There’s simply nothing better than being curled up in a cozy leather armchair, a steaming hot cup of tea in your right hand and a thrilling mystery book in your left.
Whether it’s a stormy night by the fire or a sunny day by the pool, we have the perfect selection of the best mystery books to keep you turning pages until you’ve become Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes yourself.
We’re breaking it all down for you here, from the best mystery books for kids and the best mystery books for teenagers to favorite murder mysteries, mystery romances, famous mystery series, historical mystery books and funny mystery books alike.
Good Old Fashioned Detective Work: The Best Mystery Books
These suspenseful stories are perfect for transporting you to a world full of cigar smoke and grandfather clock, where mystery and darkness wait at every turn waiting to be solved.
Whether you’re finding a secret hidden in an attic or solving a murder on a train, these are the famous mystery series and famous mystery books that you want by your side.
The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes
Haunting murders and shady situations abound in Sherlock Holmes – the detective that we all wanted to be growing up, and secretly still do.
With the complete collection you can read every adventure, whether you’re nostalgic for “The Five Orange Pips” and Dr. Watson or just wanting to re-live the times at 221B Baker Street.
Nancy Drew series
A classic in every respect, the Nancy Drew books are chock full of moxie and good old-fashioned whodunits.
Each book is great for teenagers and adults alike. Either way, you’ll close each book with a newfound penchant for detective work.
Turn to these when you’re in the mood for old-fashioned detective fiction that keeps you on your toes.
Unreliable Narrators Abound: Murder Mystery Books
You can’t trust anyone in these books, and that’s what makes it fun. From reading about murders to twisting a web of lies, these are the murder mystery books and psychological thrillers that will keep you flipping pages until the wee hours of the morning.
A bestselling book turned blockbuster film, this is the story of what happens when someone thinks she’s seen a murder from her train cabin.
It’s a psychological thriller with a woman at the center that you aren’t quite sure you can trust at all – a must-read page-turner with a shocking ending.
When Amy Dunne disappears, all eyes point to her husband Nick. From two point-of-views – that of a seemingly creepy Nick and that of a seemingly perfect Amy – the reader tries to figure it out – what happened to her?
Is she dead? Is she hurt?
But, the real question each reader should be asking is: who can we trust?
When an alcoholic, reclusive psychologist thinks she sees a murder through the window, she tries to piece it together from the comfort of her home with a disjointed, fuzzy chronology of events that will keep you turning until the last page.
When three of her fellow campers disappear from their cabin, Camp Nightingale camper Emma was left alone in the night.
They never come back. Years later she’s asked to return as an employee at the infamous Camp Nightingale, but she’ll have to reconcile with the lies and stories she’s spun along the way.
A true page-turner that will leave you gasping, this is the perfect summertime mystery read that will keep you wondering who is telling the real story.
A Step Back in Time: Historical Mystery Books
When you want to be transported back – even just a little – these are the historical mystery books that will do it, with compelling characters and backgrounds rich in the lessons of the past.
When the body of Chase Andrews is found lying dead in the Carolina marsh, the town’s eyes turn in suspicion to so-called “Marsh Girl” Kya – a girl who has raised herself among the trees and the birds.
This historical mystery takes place in 1969 and is a hauntingly beautiful examination of neglect, love, and murder in a town where appearance means everything.
Aiden Bishop is told that there will be a murder that night at 11 p.m. and that he will have eight chances – eight separate nights and the point-of-view of eight different witnesses – to relive it and solve it.
Set in the 1920s, Bishop’s race to solve what seems to be the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle is a flummoxing and thrilling read.
Though it’s set in present-day, Robert Langdon’s adventure to solve the murder of a well-known museum curator is steeped in history, myth, art and riddle that will catch the attention of every single reader.
Best Mystery Books for Kids
When you’re busy raising the next Nancy Drew or Joe Hardy of the world, you’ve got to keep the curious kids on their toes – and these kid-friendly mystery books are sure to do it.
Treasure hunts, gold, and pirates capture the attention of every young reader yearning for an adventure of their own.
Perfect for a read-along with younger kids or an independent read for more advanced readers, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic lets you follow Jim Stevenson along on a quest that leads him to Long John Silver, Billy Bones, and Ben Gunn – with some death, mystery, and shadiness along the way.
Magic Tree House series
Mysterious adventures abound everywhere from Egypt to the Prehistoric Period in the Magic Tree House series, where readers will follow Jack and Annie on each and every adventure they encounter, solving mysteries and learning about history all along the way.
The Boxcar Children
From their home in a boxcar, The Boxcar Children have been solving mysteries and staying together since the 1940s.
Frank and Joe take every child along for their journey of solving mysteries and going on adventure after adventure, from Mexico to Kenya.
The brothers have been going on journeys since the 1920’s, looking into mysteries like medical malpractice, murder, and drug peddling that the adults in their life could never figure out.
Funny and Romantic Mysteries
Sometimes you want something mysterious that isn’t going to keep you up at night – those books that are incredibly engaging but also not terrifying.
These are chock full of hilarious heroine and romance – and quite a bit of detective work, too. What could be better than that?
Janet Evanovich’s famous Stephanie Plum series is one for the record books, each book as funny and compelling as the next.
You’ll go on bounty hunts and crush on criminals with Stephanie Plum herself, an apprehension agent with an attitude and style.
With well over 20 books in the series, you won’t be short on mystery when you’ve got Ms. Plum on your shelves.
If you’re in the mood for mystery with a side of comedy, the antics and adventures of Rebecca Schwartz will have you rolling laughing as she deals with everything from an almost naked senator to a highly sought after sourdough starter.
With a fiercely quirky family and friend cast and the token hunk, the stories of Meg Langslow will have you alternating between bellyaching laughter and legitimate detective work as you work to unravel each mystery alongside Meg herself.
What’s Your Favorite Mystery Book?
Do you prefer a page-turner that leaves you on the edge of your seat or are you more of a fan of the old-fashioned detective novel? Let us know some of your favorite mystery books or if we’ve left out any classics from this list!
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About the Author
At the ripe old age of 3, Susannah decided that life was just a blank canvas and took Magic Marker to the newly installed carpet in her room just to “see what happened.” She’s taken that approach to life since, curious about pretty much everything. She earned a journalism