100 books like Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

By Jesse Q. Sutanto,

Here are 100 books that Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers fans have personally recommended if you like Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers. 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 Arsenic and Adobo

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

Oh my goodness, first of all: this book will make you so hungry. So, be prepared for that.

Taking place in a warm, intimate Filipino restaurant outside Chicago, Arsenic and Adobo forces recently dumped Lila Macapagal into action after a brutal restaurant critic (who just so happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead while eating her aunt’s food.

She and Tita Rosie are the main suspects, so Lila has to put on her amateur sleuth hat and figure out what really happened to stay out of jail and save her aunt’s business. Arsenic and Adobo is funny, charming, and layered with enough sweetness and spice to keep you devouring it until the last crumb. 

By Mia P. Manansala,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A RUSA Award-winning novel!

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves…


Book cover of Hollywood Homicide: The First Detective by Day Humorous Mystery

Rob Osler Author Of Devil's Chew Toy

From my list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book love was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The game between author and reader that centers a whodunit has always delighted me. The breadcrumb trail of clues, the misdirection, the inevitable I should have seen it! are my jam. Now an author of whodunits—I have one series published and a second on the way, along with several short stories – I read mysteries with greater scrutiny—in admiration and with a selfish desire to learn from other authors’ envious talents. Each of the books on my list excited me for their excellent storytelling. In the end, I found them just plain entertaining. I hope you do too!

Rob's book list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths

Rob Osler Why did Rob love this book?

As much as I love this book’s hero, former television commercial star Dayna Anderson, her tight circle of got-your-back friends is what made this mystery really shine.

To say the cast has big personalities is like calling Hollywood’s Dolby Theater a quaint venue. I laughed out loud throughout and wished I could ride along with these ladies (there are some guys involved, a love interest in particular) as they doggedly unravel the deftly plotted mystery.

I am grateful to Garrett that there is a sequel to this first in the series, Hollywood Ending.

By Kellye Garrett,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Hollywood Homicide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dayna Anderson doesn t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash. But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim s life, she wants more than just reward money. She s determined to find the poor woman's killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious…


Book cover of I Don't Forgive You

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

I love a book where you as the reader are wondering if the main character is—or is starting to go—completely mad.

After a recent move into suburban DC, Allie is setting up her photography business and making a name for herself when a hidden flicker of her past threatens to ruin it all. A local dad winds up dead, and suddenly the police are at her door, questioning her about the apparent relationship she had with him.

Only problem? The mountain of digital evidence of their affair is new to her. Someone has hacked her life, intent on destroying it, and Allie has to figure out who. If you’re looking for a book about the dark, back-stabby, insidious world of successful white moms in a wealthy suburb, hoo boy—this is the one!

By Aggie Blum Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Don't Forgive You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An accomplished photographer and the devoted mom of an adorable little boy, Allie Ross has just moved to an upscale DC suburb, the kind of place where parenting feels like a competitive sport. Allie's desperate to make a good first impression. Then she's framed for murder.

It all starts at a neighbourhood party when a local dad corners Allie and calls her by an old, forgotten nickname from her dark past. The next day, he is found dead.

Soon, the police are knocking at her door, grilling her about a supposed Tinder relationship with the man, and pulling up texts…


Book cover of Behind the Red Door

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

Megan has been transparent about the fact that Behind the Red Door is not the most popular of her books, but it’s my personal favorite!

Fern Douglas is out of the loop: a missing woman shows up on the news whose famous kidnapping two decades ago—and subsequent return—everyone seems to have heard about. But Fern has no memory of that story; she only knows that she has seen the woman’s face before, and she comes to fear that she might have somehow been involved in what happened to her.

This book has one of the best portrayals of chronic anxiety I’ve read, and one of the most twisted and f-ed up stories, which I absolutely tore through. Read it, and prepare to be chilled to the bone.

By Megan Collins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A haunting thriller" (PopSugar) about a woman who believes that she has a connection to a decades old kidnapping and begins a frantic investigation to find out what really happened when the victim goes missing again.

When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern's husband is sure it's because of Astrid's famous kidnapping-and equally famous return-twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern's recurring nightmare, one…


Book cover of Red Queen

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because Antonia Scott might just be my favorite protagonist of all time.

She’s literally the most intelligent person in the world, with an I.Q. of over 200. She’s plagued by guilt and awkward social skills, but she has more crime-solving abilities than an entire police force. She’s Sherlock Holmes on steroids, with a hyper-intelligent sense of humor!

By Juan Gomez-Jurado,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now an Amazon Prime Original series, Red Queen is the first in Juan Gomez-Jurado's internationally bestselling thriller series, translated by Nick Caistor. Winner of the Cognac Prize 2022 with more than two million copies sold in Spain alone.

Sunday Times - Best Thriller Books of the Year

'A Spanish spin on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . . . A female Sherlock Holmes' - The Times

You've never met anyone like her . . .

Antonia Scott is special. Very special. She is not a policewoman or a lawyer. She has never wielded a weapon or carried a badge,…


Book cover of Bayou Book Thief

Libby Klein Author Of Class Reunions Are Murder

From my list on murder mysteries to make you laugh your butt off.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated from Lower Cape May Regional High School in the '80s. My classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. I write culinary cozy mysteries from my Northern Virginia office while trying to keep my naughty cat off my keyboard. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that prevents me from eating gluten without exploding. I now create gluten-free goodies at home and include the recipes in my Cape May-based Poppy McAllister series. Most of my hobbies revolve around eating and travel, and eating while traveling. My secret powers include finding my way to any coffee shop anywhere in the world, even while blindfolded.

Libby's book list on murder mysteries to make you laugh your butt off

Libby Klein Why did Libby love this book?

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.

Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, the city’s legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation—collecting vintage cookbooks—into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a box of donated vintage cookbooks contains the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

The skills Ricki has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy…

By Ellen Byron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fantastic new cozy mystery series with a vintage flair from USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning author Ellen Byron.

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki’s teen mother disappeared from the hospital.
 
Ricki’s dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee”…


Book cover of Design for Dying

Laini Giles Author Of The Forgotten Flapper

From my list on capturing the magic of old Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an old movie fan and a novelist who has been writing historical fiction about show business since 2010. As a stickler for detail, I use oodles of old Hollywood biographies and other research sources to learn everything I can about my subjects and weave as accurate a tale as I can. My Forgotten Actresses series is up to four books, with plenty more under construction. 

Laini's book list on capturing the magic of old Hollywood

Laini Giles Why did Laini love this book?

I gotta love any mystery that features costume mistress extraordinaire Edith Head as a detective! 

I love this book for the frothy, fun adventures (and, of course, the clothes!) of the plucky lady investigators, Lillian and Edith. 

Also, I loved meeting Bob Hope, director Preston Sturges, Barbara Stanwyck, and costume designer Travis Banton over the course of the book!

By Renee Patrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Design for Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl . . . until she discovers she's a suspect in the murder of her former roommate, Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she's barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian's name and save Edith's career, the two women join forces.

Unraveling the…


Book cover of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Sabrina Reeves Author Of Little Crosses

From my list on a fierce female protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Boston and New York and currently live in Montreal. I have worked primarily in writing performance texts and plays. I founded the performance company Bluemouth Inc., with whom I have written and staged over a dozen works. In 2018, I completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, where I was awarded the Dean of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. As for my expertise in compiling this list, I am the daughter of a strong force-of-nature woman who fought for what she had and taught her kids they can get through anything as long as they have humor, music, and books.

Sabrina's book list on a fierce female protagonist

Sabrina Reeves Why did Sabrina love this book?

I remember an awards ceremony where Bjork described herself as “a musical scientist.” Most likely accepting some well-deserved award, she spoke in this odd sing-song way that made her seem genuinely like a mad scientist.

I think Olga Tokarczuk is a bit like Bjork. Her voice is utterly unique, with a texture and humor perfectly suited to this book's marvelous protagonist. I loved Janina Dusezjko, a cranky old Polish woman wandering the hills of her village trying to solve a mystery. I could have listened to her for the whole book even if there was no mystery, so the unraveling felt like an added bonus! 

By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (translator),

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk returns with a subversive, entertaining noir novel. In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she's unconventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, Duszejko becomes involved in the investigation. By…


Book cover of I Only Read Murder

Kate Hilton Author Of Bury the Lead

From my list on amateur detective novels that keep you laughing while they keep you guessing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved murder mysteries since childhood, and during the pandemic–when reading became a challenge–I returned to my first literary love, binging on one mystery series after another. Eventually, I decided to write one with my friend Elizabeth Renzetti. It’s been the most enjoyable writing experience either of us has had. I’ve written three other published novels, and I have a day job as a therapist (I like to think this helps with realistic characterization, but it also pays the bills). I write humor because I like to have fun at work, and I appreciate a good laugh when I’m reading.

Kate's book list on amateur detective novels that keep you laughing while they keep you guessing

Kate Hilton Why did Kate love this book?

I couldn’t help but root for Miranda Abbott, the hilariously self-absorbed heroine of I Only Read Murder. The formerly famous television star of the Pastor Fran crime-fighting series, Miranda’s path to redemption requires her to solve a real-life murder where all the suspects are members of an amateur theatrical society. I Only Read Murder is ridiculously entertaining, a very fun romp that takes full advantage of the cozy mystery tropes we all love. 

By Ian Ferguson, Will Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Only Read Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Strap in for a hilarious and satisfying ride.” —Terry Fallis, bestselling author of Operation Angus

A once-famous TV sleuth
An amateur theater production
An onstage murder
A town full of suspects…

Miranda Abbott, once known for the crime-solving, karate-chopping church pastor she played on network television, has hit hard times. She’s facing ruin when a mysterious postcard arrives, summoning her to Happy Rock, a small town in the Pacific Northwest. But when she gets there, nothing is what she expected.

In dire straits, she signs up for an amateur production at the Happy Rock Little Theater. On opening night, one…


Book cover of Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

Clare Broyles Author Of In Sunshine or in Shadow

From my list on spunky women in historical mayhem who nevertheless persisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been known to read a book a day, and I read widely: all the classics, mystery and suspense, science fiction, future fiction, and fantasy. My favorite novels in any genre take me to a place or time far away. My favorite characters are like hobbits; they are caught up in big adventures but fun to have a beer with and don’t take themselves too seriously. And all the protagonists in the novels I have chosen are women, because women my age have spent enough time reading about men who have adventures. 

Clare's book list on spunky women in historical mayhem who nevertheless persisted

Clare Broyles Why did Clare love this book?

This Agatha Christie doesn’t feature her famous Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. Instead, it introduces a likable young couple, Bobby and Frankie, who fall into adventure by accident.

This book has the best one-line denouement of all mystery novels. It is a line that will give you chills when you read it. (Or re-read it. This mystery is so good that I have reread it many times in my life, and I get chills each time.)

One question ties the whole mystery together. As a mystery writer, I wish I could find that turning point question for each of my novels. But, alas, Agatha Christie was the queen. 

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Didn't They Ask Evans? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a man plunges down a cliff, two adventurous friends decide to find his killer...

While playing an erratic round of golf, Bobby Jones slices his ball over the edge of a cliff. His ball is lost, but on the rocks below he finds the crumpled body of a dying man. With his final breath the man opens his eyes and says, 'Why didn't they ask Evans?'

Haunted by these words, Bobby and his vivacious companion, Frankie, set out to solve a mystery that will bring them into mortal danger...


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