The most recommended murder mystery books

Who picked these books? Meet our 493 experts.

493 authors created a book list connected to murder mystery, and here are their favorite murder mystery books.
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Book cover of Date with Death

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From Toni's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Historian Author Teacher Bestseller

Toni's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

Julia Chapman’s Date with Death is one of a great series of not-so-cosy crime novels set in the Yorkshire Dales’ fictional village of Bruncliffe with numerous nefarious deeds occurring in the midst of stunning scenery.

With lead characters named Samson and Delilah, I knew this was going to be an intriguing read and I wasn’t disappointed. There was rip-roaring action, melodrama, and plot twists to enthrall the reader – what’s not to like? 

By Julia Chapman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet two sleuths from a sleepy Yorkshire village as they investigate murders and discover the secrets behind the twitching curtains. Date with Death is the first cosy crime novel in Julia Chapman's Dales Detective series, perfect for fans of Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton.

Samson O'Brien has been dismissed from the police force, and returns to his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales to set up the Dales Detective Agency. However, the villagers aren't that welcoming to a man they see as trouble.

Delilah Metcalfe is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating…


Book cover of Clammed Up

Debra H. Goldstein Author Of One Taste Too Many

From my list on sleuths who are frightened of the kitchen.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having had two books orphaned (Maze in Blue and Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery), I wanted to write a cozy mystery. Most cozy mysteries feature an excellent cook, baker, or craftswoman. I hate all those things. Stumped for a moment, I realized there were other readers like me—and that is how Sarah Blair, a woman who finds being in the kitchen more frightening than murder was born. Professionally and personally, I’ve been a writer, lawyer, judge, wife, mother of twins, step-mother, and community volunteer, but the Sarah Blair books combine my love of animals with my propensity for accidentally blowing up my kitchen.

Debra's book list on sleuths who are frightened of the kitchen

Debra H. Goldstein Why did Debra love this book?

Financial whiz Julia Snowden returns to her Maine hometown to rescue the family’s clambake business. Although she has financial acumen, she lacks true knowledge of how a clam bake works. She learns the hard way when a murder and a wedding reception don’t mix. I wasn’t familiar with the inner workings of clam bakes, from menu to preparation, but I learned with Julia. I also enjoy Ross’s writing style. The combination of the storytelling plus the facts interwoven make this a good book choice.

By Barbara Ross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Summer has come to Busman's Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there's something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment. . .

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family's struggling clambake business--not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man's corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase…


Book cover of City of Bones

Christopher Church Author Of The Mythical Blond

From my list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime Angeleno, I’ve read a lot about the dark underbelly of our dysfunctional metropolis, both in the news and in fiction. I try to incorporate the City of Angels as a strong presence in my writing, and when I read other writers who have put Los Angeles at the center, it gives me a sense of things the way they really are, a glimpse at a deeper reality. I see the detectives in LA noir and crime fiction as inextricably intertwined with the city, their weaknesses, and their emotional quandaries emerging from this place.

Christopher's book list on LA detectives with complex emotional lives

Christopher Church Why did Christopher love this book?

I don’t think Connelly’s intention was to write horror, but his visceral description of the corpses and the minutia of murder in this novel made my stomach churn. An unpleasant experience, yes, but it’s vivid and effective writing. Harry Bosch is a detective with weakness for a specific type of woman, and of course he gets mixed up with Julia, a hot tomato who’s new to the force, and of course she messes up his investigation into the bones. You might want to kick Bosch in the caboose for not thinking more lucidly, but eventually he manages to outsmart his villains.

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The outstanding eighth Harry Bosch thriller from the award-winning No. 1 bestselling author of The Lincoln Lawyer. City of Bones is featured in Amazon Prime's BOSCH TV series.

When the bones of a boy are found scattered in the Hollywood Hills, Harry Bosch is drawn into a case that brings up dark memories from his past.

Unearthing hidden stories, he finds the child's identity and reconstructs his fractured life, determined that he won't be forgotten. At the same time, a new love affair with a female cop begins to blossom - until a stunningly blown mission leaves him in more…


Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

Book cover of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

DK Coutant Author Of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Cross Cultural Psychologist Dog Lover Traveler Reader

DK's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Cleo Cooper, a cross-cultural psychology professor, is living the dream on the Big Island of Hawaii. With ocean-dipping weekends, she enjoys her dog, her job, and her boyfriend Ben - until the day she’s on a research vessel and a dead body is caught in the dragline.

The police determine it is murder and set their sights on a gentle former student, Kai. It doesn’t take much urging from Kai’s auntie for Cleo to investigate. But Ben grows distant, and Cleo’s dog grows ill. A couple of accidental deaths later, and someone makes an attempt on her life.

What happened to Cleo’s life in paradise? Can she discover the true killer? Can she stop the killer before the killer stops her?

Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

What is this book about?

Paradise is shaken when the body of a young woman is dragged onto a university research vessel during a class outing in Hilo Bay. Cleo Cooper is shaken when she finds her favorite student is on the hook for the murder. Danger lurks on land and sea as Cleo and her friends are enticed to search for the true killer. In between paddling, swimming, and arguing with her boyfriend, Cleo discovers all is not what it seems on the Big Island of Hawaii. But will she figure out the truth before she becomes the next victim?


Book cover of The Psychology of Time Travel

Jerry Aylward Author Of The Scarlet Oak: Murder, Spies, and Spirits

From my list on historical time travel mystery.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many others, and perhaps mostly the dreamers, I’ve had a lifelong fascination with time travel, along as many others, always wondering, what if? Plus, I have a passion for American history, mostly American Revolution history, always thinking, what if you could time travel back in time to witness history in the making, or travel to the future and witness the results of decisions made today. Plus, I have an obsession with a good mystery, mainly murder mysteries. I thoroughly enjoy a good murder mystery that has (I didn’t see that coming) twists, turns, and a few good red herrings. Which you can see by the books on my list. 

Jerry's book list on historical time travel mystery

Jerry Aylward Why did Jerry love this book?

If you love time travel and murder mysteries as much as I do, you’ll love this great read.

The author has captured a compelling obsession of one of the characters in unraveling a fifty-year-old mystery. With one crucial question, can you stop a murder from occurring in the present, with a clue from the future. I enjoy a well-written whodunit mystery that pulls you into the storyline with facts and clues.

This is a must-read for any mystery reader.

By Kate Mascarenhas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An astonishing debut... Breathtakingly tender and wryly understated' NEW YORK TIMES. 'Genre-defying... Witty and inventive' GUARDIAN. 1967. Four female scientists invent a time travel machine. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril... 2017. Ruby knows her Granny Bee was the scientist who went mad, but they never talk about it. Until they receive a message from the future, warning of an elderly woman's violent death... 2018. Odette found the dead women at work - shot in the head, door bolted from the inside. Now she can't get her out of her mind.…


Book cover of Find You First

Paul Gitsham Author Of Time to Kill

From Paul's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Teacher Scientist Trekker Reader Writer

Paul's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Paul Gitsham Why did Paul love this book?

Leaving aside the fact that Linwood Barclay is a terrifically-talented writer, I found the premise of this novel intriguing.

Tech billionaire Miles discovers he has a terminal illness. His subsequent re-evaluation of his life leads him to decide to track down his existing biological children to pass on both the good news of their inheritance and potential bad news about their future health.

Barclay explores the ethical implications inherent in this decision in a sensitive and balanced way. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is a killer already stalking his offspring, leading to a race against time, forcing Miles to make other choices.

This book combines a high-concept premise with a clever plot and a devious antagonist, written with Barclay’s trademark wit and characterisation. A highly enjoyable read.

By Linwood Barclay,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Find You First as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One will change your life. One will end it.
Who will ... FIND YOU FIRST?

'The best book of his career' STEPHEN KING
'Insanely paced, wildly entertaining' JOE HILL
'A full-throttle powerhouse of a thriller' T.M. LOGAN
'Sharply drawn' SUNDAY TIMES
'Keeps the engine racing' THE TIMES

It's a deadly race against time...

Tech billionaire Miles has more money than he can ever spend, but he can't buy more time. Diagnosed with a terminal illness, he is forced to take a long, hard look at his past.

Somewhere out there, Miles has children who don't know it, but they might…


Book cover of Homicide in Hardcover

Hannah Dennison Author Of Murder at Honeychurch Hall

From my list on murder and humor set in small communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

My picks reflect my passion for the cozy mystery genre (which I write myself!) One of the reasons I love cozy mysteries is that justice always prevails. There is no violence, bad language, or sex on the page. The murders take place in a small town or community where everyone is known to everyone else. If you like Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders, you’ll enjoy this genre. 

Hannah's book list on murder and humor set in small communities

Hannah Dennison Why did Hannah love this book?

I love the adventures of bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. There are 15 books in the series and each one features a well-known book as a backdrop that is integral to the plot. The plots are clever with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Most of all I enjoy the interaction of the characters – Brooklyn was brought up in a commune and was named after the bridge beneath which she was conceived … which says it all really!

By Kate Carlisle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book expert Brooklyn Wainwright discovers that murder is always a bestseller in the first novel in the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a skilled surgeon. Sure, her patients might smell like mold and have spines made of leather, but no ailing book is going to die on her watch. The same can’t be said of Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn’s friend and former employer. 
 
On the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration, Brooklyn finds her mentor lying in a pool of his own blood. With his final breath Abraham leaves Brooklyn with a cryptic…


Book cover of Blacklands

Jan-Andrew Henderson Author Of The Kirkfallen Stopwatch

From my list on absolutely crazy plots.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written many types of book—fiction and non-fiction—for readers of all ages. But I keep returning to my first passion—the clever, crazy, over the top psychological thrillers I was addicted to reading or watching on TV when I was growing up. I’ve always loved trying to write page turners with plots readers have never seen before. Certainly, I want my audience to care about the book’s characters and laugh at the one-liners. But nothing beats making people think… there’s no way he can possibly pull all these plot strands together at the end. And then doing it. Besides, my nutty thrillers are the ones that get the best reviews.

Jan-Andrew's book list on absolutely crazy plots

Jan-Andrew Henderson Why did Jan-Andrew love this book?

The central idea of his book is a beauty. A kid writing to an incarcerated serial killer to try persuading him to reveal where he murdered and buried the boy’s brother. Bauer makes you really care about the crap existence of a nondescript sad sack child you wouldn’t give the time of day to in real life. I love it because the writing is superb and there’s a genuine sense of tension. All right, you know the outcome is going to be grimly inevitable. Until the story starts to take some very unexpected turns.

By Belinda Bauer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF SNAP

'Extraordinarily powerful and evocative . . . will leave you breathless.' Daily Mirror

VOTED CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR when it was first released, and still the most gripping, powerful thriller debut you will read this year.

___

Steven Lamb is 12 when he writes his first letter . . . to a serial killer

Every day after school, whilst his classmates swap football stickers, twelve-year-old Steven digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. His uncle disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial…


Book cover of The Fire Witness

Cecilia Ekbäck Author Of The Historians: A Thrilling Novel of Conspiracy and Intrigue During World War II

From my list on Nordic noir from a Nordic noir fan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Sweden in a northern fishing town. My parents come from Lapland. I always loved reading, especially crime novels. My parents used to drop me off at the local library and pick me up at closing time. When young, I worked for the local newspaper and had dreams of becoming a journalist. Instead, it became a corporate career with postings all over the world. When I picked up writing again in my early forties, it didn’t come together for me until I put a dead body in there, and thus I found myself writing thrillers. Nordic Noir is a genre I am particularly fond of. It is crime, where setting in the broadest use of the word (physical, mental, geographical, climate…) is allowed to take space. Below you will find five of my favourites. 

Cecilia's book list on Nordic noir from a Nordic noir fan

Cecilia Ekbäck Why did Cecilia love this book?

At a home for troubled girls, a young girl has been brutally murdered. One of the other girls has gone missing and the murder weapon is discovered in her bed. But is it really that easy? Detective Inspector Joona Linna pieces the evidence together.

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. The Joona Linna series follows Linna, Detective Superintendent at the police's National Operations Department, and Saga Bauer, an Operational Superintendent at the Swedish Security Service. The diverse viewpoints and short chapters give an exciting and varied read.

By Lars Kepler, Neil Smith (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A terrifying new thriller in the the internationally bestselling Killer Instinct series: Detective Joona Linna finds himself on a collision course with a terrifying killer whose past is more troubling than anyone could imagine.

“One of those rare books that is truly difficult to put down.” —New York Journal of Books

A brutal killing spree at a home for wayward teens. One girl is dead, another is missing. Joona Linna scrambles to track her down before the death toll mounts.


Book cover of The Man in the Brown Suit

D.K. Rajagopalan Author Of The Disappearing Uncle: and other stories

From my list on mysteries starring unlikely female sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved a good character-driven mystery, with people in all their wonder and weirdness at its heart. The perfect book to me is one that has enough of a puzzle to allow me to escape into it, while offering a sense of comfort that it will all come together in the end. My family moved around a lot when I was a child, before finally settling down in Chennai, India and books – particularly mystery novels – were a real constant in my life. I moved to Sydney, Australia as an adult and live here, where I write stories that celebrate my heritage and my love of a good mystery. 

D.K.'s book list on mysteries starring unlikely female sleuths

D.K. Rajagopalan Why did D.K. love this book?

While I do love Miss Marple (if you don’t, I’m not sure we can be friends), I also love a good romp, which is exactly what this is. Our heroine Anne Beddingfield is in search of an adventure. Heading up to London, she finds herself investigating a murder involving mysterious clues, stolen diamonds, and the Secret Service. Her investigation quickly leads to a one-way passage on the Killmordan Castle, a liner heading for South Africa.

She soon finds herself mired deep in a complex intrigue but is bright, resourceful, and just foolhardy enough to be believable as a complete amateur who unravels it (with a touch of kidnapping along the way). 

Read this if you’re looking for a book where the author subverts expectations to deliver a punchy, action-packed adventure. 

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man in the Brown Suit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nadina, a dancer in Paris, receives a visit from Count Sergius Paulovitch. Both are in the service of "the Colonel", an international agent provocateur and criminal. "The Colonel" is retiring, leaving his agents high and dry. Nadina has a plan to blackmail the Colonel. Anne Beddingfeld is an orphan after the sudden death of her archaeologist father. Longing for adventure, she jumps at the chance live in London. Returning from an unsuccessful job interview, Anne is at Hyde Park Corner tube station when a man falls onto the live track, dying instantly. A doctor examines the man, pronounces him dead,…


Book cover of Envious Casca

Martin Davies Author Of Mrs Hudson and The Christmas Canary

From my list on Christmas certain not to frighten the reindeer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christmas, it’s often said, is a time for family, so I asked my son to answer this one for me: "He’s an all-right dad, but sometimes he’s really annoying. His most annoying habit is foraging for things in hedges. His books are actually quite good. He’s good about driving me to places. The dog loves him. He really likes Christmas. His best Christmas habit is that he loves Christmas trees, but he never wants to put them up as early as everyone else, then he always makes us keep them up till Twelfth Night."

Martin's book list on Christmas certain not to frighten the reindeer

Martin Davies Why did Martin love this book?

Can I make this list and not include a golden-age detective story set in a country house at Christmas? This one has all the ingredients required for an afternoon by the fire, looking out at the wintry weather—a locked room, an appealing detective, and a cast of people compelled, rather unwisely, to spend Christmas in each other’s company. "If you ask me, there very likely wouldn’t have been a murder at all if it hadn’t been for him getting ideas about peace and goodwill, and assembling all these highly uncongenial people under the same roof at the same time. 

By Georgette Heyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Tis the season—to be dead...

A holiday party takes on a sinister aspect when the colorful assortment of guests discovers there is a killer in their midst. The owner of the substantial estate, that old Scrooge Nathaniel Herriard, is found stabbed in the back. While the delicate matter of inheritance could be the key to this crime, the real conundrum is how any of the suspects could have entered a locked room to commit the foul deed.

For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, the investigation is complicated by the fact that every guest is hiding something—throwing all of their testimony…