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Dive Right In: 8 Lakeside Mystery Books to Drift Into

Bodies of water, bodies in water…

two people fishing in a canoe on an eerie, cloudy lake
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  • Photo Credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen / Unsplash

When it comes to settings for mysteries, lakes are the perfect backdrop. Their existence feels a bit mysterious alone. The waters can be tumultuous or still, idyllic or dangerous. And who knows what could be lurking in theor depths.

From lakes in the middle of cities or surrounded by woods, there’s an eerie quality surrounding these bodies of water. Along with the feeling that anything could happen.

From cozy mysteries to atmospheric noirs, here are eight lakeside mysteries that you won’t be able to put down. 

A Sin Such as This

A Sin Such as This

By Ellen Hopkins

Tara Lattimore thought her future was finally here. But during her honeymoon to the handsome Dr. Cavin Lattimore, Tara’s niece moved into their Lake Tahoe home and began an affair with Cavin’s manipulative son.

To make matters worse, when the honeymoon is over her sister’s husband claims he and Tara once had an affair. 

But the thing that might break her is when Cavin’s seductive ex moves to Tahoe only to be found murdered. Now, Tara is a suspect. And while she may not be guilty, she has plenty of sins in her past. Are they finally going to catch up with her? 

Dead Angler (Loon Lake Mystery Book 1)

Dead Angler (Loon Lake Mystery Book 1)

By Victoria Houston

Follow Police Chief Lewellyn Ferris and retired dentist Paul Osborne through the Northwoods of Wisconsin’s Loon Lake in this compelling mystery series that reads like an episode of Murder, She Wrote meets Fargo.

It all started with a fly-fishing expedition that led to a body floating in the moonlight.

Nineteen books later, crime continues to plague Lew and Osborne but their friendship never wavers. 

The Serpent Pool

The Serpent Pool

By Martin Edwards

Bethany Friend was found drowned in Serpent Pool seven years ago. The death in mere inches of water was never resolved. Why would a woman who was afraid of water drown herself?

Now, Bethany’s mother is dying. And DCI Hannah Scarlett is determined to find closure for the grieving mother. But as Hannah investigates, she finds ties to Bethany’s death and a recent string of murders.

Death is suddenly very close to home. If Hannah can’t unravel the truth, she might become the killer’s next victim. 

A Northern Light

A Northern Light

By Jennifer Donnelly

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams. But the odds of any of them coming true are slim to none.

Broke and desperate, she takes a job at the Glenmore hotel. One of the guests, Grace Brown, entrusts Mattie with a bundle of letters, asking her to burn them. 

But when Grace is found drowned in the lake, Mattie realizes the letters might hold the key to solving her murder. Set in 1906 around Grace’s real-life murder, A Northern Light weaves history with a moving romance and an intriguing mystery that will sweep you away. 

The Secrets of Lake Road

The Secrets of Lake Road

By Karen Katchur

Sixteen years ago, Jo’s boyfriend drowned and she’s hidden the truth ever since. Now, she takes her children to her mother’s lakeside community every summer but the guilt and memories make it impossible for her to stay with them.

But then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing. And Jo’s daughter Caroline was one of the last to see her on the beach.

 Determined to find Sara, Caroline sets out to find the truth. But when the bones Jo tried to run from are discovered, her secrets threaten to surface with them.

With Caroline asking questions and her past quickly catching up, Jo’s world and her family might finally come entirely undone. 

authors like tony hillerman

Iron Lake

By William Kent Krueger

Cork O’Conner is barely holding it together. The part Irish, part Anishinaabe Indian’s marriage is falling apart and there isn’t enough caffeine, nicotine, or guilt to hold the man together.

But when the town’s judge is brutally murdered and a young Eagle Scout goes missing, Cork takes on the case. 

After all, there’s not much the former Chicago South Side cop hasn’t seen. Only, the case turns out to be a complicated web of conspiracy and corruption with a secret the small town has been keeping.

One that hits painfully close to Cork and his home. 

The Cat Who Saw Stars

The Cat Who Saw Stars

By Lilian Jackson Braun

Jim Qwilleran is more than a newspaper columnist. He’s also Moose County’s richest resident.

And he’s currently intrigued by news of a missing backpacker near Qwill’s lakeside log cabin in Mooseville. Deciding to spend the summer by the lake, Qwill can’t help but notice his cat Kyoto starts acting rather strangely when they arrive. 

Between catching up with old friends and helping plan the Fourth of July parade, Qwill becomes determined to prove that aliens had nothing to do with the missing backpacker.

Only, his cat Kyoto may disagree. Agatha Christie fans will love The Cat Who Saw Stars

Lady in the Lake

Lady in the Lake

By Laura Lippman

In 1966 Baltimore, everyone has secrets. And everyone seems to know them.

Everyone except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. She went from being a happy housewife to pursuing her dreams of making a mark on the world in less than a year.

Her own secrets helped police solve a murder and land her a job at the newspaper. And when a body is found in the city lake, she knows this is a story that will make her name. 

After all, no one seems to care why this woman was murdered. No one but Maddie. Except while she relentlessly pursues the truth, turning up contact with people from all walks of life, it’s the ones closest to Maddie that may get hurt by her determination the most. 

Featured image: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen / Unsplash