31 books like The Three Coffins

By John Dickson Carr,

Here are 31 books that The Three Coffins fans have personally recommended if you like The Three Coffins. 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 Gaudy Night

L.A. Fields Author Of Mrs. Watson: Untold Stories

From my list on women dealing with domestic mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of the Sherlockiana duology My Dear Watson and Mrs. Watson: Untold Stories. I chose these books because they all have British women at the helm, involve detectives and/or investigative processes, and contain close-to-home scandals and intrigue. In that sense, these are “domestic” mysteries—books that contain puzzles related to everyday household drama. Miss Marple, Harriet Vane, and the women of Baker Street solve literal detective cases. The secret writings of Anne Lister and Constance Wilde show how they decoded the homosexual element in their lives, and used their writing to maintain a sense of self in oppressive societies. Each of them are women after my own heart.

L.A.'s book list on women dealing with domestic mysteries

L.A. Fields Why did L.A. love this book?

Gaudy Night is one of several books featuring Harriet Vane, a mystery writer who first meets detective Lord Peter Wimsey while on trial for allegedly poisoning her lover. Set in a fictional Oxford women’s college, the story involves threatening letters, escalating vandalism, and violence.

Harriet is an educated professional. She is notorious due to scandal. She is trying to balance her independence in the 1930s and her romance with Peter. She is conflicted about whether her future should involve marriage and children.

This book is both a detective story, and a novel about the work-life balance struggles faced by women. Can Harriet “have it all” on her own terms? With the respect of the right partner, and a knowledge of her own mind, needs, and desires, it’s definitely worth trying.

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Gaudy Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The twelfth book in Dorothy L Sayers' classic Lord Peter Wimsey series, introduced by actress Dame Harriet Mary Walter, DBE - a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Margery Allingham's Campion Mysteries.

'D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers' Daily Telegraph

Harriet Vane has never dared to return to her old Oxford college. Now, despite her scandalous life, she has been summoned back . . .

At first she thinks her worst fears have been fulfilled, as she encounters obscene graffiti, poison pen letters and a disgusting effigy when she arrives at sedate Shrewsbury…

Book cover of The Thursday Murder Club

Keith Hartman Author Of The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse

From my list on unique settings for a mystery novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love mysteries, but I find that after a while, a lot of them tend to run together in my head. So I just love it when I find a book with a setting so unique that it sticks in my mind forever. And it’s even better when the author uses that setting to show me something new about human nature, history, or society while still delivering me a plot that keeps me turning pages.

Keith's book list on unique settings for a mystery novel

Keith Hartman Why did Keith love this book?

This was a book that I picked up because my Mom recommended it. And she struck gold with this one. The book is set in a British retirement community, where a group of old-timers spend their time trying to solve cold cases. But over the course of the book, they get themselves caught up in one very hot case. 

The POV shifts between different characters, who all have interesting voices and skill sets.

By Richard Osman,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Thursday Murder Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller | Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment

"Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining." -Wall Street Journal

"Don't trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman's own laugh-out-loud whodunit." -Parade

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to...

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead…

Book cover of Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery

Tom Mead Author Of The Murder Wheel: A Locked-Room Mystery

From my list on mystery with a hint of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a devourer of Golden Age Detective Fiction, and a writer of locked-room mysteries inspired by the classics. When it comes to old-school mystery writers, my favourites are John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen, and of course Agatha Christie. What I love about that era is the brilliance of the puzzles, and the way those writers really engaged with the reader and (in some cases) addressed them directly, challenging them to solve the crime along with the detective. Additionally, I’m fascinated by stage illusions (though I’m terrible at performing them myself), and this has also had a major influence on my writing.

Tom's book list on mystery with a hint of magic

Tom Mead Why did Tom love this book?

If you’re interested in locked-room mysteries, cozy crime, or magic, then you need to read this book.

Gigi Pandian is one of the best in the business, and with Under Lock & Skeleton Key she launches a brand new and exciting series. Gigi is excellent at creating charming characters that the reader cannot help but care about – this makes the mysteries themselves all the more compelling – and this book captures everything that’s great about her writing. 

By Gigi Pandian,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under Lock & Skeleton Key as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Wildly entertaining." —The New York Times Book Review

Known for her wonderfully addictive characters, multiple award-winning author Gigi Pandian introduces her newest heroine in this heartfelt series debut. Under Lock & Skeleton Key layers stunning architecture with mouthwatering food in an ode to classic locked-room mysteries that will leave readers enchanted.

An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.

After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her…

Book cover of The Stranger Diaries

Gail Lukasik Author Of The Darkness Surrounds Us

From my list on modern gothic mystery.

Why am I passionate about this?

While an adjunct professor at a local Midwestern college, I taught a night course in gothic literature. It was winter and my drive was over an hour to the satellite location. The wintry journey seemed apropos of the gothic’s dark themes, eerie atmosphere, and supernatural world. Though I’d enjoyed gothic novels in the past, this course cemented my love of all things gothic. By teaching the course, I enhanced my understanding of gothic fiction through such stories as, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, and Where are you going, where have you been by Joyce Carol Oates.

Gail's book list on modern gothic mystery

Gail Lukasik Why did Gail love this book?

What I admire about this gothic mystery is how it alternates between three narrators—a high school English teacher, her teenage daughter, and a detective—without losing tension and suspense.

The plot is beautifully interwoven. The English teacher, who’s writing a biography of an author of gothic tales, learns that her best friend is murdered, and that a line from the gothic writer’s story is found near the murder victim. Her diary becomes an outlet for her fears and suspicions, until someone writes in it. 

By Elly Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Stranger Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Utterly bewitching ... a pitch-perfect modern Gothic' AJ FINN, author of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

This is what the police know: English teacher Clare Cassidy's friend Ella has just been murdered. Clare and Ella had recently fallen out. Found beside the body was a line from The Stranger, a story by the Gothic writer Clare teaches, and the murder scene is identical to one of the deaths in the…

Book cover of The Ides of April

Lisa E. Betz Author Of Death and a Crocodile

From my list on female sleuth mysteries from centuries past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an engineer-turned-mystery-writer, and my taste in fiction is as unconventional as my career. I love books set in obscure periods of the past, with underdog characters who rise to the occasion through cleverness and grit. I write the kind of books I love to read, which explains why I set my novels in ancient Rome. The engineer side of my brain thrives on doing historical research while my creative side imagines quirky, imperfect characters who find unconventional ways to solve tricky mysteries. I hope you enjoy my list of clever, spunky sleuths from various periods who solve murders in unique ways. 

Lisa's book list on female sleuth mysteries from centuries past

Lisa E. Betz Why did Lisa love this book?

Reading a Lindsey Davis novel is a guilty pleasure. Why? She’s wickedly funny. She brings ancient Rome to vivid life, from the fancy fringe on a tunic hem to the steaming pile of donkey dung in the street. Her sleuth, a tough, no-nonsense woman named Flavia Albia, is assisted (whether she likes it or not) by an extended family of eccentric and sometimes meddlesome characters. I also appreciate how Davis adds just enough historical detail to bring the plot to life without bogging down the action. 

In this book, I particularly enjoyed the interplay between Albia and the officious aedile, Manlius Faustus, who turns out to be nicer (and more interesting) than he first appeared. While each novel is stand-alone, I recommend starting here to get the full backstory.

By Lindsey Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chosen by The Times as one of the Top Ten Crime Novels Written by Women since 2000

Flavia Albia is the adopted daughter of a famous investigating family. In defiance of tradition, she lives alone on the colourful Aventine Hill, and battles out a solo career in a male-dominated world. As a woman and an outsider, Albia has special insight into the best, and worst, of life in ancient Rome.

A female client dies in mysterious circumstances. Albia investigates and discovers there have been many other strange deaths all over the city, yet she is warned off by the authorities.…

Book cover of A Gentleman's Murder

Connie Berry Author Of The Shadow of Memory

From my list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of British crime fiction began when, as a young teen, I discovered Agatha Christie on the shelves of my local library. With Scottish grandparents, I was already well indoctrinated in the “everything British is best” theory, but it was as a student at St. Clare’s College, Oxford, that I fell totally under the spell of the British Isles. No surprise, then, that my Kate Hamilton Mystery series is set in the UK and features an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. I love to read the classic mysteries of the Golden Age as well as authors today who follow that tradition.

Connie's book list on mysteries on the golden age of detective fiction

Connie Berry Why did Connie love this book?

Since the publication of Dorothy L. Sayer’s The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club in 1928, London’s gentlemen’s clubs, bastions of upper-class male privilege, have been fertile ground for murder and mayhem. Huang’s debut novel is set in 1924. With the memory of the Great War still fresh in everyone’s minds, the prestigious soldiers-only Britannia Club is rocked by the stabbing of a member within the club vaults. The killer must be a fellow club member, but when Eric Peterkin, descendant of one of the club’s founders, witnesses the Scotland Yard detective tampering with evidence, he is forced to launch an investigation of his own.

By Christopher Huang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Gentleman's Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The year is 1924. The streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London's back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still shadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War.

Only a few years removed from the trenches of Flanders himself, Lieutenant Eric Peterkin has just been granted membership in the most prestigious soldiers-only club in London: The Britannia. But when a gentleman's wager ends with a member stabbed to death, the victim's last words echo in the Lieutenant's head: that he would "soon right a great…

Book cover of Death at the Seaside

Nick Quantrill Author Of Sound of the Sinners

From my list on crime set in the North of England.

Why am I passionate about this?

The North of England is home. I was born here, I work here and it’s where I will see out my days. It’s a place with its own character, a place largely forged on hard industrial work and one trying to find a new purpose after decades of financial neglect. My home city of Hull captures this in miniature as we’ve shared a journey over the last decade via my novels from 'UK Crap Town of the Year’ to ‘UK City of Culture.’ Tied in with my background in studying Social Policy and Criminology, I’ll continue to map the city and the region’s trials and tribulations.

Nick's book list on crime set in the North of England

Nick Quantrill Why did Nick love this book?

The North of England isn’t all post-industrial urban centres of decay. As well as being home to large and important cities, its green spaces are plentiful and attract numerous tourists to its many attractions. Frances Brody’s PI Kate Shackleton series makes use of Yorkshire’s picturesque and pleasant rural settings, not least the rolling moors leading to the coastal town of Whitby in the series’ eighth outing. Set in the 1920s, Brody’s series is also a reminder of the importance of subverting and challenging social norms, but never at the expense of entertaining the reader.

By Frances Brody,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Frances Brody has made it to the top rank of crime writers' Daily Mail

'Brody's writing is like her central character Kate Shackleton: witty, acerbic and very, very perceptive' Ann Cleeves


Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma who works as a fortune teller there.


Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn, but upon arrival discovers that Alma's daughter Felicity has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn…

Book cover of The Barbarous Coast

Marjorie McCown Author Of Final Cut

From my list on crime about Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on the magic of storytelling since childhood, always eager to go wherever imagination can take me. I think that early fascination led me to become a costume designer because costume design is about using clothing to help tell a story. I spent 27 years working on the costume design teams for films like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Angels & Demons, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When I decided to take what felt like a logical creative step, to write my own stories, I knew I wanted to write murder mysteries. And I thought the world behind the scenes of a movie would make the perfect setting.   

Marjorie's book list on crime about Hollywood

Marjorie McCown Why did Marjorie love this book?

This twisty, hypnotic story by the great Ross Macdonald focuses on the dark side of the Hollywood dream.

Private detective Lew Archer is drawn into the search for a missing woman, Hester Campbell-Wall, who seemed poised on the cusp of success via an oblique connection to Helio-Graff Studios when she vanished after a frantic phone call to her estranged husband.

Against his better judgment Archer agrees to look for Hester, a quest that pits him against the powerful and corrupt studio head, Simon Graff. The book is full of complex characters who are neither all good nor all bad, despite their acts of betrayal, deceit, and even murder.

That’s what makes them so poignant and believable: in various ways, they are all broken by dreams that didn’t come true. 

By Ross Macdonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The beautiful, high-diving blonde had Hollywood dreams and stars in her eyes but now she seems to have disappeared without a trace. Hired by her hotheaded husband and her rummy “uncle,” Lew Archer sniffs around Malibu and finds the stink of blackmail, blood-money, and murder on every pricey silk shirt. Beset by dirty cops, a bumptious boxer turned silver screen pretty boy and a Hollywood mogul with a dark past, Archer discovers the secret of a grisly murder that just won't stay hidden.Lew Archer navigates through the watery, violent world of wealth and privilege, in this electrifying story of obsession…

Book cover of The Silkworm

Patricia Hale Author Of Scar Tissue

From my list on suspense/crime with flawed detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of the books I’ve listed above have flawed characters. Characters that deal with emotional and/or moral dilemmas. The plots: murder, missing children, or runaway husbands are secondary to me. What I look for in a book and what I write about in my Cole and Callahan series, are characters with flaws. People who struggle with truth. Cops or investigators that hide or skew evidence because the truth would cause more harm than good. It’s the moral dilemma I want. The angst we all feel when we are faced with a particularly painful decision. That’s what real life is and that’s what brings a book and a character to life.

Patricia's book list on suspense/crime with flawed detectives

Patricia Hale Why did Patricia love this book?

Cormoran Strike and his business partner, Robin Ellacott, are searching for a missing writer who has penned a scathing novel, revealing his friend's most tightly held secrets. Any one of them would be happy to take him out. Ellacott and Strike are hired by his wife to find him. They do, brutally murdered. Besides facing a plethora of possible murderers, Strike and Ellacott face that there’s more than a working relationship evolving between them. But with Stike’s recent break-up and Ellacott’s live-in boyfriend, feelings are buried. After they solve their twisted case, I’m on to the next book in the series to see how Cormoran and Robin will move forward together. I love a good mystery and I love a relationship plagued with obstacles. The Silkworm delivers on both.

By Robert Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Teems with sly humour, witty asides and intelligence ... A pleasure to read' TIMES


Now a major BBC drama: The Strike series

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost…

Book cover of Diamond and the Eye

Nina Wachsman Author Of The Gallery of Beauties

From my list on a peak into the world of art and artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having taken up the brush myself, I can attest to some sort of mystical, out-of-body experience that sometimes surfaces as an artist creates. Emotions and senses become directly connected to one’s hands, releasing the unconscious, allowing the artist to bring something to life that was buried deep inside. My favorite class in art school was Aesthetics, which explored the philosophy of art – what possessed the artist to paint – and what passions and beliefs were behind some of the art movements, including Surrealism, Dadaism, and Futurism. Books that delve into the craft and passion behind great works of art are my favorite reads.

Nina's book list on a peak into the world of art and artists

Nina Wachsman Why did Nina love this book?

Peter Lovesey’s detective discovers the power of art in this recent mystery set in Bath, England.

This book in the series is unusual, since most of the story is told through the eyes of a cheap private detective, who views Diamond as a grumpy old man. A body found in an antique sarcophagus and the disappearance of the antique dealer is at the start of the mystery, but the piece of art which was purchased in an antiques roadshow drives the plot.

Greed and ambition, stirred by the provenance of the art, results in several murder attempts which confound Diamond’s and the private detective’s investigation.

By Peter Lovesey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Of all the weird characters Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond has met in Bath, this one is the most extreme: a twenty-first-century private eye called Johnny Getz, whose office is over Shear Amazing, a hairdressing salon. Johnny has been hired by Ruby Hubbard, whose father, an antiques shop owner, has gone missing, and Johnny insists on involving 'Pete' in his investigation.

When Diamond, Johnny and Ruby enter the shop, they find a body and a murder investigation is launched. Diamond is forced to house his team in the dilapidated Corn Market building across the street. His problems grow when his boss…

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