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There’s nothing like curling up with a good “whodunit” – a suspenseful and fascinating mystery that doesn’t get solved until the very end. It’s got to have great characters, well-hidden clues, and a heart-pounding pace to keep readers on edge. Many page-turners have been written over the years. With so many thrilling tales to choose from, how do you know where to start? To save you some time, StudyFinds checked with nine expert websites to come up with our list of the best murder mystery books of all time. Tell us which one you’re going to read next in the comments section.

What Murder Mystery Should You Read Next?

1. “Murder On The Orient Express” by Agatha Christie

"Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie
“Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie

Popular on our list of best murder mysteries, Agatha Christie tops it with this classic mystery novel, which follows Detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder on the opulent and snowbound Orient Express. Read This Twice continues explaining that with a closed chamber and a dozen stab wounds, Poirot needs to solve the case before the killer strikes again.

Since its release in 1934, this story has been adapted numerous times for international television, radio, film, stage, and even video games. It’s a murder mystery, an iconic work of detective fiction, a locked room mystery, a tale of international intrigue, a master lecture in deductive reasoning, and a perfect reminder of why Christie was, is, and will always be the Queen of Crime, according to Esquire. This is such a fascinating and mysterious novel. Poirot’s ability to piece things together was remarkable. Your heart will be racing as you wait to find out who the offender is. It is truly unexpected.

2. “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie

"And then There Were None" by Agatha Christie
“And then There Were None” by Agatha Christie

This next titles is a real masterpiece. This book will give you chills beyond anything you’ve ever felt from a modern suspense novel. Any true fan of murder mysteries should read this book, which takes the genre back to its roots. A gripping mystery takes place on an island estate off the coast of Devon. Read This Twice ponders, “Will anyone survive?”

Eight guests are invited to an isolated estate on an island, but the host is nowhere to be found—only the butler and cook remain. Cut off from the rest of the world, the visitors begin to disclose their terrible secrets, and eventually die one by one. Cosmopolitan says, “It is one of the best-selling books in the world, and for good reason: it’s so damn intriguing.”

Christie’s no-nonsense writing style, clever, concise, and minimalist, gets to the heart of the topic, inspiring countless imitators. Forbes says its work commands respect with its twists and turns, and it is frequently referred, discussed, and revered for good cause.

3. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown

"The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown
“The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown

According to Cosmopolitan, this is a modern addition to the murder mystery classics. It will not only keep you guessing, but will also make you look at Da Vinci’s artwork in a whole new light. After Louvre curator Jacques Saunière is shot and killed within the museum, symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu become involved in the investigation.

Sem Gulf explains that Langdon and Neveu become embroiled in a conflict between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had a child together. All of this is linked to a murder at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

This work is a breathtaking thriller. It’ll keep you on your toes from first to last letter. The details of history and symbols are wonderful, and the narrating style is stunning. Good Reads calls it “a mind-blowing thriller.”

4. “The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie

"The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie
“The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie

Spoiler Alert! Another Agatha Christie classic, the title says it all: “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” His wife committed suicide after being blackmailed by an unknown individual, and he was stabbed in the neck while sitting in his study while reading a piece of mail revealing the identity of the blackmailer, according to Cosmopolitan.

Poirot is the major character in 33 novels, two plays, and more than 80 short stories. His most famous—and filmed—cases are “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile.” While both stories highlight Agatha’s aptitude for inventing knotty whodunnits, the suave detective’s dazzling gifts are exhibited to far better advantage in “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Murder Mayhem says it isn’t lacking a surprise ending.

This is a thriller, as are all of her books, in which plot reigns supreme and character development takes a back seat. This is arguably the most well-known of her writings and, in our opinion, the smartest. It was written in 1926 and is unique because the twist at the end is what Shortform refers to as breathtaking.

5. “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle

This is a collection of twelve short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, originally published in October 1892. It features the detective Sherlock Holmes’ early short stories, which were first published in twelve monthly issues of The Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. Some of the short stories include “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Red-Headed League,” “A Case of Identity,” “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” and “The Five Orange Pips” (Good Reads).

Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes are the only two characters in all twelve stories. All are linked in the first-person narrative from Watson’s point of view. Sem Gulf says that Holmes’s findings leave readers amazed.

Holmes is unquestionably one of the most fully realized literary characters of all time. Almost every narrative reveals something new about his background, but not too much, keeping him enigmatic. The stories guide the reader through Holmes’ extraordinary powers of deduction, and the explanations frequently astound the reader. Pro Writing Aid says that no mystery would be complete without mentioning Sherlock Holmes.

6. “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie

"Death On The Nile" by Agatha Christie
“Death On The Nile” by Agatha Christie

The tranquility of a Nile cruise is disrupted by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot in the head. She was young, trendy, and gorgeous; she had it all, until she died. Hercule Poirot recalls a previous outburst by a fellow passenger: “I’d like to place my dear little pistol against her head and simply press the trigger.” However, in this exotic setting, Shortform says nothing is ever quite as it appears.

“Death on the Nile” features Hercule Poirot, who was actually on a holiday to Egypt, when he finds himself solving two murder cases rather than sightseeing. Good Reads says that everything is shattered, including everyone’s vacation.

This is an excellent murder-mystery thriller with a complex narrative. Poirot’s analytical thinking solves the mystery even without comprehensive proof, apprehending offenders who would otherwise go unpunished. Poirot’s decision is his own, and according to Sem Gulf, he always considers human sensitivities.

7. “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr 

"The Alienist" by Caleb Carr
“The Alienist” by Caleb Carr

This modern classic of historical suspense fiction transports you to New York City in 1896. Follow newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore and psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler as they embark on a novel criminology investigation to apprehend a sick murderer who intends to kill again. Read This Twice says that it is a fast-paced read.

This captivating story is rich in historical detail, evoking the harsh realities of Gilded Age New York. Don’t miss out on this genre staple. Forbes calls it “excellently plotted, fascinating and intricate.”

“The Alienist” is ideal for New Yorkers and people interested in history. Carr definitely put years of research into the novel, resulting in an unforgettable reading experience and a captivating mystery. Sem Gulf says, “The characters are well-drawn out, and the plot moves along well. We recommend this book to all who love a good crime story but also appreciate history.”

Sources:

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About Janelle Davis

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2 Comments

  1. No says:

    This is the most ridiculous list I’ve ever seen. Tell me you don’t read books without telling me you don’t read books. The Davinci Code? Seriously? And the Hound of the Baskervilles is inferior to Doyle’s short stories.

  2. Michael Kirkby says:

    What, no Cormac McCarthy or John Steinbeck? Sheesh and they place that 3rd rate writer Dan Brown in 2nd place? No accounting for taste. JMO of course.