If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ll know mystery is one of my favorite genres. Ever since picking up my first Agatha Christie novel some twenty something years ago, the genre had me hooked and keeps me coming back time after time! Although some people think of mysteries as synonymous with detective fiction, I tend to use the classification more loosely to encompass stories that involve getting to the bottom of a puzzle or secret. So, the following list includes a variety of types of mysteries, from the classic whodunit to legal thriller and domestic suspense to psychological thriller.
Ready to see my picks?
My top 10 all-time favorite mysteries (in publication order):
An oldie but goodie, Murder on the Orient Express stands the test of time, as is clear by the fact that movie adaptations are still being made of it. I have read this several times over the past couple decades and enjoy the experience every time despite knowing the outcome.
Another Agatha Christie classic, I couldn’t not include And Then There Were None on this list! Brilliantly plotted with a complex cast of characters and a “closed room” setting, this mystery is hard to crack for even the most capable mystery readers.
In The Westing Game, sixteen random people are gathered for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. The will is a puzzle, and the character that solves it wins his fortune. Mystery fans of any age will enjoy puzzling out this short middle grade novel.
Although The Runaway Jury might be better placed in the legal thriller category, there is a fascinating mystery within these pages. A prolific author, Grisham has plenty of novels to choose from – if you’re on the fence about trying his books, this might be a good starting point.
A gothic and atmospheric story within a story, The Thirteenth Tale unravels the mystery of reclusive author Vida Winter’s true life story, one that she has kept a secret for six decades. If you like gothic dramas or mysteries, books about reading and stories within stories, definitely try this out.
Gillian Flynn is way more well known for Gone Girl, and I will admit, that was my introduction to her work. But before that was her debut, Sharp Objects, which follows a reporter who returns to her hometown to cover some murders and must come to terms with a family and a past that she had left behind. Fans of disturbing psychological thrillers will relish seeing this mystery unfold. *Trigger warning for self-harm.
Before I Go To Sleep tells the story of a woman who wakes up every morning with no memories of her life since a terrible accident two decades before. Drawing the reader in slowly but surely as the suspense builds and the truth unravels, this is ideal for fans of character driven suspense. (But skip the movie – it doesn’t do the story justice!)
Lies, T.M. Logan’s debut novel, follows Joe, an ordinary guy, as he navigates through a series of events that confuse and anger him. This page turner also examines themes of love, trust, betrayal, and our culture’s use of technology, adding depth to a mystery and psychological thriller that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.
Co-written by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, The Wife Between Us starts out with a bit of intrigue, atmosphere, and tension, slowing unfolding at first, then faster and faster until finally crashing to a climax. Fans of domestic suspense will enjoy trying to piece the clues of this mystery together.
Sometimes I Lie starts out with Amber, who is in a coma and can’t remember how she got there. Over time, the mystery of what happened to her unravels in a fast paced, immersive, and compelling ride. Recommended for fans of psychological suspense.
There you have my top 10 favorite mystery stories! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books or have them on your TBR. If you’re a mystery reader, what are your favorite books in the genre?