specimens are hard to come by... until that Thames-side dawn when Victor, waiting, wrapped in his…


Book cover of Tombland

Terry Morgan Author Of Whistleblower

From my list on international crime exotic locations nasty politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

What I look for in a book is something that triggers my serious side. So be it if that removes a whole range of fantasy books or those that merely titillate. Because I’ve traveled a lot, ‘feasible fiction’ is what I write and what I look for in other books. A story might be entirely fictitious, but as long as it’s not far-fetched, has a cast of realistic characters, an international or historic location, and keeps me on my toes to the very end, that’s great. If it’s got some politics and science thrown in, that’s even better. I hope my list lives up to expectations. 

Terry's book list on international crime exotic locations nasty politics

Terry Morgan Why did Terry love this book?

C. J. Sansom, a historian, died just recently, but he’s left a legacy of historical crime novels based around the time of Henry VIII. The main character is a charismatic, hunchbacked lawyer called Matthew Shardlake.

If, like me, you like books with strong characters, then, together with Sansom’s skill at weaving in the sights, sounds, smells, political shenanigans, and countless characters of Tudor England, Tombland is a fantastic read. It’s a long book (800 pages), so take your time on it, but I think this is historical crime fiction at its best. 

By C.J. Sansom,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Tombland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tudor England is brought vividly to life in Tombland, the seventh novel in C. J. Sansom's number one bestselling Shardlake series, for fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.

'When it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival' - Sunday Times
'Sansom has the trick of writing an enthralling narrative. Like Hilary Mantel, he produces densely textured historical novels that absorb their readers in another time' - Andrew Taylor, Spectator

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller

England, 1549: Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .

The nominal…


Book cover of The Hanover Square Affair

Grace Burrowes Author Of A Gentleman Fallen on Hard Times

From my list on mysteries with gorgeous prose and delightful sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always interested me, in part because it helps explain how we got where we are. I have a bachelor of music in music history, which is where I first became aware of how small things—the invention of the quill pen—can ripple into huge consequences. Tack onto that an inclination toward political science and law, plus a family full of bench scientists, and it’s easy to see how stories set in the past that focus on whodunit, how, and why fascinate me. Both reading and writing against that tapestry educates me, entertains me, and gives me a glimpse of our capacity to transcend all difficulties for the sake of truth and justice.

Grace's book list on mysteries with gorgeous prose and delightful sleuths

Grace Burrowes Why did Grace love this book?

I find the Georgian era fascinating (kinda shows, right?) particularly in the years immediately after Waterloo.

Gardner (a pseudonym for prolific author Jennifer Ashley) presents us with a sleuth who is a former officer recently returned from the war. He’s limping in body and spirit, and the puzzles he solves take us from the slums and alleys to high society, and a lot of interesting places in between.

Lacey is grouchy, astute, sweet, and tenacious, I doubt I will ever tire of reading of his exploits. (And if he’s your jam too, you will doubtless enjoy Gardner’s Gladiator Mysteries, and her Belowstairs Mysteries.) 

By Ashley Gardner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Hanover Square Affair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

London, 1816
Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is piqued when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the young woman leads to murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. At the same time, he struggles with his transition from a soldier's life to the civilian world, redefining his role with his former commanding officer, and making new friends--from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden.

Book 1…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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