100 books like The Simple Art of Murder

By Raymond Chandler,

Here are 100 books that The Simple Art of Murder fans have personally recommended if you like The Simple Art of Murder. 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 The Late Show

Katie Tietjen Author Of Death In The Details

From my list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths.

Who am I?

I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. Then, in a plot twist that surprised exactly no one, I became an English teacher, a librarian (did you know you can recommend books for a LIVING???), and an author. I love books where the sleuth must not only solve the case at hand, but also wrestle with some sort of ongoing personal problem–bonus points if they can simultaneously pull the curtain back on societal issues and make me feel like I’m getting to experience life in a place where I don’t actually live (I’m looking at you, London and L.A.). 

Katie's book list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths

Katie Tietjen Why did Katie love this book?

Speaking of Los Angeles, I’ve long felt that for my favorite crime writer, Michael Connelly, the City of Angels is more like a character than a setting; it comes alive in his books. The Late Show, his first story featuring Detective Renee Ballard, is no exception.

Ballard is an outsider and an underdog, partly due to her own choices and partly because of circumstances beyond her control, and I was rooting for her from the get-go. This book is extra special to me because I got to meet Connelly when he was touring to promote it. 

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this first installment of the Renée Ballard series, #1 bestselling author Michael Connelly introduces a "complicated and driven" young detective fighting to prove herself on the LAPD's toughest beat (The New York Times).
Renee Ballard works the midnight shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing few, as each morning she turns everything over to the daytime units. It's a frustrating job for a once up-and-coming detective, but it's no accident. She's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.
But one night Ballard catches two assignments she doesn't want to part…


Book cover of Thirteen

Abi Silver Author Of The Pinocchio Brief

From my list on challenging our views that justice prevails.

Who am I?

Having spent my youth watching dramas Crown Court and L.A. Law on TV and reading Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s not surprising I became a lawyer and then went on to write legal thrillers myself. The courtroom is an inherently theatrical place, where emotions and tensions run high. It’s a place where egos collide, theories are propounded and punctured and the liberty (and sometimes the life) of the accused is at stake. It follows, then, that lawyers operate in a totally even-handed system, where they’ll always achieve a fair and just result and uncover the truth. All the books I’ve recommended challenge this notion in different (but equally brilliant) ways.

Abi's book list on challenging our views that justice prevails

Abi Silver Why did Abi love this book?

"The serial killer isn’t on trial he’s on the jury."

Actor Bobby Solomon is accused of murdering his wife and bodyguard in a frenzied attack. Eddie Flynn, former conman turned lawyer, is brought in to assist the defence team. Eddie’s the full package—resourceful, quick-witted, a masterful cross-examiner, and he can handle himself in a fight. He also believes in Bobby’s innocence. But he’s up against an ingenious, ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to achieve his cause. 

If the central premise—that of a killer infiltrating the jury and undermining the entire justice system—isn’t sufficiently terrifying, then the array of corrupt police officers and self-serving lawyers (on both sides) should tip you over the edge. Happily, Eddie stands head and shoulders above them all.

By Steve Cavanagh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN'T ON TRIAL.

HE'S ON THE JURY...

****************

'THIRTEEN is my favourite read of the year.' Sarah Pinborough

'Outstanding.' Lee Child

'Smart and original. This is a belter of a book.' Clare Mackintosh

****************

They were Hollywood's hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to…


Book cover of Capital Kill

Stephen Bentley Author Of Operation George: A Gripping True Crime Story of an Audacious Undercover Sting

From my list on grounded crime fiction.

Who am I?

I was a cop for fourteen years and a barrister in the UK for another fourteen years appearing in criminal trials. I've seen and heard enough real cops, lawyers, and criminals to last me a lifetime and more. It left an indelible mark on my own writing and reading preferences. I love true crime but also good crime fiction with realistic characters, settings, and plausible storylines. There's a thread that connects me to most of the authors whose books I have recommended. They're either former lawyers with investigative experience or experienced journalists with experience of a crime beat. Chandler is the exception, but I must say he would've probably fitted right into the police forces.

Stephen's book list on grounded crime fiction

Stephen Bentley Why did Stephen love this book?

Capital Kill is a classic example of an author “writing what he knows.” Marc Rainer is a former prosecutor in the courts of Washington D.C. and a former lawyer with the US Air Force's Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. He is married to a former Air Force OSI Special Agent.

His protagonist, Jeff Trask, shares the same background. In the book we also get to meet Lynn, an Air Force OSI Special Agent.

This is the first in a series based on Jeff Trask and it is labelled as “crime drama.” It is. But it is also a delightful mix of police procedural and legal courtroom thriller. I loved it!

By Marc Rainer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Capital Kill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A few short blocks from the safety of the museums and monuments on the National Mall, a ruthless killer prowls the streets of Washington, D.C. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask joins a team of FBI agents and police detectives as they try to solve the series of brutal murders. As the body count rises, the investigation leads to a chilling confrontation with the leader of an international drug smuggling ring, and no one is safe, not even the police.

Written by former Washington prosecutor Marc Rainer, Capital Kill is a swirling thrill ride through the labyrinth of a major federal investigation…


Book cover of Rabette Run

Stephen Bentley Author Of Operation George: A Gripping True Crime Story of an Audacious Undercover Sting

From my list on grounded crime fiction.

Who am I?

I was a cop for fourteen years and a barrister in the UK for another fourteen years appearing in criminal trials. I've seen and heard enough real cops, lawyers, and criminals to last me a lifetime and more. It left an indelible mark on my own writing and reading preferences. I love true crime but also good crime fiction with realistic characters, settings, and plausible storylines. There's a thread that connects me to most of the authors whose books I have recommended. They're either former lawyers with investigative experience or experienced journalists with experience of a crime beat. Chandler is the exception, but I must say he would've probably fitted right into the police forces.

Stephen's book list on grounded crime fiction

Stephen Bentley Why did Stephen love this book?

Not only did this novel remind me of Lewis Carroll's works, but it also reminded me of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and other works of theirs in their hallucinogenic-inspired songs and albums. Rippington himself is aware of that in his writing as he references both Alice in Wonderland and the phrase 'magical mystery tour.'

So far, I may have misled you because this book is a real thriller. It travels along at the speed of sound and though the things happening to Emerson Rabette are fantastic, they are so believable at the same time. That's difficult to do as a writer but Mr. Rippington manages it with ease and much panache.

By Nick Rippington, Emma Mitchell (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rabette Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What the readers are saying...
★★★★★ The perfect escapist read for our times
‘★★★★★ The sort of book you ‘watch’ while reading... utterly brilliant
★★★★★ If possible, I would have awarded this 10 stars. This book is much more than amazing.
★★★★★ The author, Nick Rippington, himself describes it as "Alice in Wonderland... with guns." Well, he's right and it's not hype.

Graphic designer Emerson Rabette is forced to use the London Underground to get to a meeting with his employers. There's a problem, as he's terrified of the tube. He is no ordinary commuter and this is no ordinary…


Book cover of The Shortest Way to Hades

Kate Darroch Author Of Death in Paris

From my list on humorous murder mysteries.

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

Kate's book list on humorous murder mysteries

Kate Darroch Why did Kate love this book?

Narrator Professor Hilary Tamar’s habits and character traits invite non-stop laughter; and yet amazingly the three young barrister characters are every bit as funny in an entirely different way. One of the barristers always carries the action; but Hilary is no Dr. Watson gasping at their brilliance; in every book, her perspicacity and specialist knowledge enable the murder motive to be unravelled and the murderer brought to justice.

These books are rich in comic dialogue, often given as indirect speech. Caudwell’s unique spin on technical legal language will have you laughing out loud. 

The storyline is enchanting. Without Hilary’s specialist knowledge of ancient Greek texts, there might well have been many more murders! And yet so cleverly is this charming novel plotted, that we almost feel her esoteric expertise is only what might be expected of any amateur sleuth worthy of the name.  

By Sarah Caudwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shortest Way to Hades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone in the family had decided that changing the trust arrangement seemed the perfect way to avoid three million in taxes. However, when dreary cousin Deirdre has a mysterious accident after demanding a fee for her signature, the young London barristers handling the trust seek advice from mentor Hilary Tamar.

Julia believes it's murder; whilst Hilary wonders why the raven-haired heir did not die. But with more deadly accidents occurring, it is Hilary who is given the perilous quest of unmasking the killer.


Book cover of A Certain Justice

L.C. Blackwell Author Of Ready Aim MURDER: A Peter Dumas Mystery, Book 2

From my list on mysteries to take you places you’d like to visit.

Who am I?

Puzzles intrigued me since I was a three-year-old. Puzzle pieces that fit into pre-sized spaces. Then, disassembling and reassembling small 3-D animal shapes. Crosswords were next. Finally, Nancy Drew entered my life. I was addicted. Sherlock and Agatha became my mentors. But I loved to paint as well, so art was my first major at Michigan State University. Changed it to advertising in my senior year. Shortly after, Leo Burnett hired me to write print and radio media for Buster Brown shoes. Television was next. I solved many advertising puzzles at Foote, Cone & Belding, but after retiring, mystery re-entered my life when I wrote my first book.

L.C.'s book list on mysteries to take you places you’d like to visit

L.C. Blackwell Why did L.C. love this book?

A murder in the world of law courts in London’s legal community brings in P.D. James’ iconic detective Adam Dalgleish to investigate—a protagonist with razor focus and discernment, and a man famous for his poetry in the literary world.

James has incredible skill marrying the unexpected attributes of detection with the sensitivity and intimacy of a novel. She is a queen in my mystery reading world.

By P. D. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Certain Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major Channel 5 series

'The Queen of Crime.' New York Times

Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her distinguished career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead at her desk.

Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family - even her lover. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second brutal murder…


Book cover of The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken

V. Charles Ward Author Of Legal Profession: Is It For You?: A No-Nonsense Guide to a Career in the Law

From my list on becoming a lawyer in the UK.

Who am I?

I have been a lawyer for more than 50 years and I love what I do. I also want to share my enthusiasm for what I regard as the world’s most exciting profession, where every day is a little different. I am also a legal writer. But I don’t just write for other lawyers. I want to make the law accessible to everyone. That includes anyone who may be thinking seriously about a legal career but has yet to make the leap.

V.'s book list on becoming a lawyer in the UK

V. Charles Ward Why did V. love this book?

This anonymously written and entertaining book will tell you what your barrister is really thinking, behind the polite smile and measured language, when they are defending you against a criminal charge. An insider’s view of the UK criminal justice system and its failings. Ever wondered why there are so many miscarriages of justice? Not just those which make the headlines. The writer contrasts the professionalism of the crown court trial, with its judge and jury, with the wild west of the magistrates’ court, in which more than 91% of UK criminal prosecutions begin and end.

By The Secret Barrister,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An anonymous barrister's darkly comic and moving first-hand account of life in the legal system, and how it's failing us all.

The Sunday Times number one bestseller.
Winner of the Books are My Bag Non-Fiction Award.
Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year.
Shortlisted for Specsavers Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

'Eye-opening, funny and horrifying' - Observer

You may not wish to think about it, but one day you or someone you love will almost certainly appear in a criminal courtroom. You might be a juror, a victim, a witness or - perhaps through no fault of your own -…


Book cover of Rumpole of the Bailey

Cathy Pickens Author Of Triangle True Crime Stories

From my list on for people who think they don’t like true crime.

Who am I?

When I started writing mysteries, beginning with St. Martin’s Malice Award-winning Southern Fried, I wanted to get the medical, investigative, and courtroom details right. What better resource than good first-hand accounts from professionals who do those things every day? I love traditional, play-fair mysteries and the puzzles they present. But I also love writers who get the technical details right while also writing engaging novels I can get lost in. Nothing better than curling up with a good mystery.

Cathy's book list on for people who think they don’t like true crime

Cathy Pickens Why did Cathy love this book?

I first met Rumpole, the Old Bailey Hack, as he called himself, on the PBS Masterpiece series. John Mortimer’s books about the curmudgeonly old barrister are even more delightful. As a former trial attorney, I love how the collections of short stories in his books give me a peek inside the British legal system—and how they present plenty of puzzles to solve, filled with irascible good wit. 

By John Clifford Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of stories featuring Rumpole of the Bailey, including "Rumpole and the Younger Generation", "Rumpole and the Alternative Society", "Rumpole and the Honourable Member", "Rumpole and the Married Lady, "Rumpole and the Learned Friends" and "Rumpole and the Heavy Brigade".


Book cover of Without Prejudice

Abi Silver Author Of The Pinocchio Brief

From my list on challenging our views that justice prevails.

Who am I?

Having spent my youth watching dramas Crown Court and L.A. Law on TV and reading Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s not surprising I became a lawyer and then went on to write legal thrillers myself. The courtroom is an inherently theatrical place, where emotions and tensions run high. It’s a place where egos collide, theories are propounded and punctured and the liberty (and sometimes the life) of the accused is at stake. It follows, then, that lawyers operate in a totally even-handed system, where they’ll always achieve a fair and just result and uncover the truth. All the books I’ve recommended challenge this notion in different (but equally brilliant) ways.

Abi's book list on challenging our views that justice prevails

Abi Silver Why did Abi love this book?

When Armani-loving lawyer, Leanne Mitchell, is asked to defend millionaire Clive Omartian on fraud charges, she believes her career is on an upward trajectory. But her success puts her at odds with the head of her Chambers, who is desperate to be awarded ‘Silk’ and with her instructing solicitor and old friend, as she begins to suspect he knows more about their client than he is letting on. Before she realises, she’s being dragged into dangerous waters.

Oozing authenticity, twisty and turny, the reader shares Lee’s pain, not just the wounds she suffers from courtroom barbs, but in her everyday experience as a young, black, working-class woman barrister in a mainly white, male, privileged world. Despite huge challenges she remains feisty and principled. A real hero for our times.

By Nicola Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Prejudice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Impressive and unique. As relevant today as it was over two decades go' Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction

A gripping, propulsive courtroom thriller following barrister Lee Mitchell as she uncovers the dark secrets of London's obscenely rich

Lee Mitchell is a thirty-year-old barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.

After she takes on the high-profile case of notorious millionaire playboy Clive Omartian - arrested along with his father and stepbrother for eye-wateringly exorbitant fraud - the line between her personal and professional life becomes dangerously blurred.
Spiralling further into…


Book cover of A Certain Hunger

Elle Mitchell Author Of Another Elizabeth

From my list on dark fiction serial killer.

Who am I?

My interest in serial killers began when I was a teen watching horror movies with my mom. I learned all I could about them—even became a horror special-effects makeup artist. Eventually, I had to quit due to my connective tissue disorder (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome). It put me on a path of writing. I love digging into the darker side of humanity—murder or mental illness. The story of a serial killer who could challenge the reader to see disability in a new light came to me, and I had to write her story, if not just so I could dive into the psyche of another serial killer.

Elle's book list on dark fiction serial killer

Elle Mitchell Why did Elle love this book?

An engrossing read about a food critic’s life, bumpy career, and murders. There is death and consumption, sex and violence; there is depravity in the mundane. Sometimes voices sparkle, others pop off the page, and then there is Chelsea G. Summer’s Dorothy Daniels. She dug into my brain and picked at it like a scab. From the first page, Summers hooked me on a razor-sharp fishing line. Dorothy recounts stories like an old friend would—if your old friend would describe killing a man and her vagina in equal parts disturbing and eloquent language. There was disgust but also a sense of empowerment. I wanted all of her dirty little secrets. And oh, does Dorothy love to talk.

By Chelsea G. Summers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Certain Hunger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Vanity Fair's Books That Will Get You Through This Winter
“One of the most uniquely fun and campily gory books in my recent memory... A Certain Hunger has the voice of a hard-boiled detective novel, as if metaphor-happy Raymond Chandler handed the reins over to the sexed-up femme fatale and really let her fly." ―The New York Times

Food critic Dorothy Daniels loves what she does. Discerning, meticulous, and very, very smart, Dorothy’s clear mastery of the culinary arts make it likely that she could, on any given night, whip up a more inspired dish than any one…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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