The most recommended Alfred Hitchcock books

Who picked these books? Meet our 66 experts.

66 authors created a book list connected to Alfred Hitchcock, and here are their favorite Alfred Hitchcock books.
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Book cover of The Hitchcock Romance: Love and Irony in Hitchcock's Films

Mark William Roche Author Of Alfred Hitchcock: Filmmaker and Philosopher

From my list on Alfred Hitchcock.

Who am I?

I have taught philosophy and film for almost 40 years, first at Ohio State and then at Notre Dame. My focus had been German cinema, but I was drawn to Hitchcock for three reasons: first, he received his origins in Weimar Germany and owes much to German expressionism; second, his films are so cinematically beautiful and effective that I began teaching them again and again, and the students loved them; finally, I thought it worthwhile and a fun project to address the extent to which his films raise deep and engaging philosophical questions.

Mark's book list on Alfred Hitchcock

Mark William Roche Why did Mark love this book?

This is the first book I read that confirmed my own intuition—that Hitchcock’s works are as rich and complex as great literary works.

Brill’s book was a relatively early work of Hitchcock criticism, but an enduring one, a humanistic study with considerable attention paid to the films’ aesthetic and religious dimensions. The latter is fitting because Hitchcock was a deeply Catholic director.

The book offers excellent analyses, with good attention to cinematic and artistic features.

By Lesley Brill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Was Alfred Hitchcock a cynical trifler with his audience's emotions, as he liked to pretend? Or was he a profoundly humane artist? Most commentators leave Hitchcock's self-assessment unquestioned, but this book shows that his movies convey an affectionate, hopeful understanding of human nature and the redemptive possibilities of love. Lesley Brill discusses Hitchcock's work as a whole and examines in detail twenty-two films, from perennial favorites like North by Northwest to neglected masterpieces like Rich and Strange.


Book cover of Rebecca

Katherine Nichols Author Of The Unreliables: When The Only One You Can Trust Doesn't Exist

From my list on books with gaslighting and manipulation.

Who am I?

Growing up in the South as the daughter of a single mother, I’ve always appreciated strong women, in reality and in fiction. Before I could read, I made up stories featuring me as the super heroine. Later, I devoured all the Nancy Drews I could get my hands on. I credit Ms. Drew for nurturing my fascination with mystery. I especially enjoy suspense with a psychological turn that frequently takes the form of gaslighting or manipulating someone into doubting their perception of reality. As an author of Southern suspense with heart and humor, my female characters fall victim to this device but are strong enough to persevere.  

Katherine's book list on books with gaslighting and manipulation

Katherine Nichols Why did Katherine love this book?

You can’t have a discussion about gaslighting without including this book. 

From the first time the unnamed protagonist speaks, I felt a sense of dread as if I were trapped in Manderley with Rebecca. I suspected all wasn’t what it seemed to be, but the author made it difficult for me to recognize the truth behind the haunting fiction.

I was captivated from the beginning to the shocking but satisfying ending.

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'

Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory…


Book cover of A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court: The Mark Twain Mysteries #2

Fedora Amis Author Of Have Your Ticket Punched by Frank James

From my list on that bring a touch of humor to the Old West.

Who am I?

I love history and I love to laugh. That’s why I brand myself as a writer of Victorian Whodunits with a touch of humor. I’ve spent decades learning about 1800s America. I began sharing that knowledge by performing in costume as real women of history. But I couldn’t be on stage all the time so I began writing the books I want to read, books that entertain while sticking to the basic facts of history and giving the flavor of an earlier time. I seek that great marriage of words that brings readers to a new understanding. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” 

Fedora's book list on that bring a touch of humor to the Old West

Fedora Amis Why did Fedora love this book?

I admire chutzpah. Of all the authors who channel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Austen, and countless others, I admire Peter Heck the most. He takes on the Herculean task of matching historical humor with our national treasure Mark Twain. Oddly enough, his example gave me courage, or at least permission, to try something other than historical whodunits. I wrote book-length magic realism and am seeking a publisher.

By Peter J. Heck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beneath the charm of New Orleans lay a mix of corruption and racism that had a black man set to hang for a murder he didn't commit. "Detective" Mark Twain, together with travelling secretary Wentworth Cabot, set about the dangerous business of finding out the truth that some wished to keep hidden.


Book cover of Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers

Carol LaHines Author Of Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss

From my list on themed anthologies.

Who am I?

The anthology form unites diverse voices around a common theme—in the case of Distant Flickers, identity and loss. The stories in the anthology explore intense personal relationships—of mother and child, old lovers, etc. Some of the stories are in the moment and some recounted with the perspective of time, some are fable-like, some formal, and others more colloquial. Reading them the reader is struck by the variety of approaches a writer might take to a subject. The device of the contributor’s notes enables the reader to see the story behind the story and how life informs art—life furnishing the raw material or day residue of the story.  

Carol's book list on themed anthologies

Carol LaHines Why did Carol love this book?

Sheila Kohler, a mentor of mine whose work is featured in this thrilling collection, is fond of saying that suspense arises from putting a vulnerable character in a dangerous situation. A literary writer of the highest caliber, Sheila knows how to generate the suspense that keeps the page turning. Crime fiction has a long history going back to Dostoevsky and beyond, to the great tragedians—the commission of a crime entails motive, means, and is inherently dramatic. This eclectic selection of mystery and female noir, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, features superstar writers like Edwidge Danticat, Margaret Atwood, Sheila Kohler, Elizabeth McCracken, and Joyce Carol Oates herself. The writing is luminous, the themes are varied—from domestic horror to the erotic to dark fairy tales—and the tales keep the reader turning the page.

By Joyce Carol Oates (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A chilling noir collection featuring fifteen crime and mystery tales and six poems from female authors.

Joyce Carol Oates, a queen-pin of the noir genre, has brought her keen and discerning eye to the curation of an outstanding anthology of brand-new top-shelf short stories (and poems by Margaret Atwood!). While bad men are not always the victims in these tales, they get their due often enough to satisfy readers who are sick and tired of the gendered status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society. This stylistically…


Book cover of Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

Peter Lovesey Author Of The Last Detective

From my list on the secrets of great mystery writing.

Who am I?

My introduction to mystery writing was a competition for a first crime novel. I was lucky enough to win with Wobble to Death, about a Victorian long-distance race. When I went to collect the prize, I was startled to be asked if I was already at work on the next one. The publishers Macmillan had started a crime list and were looking for a career writer. I knew practically nothing about the genre and had to give myself a crash course. How I needed the support of books like these! After five years, I had the confidence to give up the day job and have made my living from mystery writing for almost fifty years. 

Peter's book list on the secrets of great mystery writing

Peter Lovesey Why did Peter love this book?

No one can deny that Patricia Highsmith knew how to create suspense. Alfred Hitchcock saw that Strangers on a Train was the ideal spine-tingler for a great movie. Other directors have found the Ripley series perfect nail-biting stories to work with. Highsmith takes us through the process of building suspense from the germ of an idea through the plotting, the drafts, and the revisions, using examples from her own work, short stories, and novels. I’m not surprised this book has stayed in print for over fifty years. I still dip into it and get inspired.

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named by The Times as the all-time number one crime writer, Patricia Highsmith was an author who broke new ground and defied genre cliches with novels such as The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train.
In the classic creative writing guide Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, Highsmith reveals her secrets for producing world-class crime and thrillers, from imaginative tips for generating ideas to useful ways of turning them into stunning stories.


Book cover of Hitchcock's Music

Mark William Roche Author Of Alfred Hitchcock: Filmmaker and Philosopher

From my list on Alfred Hitchcock.

Who am I?

I have taught philosophy and film for almost 40 years, first at Ohio State and then at Notre Dame. My focus had been German cinema, but I was drawn to Hitchcock for three reasons: first, he received his origins in Weimar Germany and owes much to German expressionism; second, his films are so cinematically beautiful and effective that I began teaching them again and again, and the students loved them; finally, I thought it worthwhile and a fun project to address the extent to which his films raise deep and engaging philosophical questions.

Mark's book list on Alfred Hitchcock

Mark William Roche Why did Mark love this book?

Music is essential to the meaning of film, and I couldn’t get enough of this book.

Despite its narrower focus, it is a superior work, on a level with the best Hitchcock volumes. If music and film interest you, you will benefit from it. Moreover, Sullivan covers almost half of Hitchcock’s more than 50 films.

By Jack Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For half a century, Alfred Hitchcock created films full of gripping and memorable music. Over his long career he presided over more musical styles than any director in history and ultimately changed how we think about film music. This book is the first to fully explore the essential role music played in the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. Based on extensive interviews with composers, writers, and actors, and research in rare archives, Jack Sullivan discusses how Hitchcock used music to influence the atmosphere, characterization, and even storylines of his films. Sullivan examines the director's important relationships with various composers, especially Bernard…


Book cover of Before the Fact

Emilia Bernhard Author Of Designs on the Dead

From my list on subtle cruelty.

Who am I?

As someone who’s had a lifelong interest in psychology, especially abnormal psychology, I’ve always been fascinated the small destructions some people inflict on others – sometimes even on themselves. For me the greatest crime is not to kill someone but to reduce them by making their life uncomfortable or unwelcome. The ability to do this is what I would call a “negative skill.” It’s not easy, but some people do it uncannily well, and without caring. Perhaps because this is so alien to me, I remain riveted by stories that portray it, and some cases attempt to explain it. These are a few of those stories.

Emilia's book list on subtle cruelty

Emilia Bernhard Why did Emilia love this book?

Sweet Lina McLaidlaw loves charming Johnny Aysgarth, but Johnny Aysgarth marries her for her money and doesn’t change his gambling, seducing ways one bit once he’s done so. 

What makes the book so riveting is that Lina learns exactly what Johnny is like, yet she can’t bring herself to stop loving him. At one point she does leave him, but she voluntarily goes back. 

Lina knows Johnny will eventually kill her so he can have it all and, knowing this, she puts herself in the cruel position of waiting for that to happen. 

This book was made into a so-so Hitchcock film featuring Cary Grant and a memorable glass of milk, but the book is a riveting, breath-stealing masterpiece.

By Francis Iles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before the Fact is a ground-breaking psychological drama of immense power, described as 'one of the finest studies of murder ever written'. Inspiring Hitchcock's classic film Suspicion, this classic title was written in the golden age of crime fiction and remains utterly compelling to this day.

When wealthy but plain Lina McLaidlaw marries feckless Johnny Aysgarth, she is certain she can change him for the better. Despite her hopes, she is soon forced to acknowledge the truth - that he is not only a compulsive liar and a crook but also a murderer. She continues to love him, while fearing…


Book cover of A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann

Jon Burlingame Author Of Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring

From my list on film and television composers.

Who am I?

I've been a working journalist for 50 years, and as a child of TV, especially in the 1960s, I grew up with some of the most memorable TV themes ever written. I started writing about TV in the 1980s, and since moving to Los Angeles in 1986, have used every opportunity to meet and interview all of my favorite composers of movie and TV music. The result is this book, which looks at the history of TV themes and, in a larger sense, music written for TV generally. Every genre of TV, from crime to sitcoms, westerns to adventure, has had fun, often compelling, and truly memorable music, and I've tried to celebrate it here.

Jon's book list on film and television composers

Jon Burlingame Why did Jon love this book?

Bernard Herrmann is revered as one of the movies' greatest composers.

Imagine starting your Hollywood career with music for Citizen Kane!

He enjoyed a very productive 10-year relationship with director Alfred Hitchcock, which produced such masterpieces as Vertigo, Psycho, and North by Northwest; he also worked with Francois Truffaut on Fahrenheit 451, composed the original Twilight Zone theme, and capped his career with music for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.

Yet he could be cantankerous and difficult, antagonizing both friends and colleagues with his temperamental behavior and insistence upon the highest standards of music and drama.

I love the fact that Smith writes as well about the music as he does about the composer, and the reader walks away knowing lots about both.

By Steven C. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Heart at Fire's Center as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No composer contributed more to film than Bernard Herrmann, who in over 40 scores enriched the work of such directors as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Francois Truffaut, and Martin Scorsese. In this first major biography of the composer, Steven C. Smith explores the interrelationships between Herrmann's music and his turbulent personal life, using much previously unpublished information to illustrate Herrmann's often outrageous behavior, his working methods, and why his music has had such lasting impact. From his first film ("Citizen Kane") to his last ("Taxi Driver"), Herrmann was a master of evoking psychological nuance and dramatic tension through music, often…


Book cover of The Night Sister

Mae Clair Author Of Cusp of Night

From my list on supernatural mysteries with dual storylines.

Who am I?

I’ve loved mysteries since childhood. That passion started with silly attractions like Scooby-Doo, Dark Shadows, and Nancy Drew. As I grew older, my love of mystery expanded to include the “what if” elements of folklore and urban legends. I’ve written two, 3-book series employing dual timelines, each wrapped in multiple layers of folklore. Crafting separate plotlines then weaving them into a tidy ending takes patience. I enjoy reading books that are well-executed and if they include a touch of the supernatural, all the better. My passion for urban legends has led me to give presentations to local community groups and also to engage in travel when needed for on-site research.

Mae's book list on supernatural mysteries with dual storylines

Mae Clair Why did Mae love this book?

My first experience reading a book with dual storylines, this novel held me spellbound cover to cover. McMahon has since become an auto-buy author for me, thanks to this fantastical story that puts a magnifying glass on the life of two sisters, a childhood friend, and an unexplained disappearance. The story moves between past and present and revolves around the Tower Motel in Vermont, now a ruined shell that refuses to yield its secrets. Secrets the girls discovered while playing games there as children. 

An unexpected splash of the paranormal and the use of letters from one sister to Mr. Hitchcock (yes, that Hitchcock) add the perfect touch to this disturbing gem.

By Jennifer McMahon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McMahon (The Winter People) comes an atmospheric, gripping, and suspenseful tale that probes the bond between sisters and the peril of keeping secrets.

The Tower Motel was once a thriving attraction of rural Vermont. Today it lies in disrepair, alive only in the memories of the three women—Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot—who played there as children. They loved exploring the abandoned rooms … until the day their innocent games uncovered something dark and twisted that ruined their friendship forever.

Now, Amy stands accused of committing a horrific crime, and the…


Book cover of Fergus

Stephen Rebello Author Of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho

From my list on featuring Hollywood giants as characters.

Who am I?

A Southern California-based writer, screenwriter, and journalist whose adventures in and around the film business have led to hundreds of feature stories and film reviews for such magazines as Vibe, Playboy, American Film, Smithsonian, and Movieline. His books include three dedicated to Disney animated classics and a volume on the art of American movie posters. His lovingly satirical book Bad Movies We Love, co-written with Edward Margulies, inspired a Turner Network movie marathon series, his Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho was filmed in 2012. His next non-fiction book will be published in 2024.   

Stephen's book list on featuring Hollywood giants as characters

Stephen Rebello Why did Stephen love this book?

In the mid-‘60s, acclaimed Irish-Canadian novelist Brian Moore unhappily spent time grappling with the script problems plaguing director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1966 spy thriller Torn Curtain. In this frankly autobiographical 1971 novel, a Hitchcock-esque producer comes in for knocks when a Moore-like novelist-screenwriter gets lured to Hollywood to work on the screenplay for a famous moviemaker’s next film. (Moore described his brush with Hitchcock as “awful, like washing floors.”) Waiting to learn whether he’s going to be forced to do another script rewrite, the novelist agonizes over his ongoing divorce and his relationship with his new girlfriend. Mostly, though, he’s confronted by the ghosts of friends and family members past, notably his father’s. So sharply funny, painfully honest a book that one almost wishes Hitchcock had filmed it instead of Torn Curtain.

By Brian Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's large-scale digitization efforts. The Library seeks to preserve the intellectual content of items in a manner that facilitates and promotes a variety of uses. The digital reformatting process results in an electronic version of the original text that can be both accessed online and used to create new print copies. The Library also understands and values the usefulness of print and makes reprints available to the public whenever possible. This book and hundreds of thousands of others can be found in the HathiTrust, an archive…