From the Golden Age of Detective Fiction to new releases, there's no shortage of incredible mystery books to read. But everyone has their favorites. Whether you like chilling tales of Gothic suspense or can't resist a gritty PI, this genre is rife with intrigue.
We asked our Murder & Mayhem audience and you answered: What are the best mystery books of all time? Read on to find out!
And Then There Were None
It comes as no surprise that the most lauded mystery title from our readers comes from Agatha Christie. In this artful tale, 10 individuals—each with their own secrets—are invited to a remote mansion on Indian Island. When their host never turns up, they find themselves completely separated from the outside world, left with nothing but each other and their own hidden pasts. As the guests divulge their secrets, they start to die off, one by one. But which one of them is the killer?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
You didn't think there was only one Christie title on our readers' minds, did you? In The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must come out of retirement to find out who stabbed his friend—the titular Roger Ackroyd—to death. The case isn't so simple, however. Ackroyd's death may be connected to the tragic loss of his fiancée, who died just one day before him.
The Maltese Falcon
In this tightly written action-packed novel, private detective Sam Spade is hired by the gorgeous Miss Wonderley to follow Floyd Thursby, who she believes has run off with her sister. When Spade's partner, Miles Archer sets out for the job, he's shot dead. And when Thursby is also found dead, Spade is pegged as a suspect. The plot thickens when Miss Wonderley is revealed to be an adventuress named Brigid O'Shaughnessy, whose real interest is in a priceless statuette.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
No "best of" list would be complete without a Sherlock Holmes tale. In this novel, the curse of the Baskervilles came about in the 17th century, after an ill-intentioned Hugo Baskerville gave chase to a farmer's daughter in the night. The girl perished from fear, but Hugo had his throat ripped out by a giant black hound. Now the hulking specter of the animal still lingers at Baskerville Hall, and the estate's inhabitants often find themselves coming to mysteriously violent ends.
A local doctor comes to Sherlock Holmes after the latest tragedy, hoping the brilliant sleuth can get to the bottom of the perplexing case before yet another life is taken. Sir Charles Baskerville died on the edge of a moor, face contorted in fear. 20 yards from his body, the footprints of a large hound decorate the ground. Has the relentless curse claimed another victim, or is there a new threat in the familial home?
The Guest List
Off the coast of Ireland, guests gather on an island for a wedding. The groom is a charismatic television star. The bride is a clever magazine publisher. The wedding is extravagant, from the designer dress to the boutique whiskey. But though the event has been meticulously planned, no one can help the spotty cell phone service or the choppy waves—or the mounting resentments that build with the flowing alcohol. And then someone turns up dead.
Murder Must Advertise
Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey is another staple of classic mysteries. In Murder Must Advertise, Victor Dean cracks open his skull during a deadly fall down the iron staircase of Pym's Publicity. The advertising agency brings in novice copywriter Death Bredon to replace Dean. Despite Bredon's talent and pushing everything from margarine to nerve tonics, he's not there to sell at all. He is Lord Peter Wimsey, undercover to suss out who shoved Dean to his untimely end.
This classic Gothic tale of suspense opens in Monte Carlo, where readers see their heroine falling for charming widower Maxim de Winter. As an orphaned lady's maid, his abrupt marriage proposal is irresistible. But when she arrives at his large country estate, she soon finds that the lingering shadow of his late wife is casting a darkness over their lives. From beyond the grave, her memory is a pervasive evil.
Crescent Place used to be a beautiful suburb replete with upstanding citizens. As the city encroached, its residents erected a gate to keep the world at bay, and as time passed, the subdivision only grew stranger. Before long, it stood like a time capsule of the 1890s.
The residents now are hardly perfect. One couple fights endlessly, while another has spent the past 20 years refusing to speak to each other. A widow remains in mourning as a daughter's alleged psychosis is splashed across the newspapers. And one bedridden old woman is murdered with an axe.
The terrible crime destroys the peaceful atmosphere of the neighborhood. As the tabloids relish in the drama, the hunt for the killer uncovers plenty of nasty secrets.