books + reading

My favorite mystery novels

One of my favorite things is when an author I love publishes a new book.

Whenever I hear about it, I immediately attempt to put the book on hold at the library. It’s a game of timing; the books only are available to put on hold a couple of months before they’re published – or, in the case of ebooks, sometimes only a few days ahead of time or the day of publication. Sometimes, I dominate and I’m #1 or 2 on the library hold list, meaning I get a copy the day of publication or a few days after. Sometimes, I am #156 on a library hold list of 275 people.

The most recent book I had this experience with is the latest from Anthony Horowitz, who is one of my favorite mystery writers. His book A Line To Kill was published on October 19, 2021. I got access to an ebook version of it a few days after publication, and an audiobook version a couple of days after that. I am currently in the middle of it and loving it. (I do wish I had a hard copy of it! I think I’ll fly through it once I can curl up with an actual book.)

I love mysteries. I also enjoy thrillers occasionally, if they are not too gory or terrifying. (I’m a big fan of the psychological thriller, a la Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient. See a few more of my favorites listed in this post!) I love a book that is a suspenseful, well-written page-turner, and often a mystery novel fits those requirements.

Currently my favorite mystery writers are Louise Penny and Anthony Horowitz. I started reading Penny’s Inspector Gamache mystery series in the fall of 2017; by January of 2018, I had read all 13 of the novels in the series at that time. She has published four more since then, with the latest (The Madness Of Crowds) published in August 2021. Her books are beautifully written, with wonderful characters and an extremely cozy setting.

Horowitz has a few different novels that I’ve enjoyed. The first book I read by him was The Word Is Murder; that book was followed in series by The Sentence Is Death and A Line To Kill. This series focuses on a not-always-likable but always-interesting detective who is partnered with a writer that is going to write about his crime-solving experiences. Horowitz also wrote several Sherlock Holmes novels (so good) and two mysteries (Magpie Murders and Moonflower Murders) that are part of a series. (I am really hoping the Magpie series continues, but I have no idea if it will!)

There are so many mystery novels and series that I haven’t yet tried. There are also so many books that are mysterious and suspenseful that I wouldn’t exactly call mysteries. So, this list was tricky to complete – by here you go.

My favorite mysteries that I wouldn’t call “thrillers”:

  • All of Agatha Christie’s novels – classic, favorite, amazing.
  • Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache novels.
  • Anthony Horowitz – Sherlock Holmes novels, Magpie Murders series, The Word Is Murder series.
  • The Cormoran Strike novels by J.K. Rowling – published under her pen name, Robert Galbraith. These are wonderful and I always read immediately after they’re published.
  • Lady In The Lake by Laura Lippman. (So many good books by Lippman! Some of them may be thrillers, I’m not sure.)
  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. 
  • One Of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep A Secret, and The Cousins, by Karen McManus.
  • Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson.

I am always looking for recs in this genre, so please share if you have any!

Photo by Caio on

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