100 books like The Moonstone

By Wilkie Collins,

Here are 100 books that The Moonstone fans have personally recommended if you like The Moonstone. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Kidnapped

David Cairns Author Of The Case of the Wandering Corpse

From my list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been a captivating adventure for me, a stage to rekindle the echoes of times long past. My journey began amid musty archives in Hobart, where I stumbled upon a handwritten prison record about my wife's feisty ancestor, transported in the 1830s. There and then, I resolved to breathe life into the fading embers of her existence, and after extensive research, I wrote my first novel, a tapestry of historical events intertwined with the resurrection of long-forgotten souls. Since then, I've applied lessons from masters like Conan Doyle to create exciting, atmospheric stories that turn us all into time travelers on an exhilarating voyage.

David's book list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem

David Cairns Why did David love this book?

This is an enthralling adventure story that drags the reader across the rugged mountains, glens, and cities of 18th-century Scotland as the hero seeks to recover his stolen inheritance.

The story gallops along with vivid descriptions that transport the reader back to a time when loyalty and honour were really cherished. The character development, as David Balfour and Alan Breck risk all amongst the failed Jacobite uprising, is exceptional. This is another timeless classic that transports the reader to another age.

I love the interplay of real characters and real events with the underlying story, a technique that I use fully in my novels; it adds depth, veracity, and interest. Stevenson’s prose is also exceptional, creating images that make this a compelling and memorable adventure story.

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Kidnapped as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12.

What is this book about?

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, swashbuckling novel about a young boy who is forced to go to sea and who is then caught up in high drama, daring adventure and political intrigue.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is introduced by Louise Welsh and features black and white illustrations.

Headstrong David Balfour, orphaned at seventeen, sets out from the Scottish Lowlands to seek his fortune in Edinburgh. Betrayed by his wealthy Uncle…


Book cover of The Great Gatsby

David Nicholson Author Of The Garretts of Columbia: A Black South Carolina Family from Slavery to the Dawn of Integration

From my list on race in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I was born in the U.S., I didn’t wind up living here full-time till I was almost 10. The result? I have always been curious about what it means to be an American. In one way or another, the books on my list explore that question. More than that, all (well, nearly all) insist that black history is inextricably intertwined with American history and that American culture is a mulatto culture, a fusion of black and white. After years of making my living as a journalist, editor, and book reviewer, I left newspapers to write fiction and non-fiction, exploring these and other questions.

David's book list on race in America

David Nicholson Why did David love this book?

Was the hero of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic African-American?

A couple of academics have advanced that theory. I’m not sure I buy it. The notion (and supporting “evidence”) seems little more than a literary parlor game, not to mention the fact that nothing in Fitzgerald’s work or his letters shows a particular engagement with, or sympathy for, black Americans.

Still, it’s an interesting metaphor and the reason this seminal American novel appears in a list of what’s otherwise non-fiction. Gatsby’s yearning for his lost love could be an African-American yearning for a beloved country that does not always love them in return.

I first read this book in high school. It wasn’t until my second, third, and fourth re-reading that I began to appreciate Fitzgerald’s gift for story-telling and his evocative, poignant language. And to identify with Gatsby, the outsider craving to become an insider.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Great Gatsby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…


Book cover of Murder Must Advertise

Linda Howe-Steiger Author Of Terroir: A Morgan Kendall Wine Country Mystery

From my list on cozy mysteries that have a secondary ethical theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in Ohio, transplanted to Northern California, I’ve played many roles in life, including college teacher, environmental writer, urban planner, political activist, and mom. In the evening, when my body aches with tiredness, but my brain won’t stop churning on whatever subject I wrestled with that day, I love a good but “meaty” little cozy—one with a clever puzzle, something to make me smile, and a secondary theme that goes a bit into an important, really engaging topic. Then I snuggle down and enjoy my kind of decompression reading. After retirement, I started to write my own “cozies plus.” I hope you enjoy my picks.  

Linda's book list on cozy mysteries that have a secondary ethical theme

Linda Howe-Steiger Why did Linda love this book?

A bit dated, but fun.

“Advertising” used to be considered a good field for English majors, because they have “a way with words.” But advertising has morphed. It’s become “marketing” or “public relations” or “publicity”—more about graphics now, than words. Different.

Lord Peter Wimsey however still has “a way with words” in this cozy, so he goes undercover in a London advertising agency to investigate a suspicious death. With PG Wodehouse-like verbal hi-jinks, he ingratiates himself into the copywriting department, composing jingles about cleansers and such.

Silliness ensues. Then an interesting question arises: are there ethics in this business where people are rewarded for telling lies to sell what nobody actually needs? In such a culture, can Peter discover the truth? Can the words of any advertiser be trusted? 

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Think MadMen in prewar London' The Guardian

The tenth book in Dorothy L Sayers' classic Lord Peter Wimsey series, introduced by bestselling crime writer Peter Robinson - a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Margery Allingham's Campion Mysteries.

Victor Dean fell to his death on the stairs of Pym's Advertising Agency, but no one seems to be sorry. Until an inquisitive new copywriter joins the firm and asks some awkward questions...

Disguised as his disreputable cousin Death Bredon, Lord Peter Wimsey takes a job - one that soon draws him into a vicious network of blackmailers and drug…


Book cover of The Maltese Falcon

T.R. Napper Author Of 36 Streets

From my list on broken heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I a cyberpunk writer, I’m officially a Doctor of Cyberpunk. My Ph.D. thesis, The Dark Century: 1946–2046, looked at hardboiled fiction, film noir, and tech-noir (AKA cyberpunk) traditions across the past, the present, and an imagined future. It was a radical break from my previous career as an aid worker, where I ran poverty alleviation programs throughout Southeast Asia. And yet, I’ve drawn on that experience in my prose, using the experience of the cultures that I lived and worked in to breathe life into the settings for my short stories and novels. 

T.R.'s book list on broken heroes

T.R. Napper Why did T.R. love this book?

Dashiell Hammett, more than any other author, created the hardboiled anti-hero. He’s also a damn fine prose writer. I re-read one of his books every year because of this, hoping perhaps to absorb his spare, elegant style. Each sentence is brutally trimmed of any excess and yet resonates with layered meaning. 

Dashiell Hammett himself was a broken hero. He fought in two World Wars for his country and yet was sent to jail by the committee for un-American activities for refusing to name names. He was a communist, who yet, as a young man, worked for the fascist, union-busting Pinkertons.

A complex, troubled individual who created dark and cynical worlds, and none more cynical than that of The Maltese Falcon. Here, we have a femme fatale, a hardboiled detective, gangsters, and conmen, all vying for the titular prize. It is a mean-streets masterpiece. 

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Maltese Falcon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the greatest crime novels of the 20th century.

'His name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow' Independent

Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a…


Book cover of Murder on the Orient Express

Kitty Murphy Author Of Death in Heels

From my list on murder mysteries to brighten your day.

Why am I passionate about this?

I adore crime fiction, especially mysteries. They make sense. In the real world, crime rarely has the resolution of fiction, and almost never has Belgian detectives with very neat moustaches, or old ladies solving a who-dunnit… I grew up reading these books, mentally inhaling everything from Christie to Rankin to McDermid, and now I spend my days writing brutal but quite silly murders solved by a woman who would really rather wear an old grey fleece and jeans than a sparkly dress, and her friends, the fictional TRASH drag family. Murder mysteries are fun – perfect escapism. In a world so messed up as ours is right now, don’t we need to escape into fiction?

Kitty's book list on murder mysteries to brighten your day

Kitty Murphy Why did Kitty love this book?

I hate this book for all the reasons I love it: because it’s perfect.

It’s a perfect crime novel and a perfect mystery, with perfectly awful characters, set in a perfectly fabulous situation, and as a mystery writer I know I will never ever top Christie’s brilliance but oh my, any chance I have, I fall into this story.

Romance. Deception. Murder. Shiny things.

Genius.

Forget the movie, pick up the real thing. Poirot at his best.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Murder on the Orient Express as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE MOST WIDELY READ MYSTERY OF ALL TIME—NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY KENNETH BRANAGH AND PRODUCED BY RIDLEY SCOTT!

“The murderer is with us—on the train now . . .”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s…


Book cover of Warrant For X

Dolores Gordon-Smith Author Of The Chapel in the Woods

From my list on classic mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved classic mystery fiction – why? Well, there’s always a “proper” story, where everyday life is plunged into chaos and then re-invented. There’s always a puzzle, of course, but in addition, there’s the characters and the settings. All the books I’ve recommended – and I could recommend so many more! – have a cracker of a story where emotion is fused with logic to give both an emotional and an intellectual treat.

Dolores' book list on classic mysteries

Dolores Gordon-Smith Why did Dolores love this book?

Philip MacDonald fought in WW1 before becoming one of the most popular mystery writers of the 1920s and 1930s. Sheldon Garret, the successful American playwright, goes into a London tea shop and overhears two women plotting to kidnap a child and – maybe – murder. Sheldon turns to Anthony Gethryn and with the slender clue of an abandoned shopping list to guide him, Anthony must try to prevent a ruthless crime. Kidnap, murder and blackmail form the spine of this, one of MacDonald’s best novels as Anthony Gethryn races to prevent yet more deaths.

By Philip MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Warrant For X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brief shopping list is the only clue Anthony Gethryn has to help Sheldon Garrett, an American dramatist, find the two women he accidently overheard plotting a crime


Book cover of The Thirty-Nine Steps

Ray C Doyle Author Of The Defector's Diary

From my list on mystery thrillers ripped from news headlines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I guess my real interest in writing about the good and bad in crime and politics and the good and bad characters involved started with my first job as a junior in a local newspaper. The 60s was a time of great change. I was in the right place at the right time and got involved in reporting local government politics. I graduated later to cover Britain’s role within the EU in Brussels. I was fascinated, not so much by the politics but by the politicians and fellow news reporters involved. They inspired the creation of my fictional character, Pete West, a hardboiled political columnist. 

Ray's book list on mystery thrillers ripped from news headlines

Ray C Doyle Why did Ray love this book?

Read as a teenager, this book hooked me into mystery thrillers. It has everything from murder to political intrigue to a spy ring.

The book is a chase thriller with twists, turns, and surprises. Written in 1930, the work had the feel of a ‘boy's own’ adventure story with a man on the run hunting German spies and clues leading to the 39 steps and victory.

Great story!

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Thirty-Nine Steps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.


Book cover of The Daughter of Time

Richard Vaughan Davies Author Of Fireweed

From my list on books from a pre-internet era, full of action, humour and social comment.

Why am I passionate about this?

The list reflects my interest in history and my own recollections of the days before the current era of mass tourism and online globalisation. I confess to a feeling of painful nostalgia for a time when we all had a very different worldview, and these books are all of that period. They feature temporal grief for an age that has passed. They are all highly readable books by writers at the top of their game.

Richard's book list on books from a pre-internet era, full of action, humour and social comment

Richard Vaughan Davies Why did Richard love this book?

This real-life detective story intrigued and perplexed me in equal measure and still does every time I read it.

Was Richard III really the evil monster of Shakespeare’s play who killed the little Princes in the tower or the monarch who, in the three short years of his reign, introduced the bail system, attacked corruption, and set up hospitals?

This clever novel, featuring Tey’s detective hero investigating Richard’s history and character, led me to investigate another mystery, that of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. 

By Josephine Tey,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Daughter of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_________________________
Josephine Tey's classic novel about Richard III, the hunchback king whose skeleton was famously discovered in a council car park, investigates his role in the death of his nephews, the princes in the Tower, and his own death at the Battle of Bosworth.

Richard III reigned for only two years, and for centuries he was villified as the hunch-backed wicked uncle, murderer of the princes in the Tower. Josephine Tey's novel The Daughter of Time is an investigation into the real facts behind the last Plantagenet king's reign, and an attempt to right what many believe to be the…


Book cover of A Study in Scarlet

David Cairns Author Of The Case of the Wandering Corpse

From my list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been a captivating adventure for me, a stage to rekindle the echoes of times long past. My journey began amid musty archives in Hobart, where I stumbled upon a handwritten prison record about my wife's feisty ancestor, transported in the 1830s. There and then, I resolved to breathe life into the fading embers of her existence, and after extensive research, I wrote my first novel, a tapestry of historical events intertwined with the resurrection of long-forgotten souls. Since then, I've applied lessons from masters like Conan Doyle to create exciting, atmospheric stories that turn us all into time travelers on an exhilarating voyage.

David's book list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem

David Cairns Why did David love this book?

This is the story that introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world.

The plot brings the reader to the dark streets of Victorian London as a cunning murderer is hunted down. Holmes’s unique powers of observation and deduction then set the bar for all subsequent detective stories as his friend, Watson, is etched into your mind as a ‘true blue’ friend whom you would like to call your own. The story is intricate, delving into the human psyche and the nature of justice. It draws you into the period; it has great characters and mystery, intrigue, and unexpected deductive skills.

I make no apologies for incorporating some of this Sherlockian style into my own mysteries, and perhaps there cannot be a greater tribute than that for this timeless classic. 

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Study in Scarlet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet is the literary debut of the world's most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, introduced by Iain Sinclair with notes by Ed Glinert in Penguin Classics.

Convalescing in London after a disastrous experience of war in Afghanistan, Dr John Watson finds himself sharing rooms with his enigmatic new acquaintance, Sherlock Holmes. But their quiet bachelor life at 221B Baker Street is soon interrupted by the grisly discovery of a dead man in a grimy 'ill-omened' house in south-east London, his face contorted by an expression of horror and hatred such as Watson has…


Book cover of Flashman on the March

David Cairns Author Of The Case of the Wandering Corpse

From my list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been a captivating adventure for me, a stage to rekindle the echoes of times long past. My journey began amid musty archives in Hobart, where I stumbled upon a handwritten prison record about my wife's feisty ancestor, transported in the 1830s. There and then, I resolved to breathe life into the fading embers of her existence, and after extensive research, I wrote my first novel, a tapestry of historical events intertwined with the resurrection of long-forgotten souls. Since then, I've applied lessons from masters like Conan Doyle to create exciting, atmospheric stories that turn us all into time travelers on an exhilarating voyage.

David's book list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem

David Cairns Why did David love this book?

This unique book chronicles the misadventures of the school bully from Tom Brown’s Schooldays who has matured into an unapologetic coward marching across the pages of 19th-century British imperialism.

Its historical depth weaves in actual events and characters of the time and blends humour, adventure, satire, and great character development. Flashman, with his roguish charm, makes for an unforgettable character who, despite or perhaps because of his cowardice, always seems to find a way to come out on top.

Fraser writes with an easy pace, and his meticulous research into history adds another dimension. It is a technique that I use unashamedly in my own books, although Fraser’s tongue-in-cheek commentary on the social mores of the age set this author apart from everyone else.

By George MacDonald Fraser (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flashman on the March as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Harry Flashman: the unrepentant bully of Tom Brown's schooldays, now with a Victoria Cross, has three main talents - horsemanship, facility with foreign languages and fornication. A reluctant military hero, Flashman plays a key part in most of the defining military campaigns of the 19th century, despite trying his utmost to escape them all.

Many have marvelled at General Napier's daring 1868 expedition through the treacherous peaks and bottomless chasms of Abyssinia to rescue a small group of British citizens held captive by the mad tyrant Emperor Theodore. But the vital role of Sir Harry Flashman, V.C., in the success…


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