18 of the Best Mystery Books and Thrillers

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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.

The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes

Our Top Recommendation for Mystery Book

The Complete Collection Sherlock Holmes” is a comprehensive collection of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s classic hero’s adventures in paperback, starting from the A Study in Scarlet to The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place. Needless to mention that this paperback collection has all the 56 short stories and the four volumes of Sir Doyle’s novel, of the super adventures of Holmes and his partner Watson. So, you have got all that you need to know about Sherlock’s quest for truth, compiled in one book form.

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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.

Best Mystery Books and Thrillers

Sr. No.TitlePublication DatePrint LengthAuthorPublisherWhere to Buy
1The Complete Works of Sherlock HolmesOctober 25, 20221096 pagesAthur Conan DoyleWelbeck PublishingAmazon
2Nancy Drew seriesMay 01, 1930192 pagesCarolyn Keene Grosset & DunlapBook Shop
3Murder on the Orient Express A Hercule Poirot MysteryOctober 1, 201999 pagesAgatha ChristieThe Commercial PressAmazon
4The Girl on the TrainMarch 18, 2015
502 pages
Paula Hawkins Thorndike PressAmazon
5Gone GirlApril 22, 2014422 pagesPaula HawkinsBallantine BooksAmazon
6The Big Book of Victorian MysteriesOctober 19, 2021
640 pagesOtto Penzler
Vintage Crime/Black LizardAmazon

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.

Good Old Fashioned Detective Work: The Best Mystery Books

1. The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes

The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes

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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.

2. Nancy Drew series

The Secret of the Old Clock

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A classic in every respect, the Nancy Drew books are chock full of moxie and good old-fashioned whodunits.

You can start with the original Nancy tale, The Secret of the Old Clock, or explore one of Nancy’s later sleuthing adventures with a book like The Witch Tree Symbol.

Each book is great for teenagers and adults alike. Either way, you’ll close each book with a newfound penchant for detective work.

3. Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Murder on the Orient Express

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From solving a deadly train crime in the Murder on the Orient Express to a tranquil riverboat ride that soon turns fatal in Death on the Nile, Christie’s mysteries are in a league of their own.

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.

1. The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train

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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.

2. Gone Girl

Gone Girl

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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?

3. The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window

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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.

4. The Last Time I Lied

The Last Time I Lied

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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.

The best mystery books

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.

1. Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

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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.

2. The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries

The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries

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The Victorian era is the setting of so many exhilarating mystery and thriller novels, and for a good reason. The smoggy London streets illuminated by the dim glow of gas lamps and the misty English moors dotted with crumbling manor houses create the ultimate backdrop for a good mystery story.

The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries is a thrilling anthology serving up some of the most suspenseful whodunnits of that bygone era. It’s packed with page-turning works from legendary authors such as Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, and Thomas Hardy, just to name a few.

So, if you love a little history with your mystery, then this book is a must-read

3. The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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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.

4. The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code

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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.

1. Treasure Island

Treasure Island

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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.

2. Magic Tree House series

Magic Tree House series

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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.

3. The Boxcar Children

The Boxcar Children

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From their home in a boxcar, The Boxcar Children have been solving mysteries and staying together since the 1940s.

As a must-read for children of all ages, the adventures of Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny will take you to the doorsteps of a spooky house to a looming lighthouse, among others.

4. The Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys

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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?

1. Stephanie Plum

Stephanie Plum

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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.

2. The Rebecca Schwartz Series

The Rebecca Schwartz Series

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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.

3. Meg Langslow

Meg Langslow

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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.

17 of the Best Mystery Books and Thrillers

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 degree from Texas A&M University with the mission of making asking questions and telling stories her life, and since then has done everything from social media strategizing and content creation on the national level to writing a career column for USA TODAY. Susannah is a high school teacher and yearbook adviser with a huge passion for reading (Harry Potter is her absolute favorite), and is excited to bring another book-loving voice to Hooked to Books.

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