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Interested in reading Mystery novels but don't know where to begin? Look below for some suggestions on beginning your journey into the genre.
Who done it? Mystery novels are all about getting the reader invested in solving the intricate, bizarre, or fiendish cases they present alongside the characters. Look for detectives, police, and special investigators to lead the charge in these books. Try to solve the mystery before the characters!
Don't be afraid to read across age groups if something seems interesting to you!
If you enjoy any of these titles, check to see if they are part of a series!
The Girl on the Train by
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life as she sees it is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
And Then There Were None by
First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder, and one by one they begin to fall prey to an unseen hand. As the only people on the island, unable to leave and unable to call for help, they know that the only possible suspects are among their number. And only the dead are above suspicion.
The Husband's Secret by
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret--something with the potential to destroy not only the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive...
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all--she's an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. But that letter is about to change everything--and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia--or each other--but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's secret.
The Silver Pigs by
The Silver Pigs is the classic novel which introduced readers around the world to Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer with a knack for trouble, a tendency for bad luck, and a frequently incovenient drive for justice.
When Marcus Didius Falco encounters the young and very pretty Sosia Camillina in the Forum, he senses immediately that there is something amiss. When she confesses that she is fleeing for her life, Falco offers to help her and, in doing so, he gets himself mixed up in a deadly plot involving stolen ingots, dangerous and dark political machinations, and, most hazardous of all, one Helena Justina, a brash, indominable senator's daughter connected to the very traitors that Falco has sworn to expose.
Crocodile on the Sandbank by
Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her debut Egyptian adventure armed with unshakable self-confidence, a journal to record her thoughts, and, of course, a sturdy umbrella. On her way to Cairo, Amelia rescues young Evelyn Barton-Forbes, who has been abandoned by her scoundrel lover. Together the two women sail up the Nile to an archeological site run by the Emerson brothers-the irascible but dashing Radcliffe and the amiable Walter. Soon their little party is increased by one-one mummy that is, and a singularly lively example of the species.
Strange visitations, suspicious accidents, and a botched kidnapping convince Amelia that there is a plot afoot to harm Evelyn. Now Amelia finds herself up against an unknown enemy-and perilous forces that threaten to make her first Egyptian trip also her last . . .
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by
The disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden, gnaws at her octogenarian uncle, Henrik Vanger. He is determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. He hires crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently at the wrong end of a libel case, to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old, pierced, tattooed genius hacker, possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age--and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness--assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, an astonishing corruption at the highest echelon of Swedish industrialism--and a surprising connection between themselves.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by
The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor.
The Lying Game by
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...
The next morning, three women in and around London--Fatima, Thea, and Isabel--receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, "I need you."
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other--ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school's eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate's father).
Smilla's Sense of Snow by
When a small boy leaps to his death from the snow-covered roof of a Copenhagen apartment building, his friend Smilla, a Greenlander who can "read" snow, knows it was no accident. For one thing, Isaiah was horribly afraid of heights, and his small footprints tell her he was fleeing from something, or someone, even more terrifying. As she begin to investigate, she is pulled deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that could very well mean her death.
Very Bad People by
Six years ago, Calliope's mother drove the family van into a lake with her daughters inside. The girls escaped, but their mother drowned, and the truth behind the "accident" remains a mystery Calliope is determined to solve. Now sixteen, she transfers to the elite boarding school her mother once attended, where she is invited to join Haunt and Rail, an exclusive secret society. But when Haunt and Rail commits to exposing a dangerous person on campus, it becomes clear that some ghosts define justice differently than others. As the society's tactics escalate, Calliope uncovers a possible link between Haunt and Rail and her mother's deadly crash.
Truly Devious by
Ellingham Academy is a private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. Shortly after the school opened, the founder's wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the pseudonym "Truly, Devious." True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life. But then Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy.
Firekeeper's Daughter by
Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to go undercover to aid an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
I Hope You're Listening by
Ten years ago, Delia "Dee" Skinner witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming the Seeker, the anonymous voice behind a popular true crime podcast that works with online sleuths to solve missing persons cases. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby's disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth?
One of Us Is Lying by
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Before the end of detention, one of them is dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, all of whom were with him in detention, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
This Is Our Story by
Kate Marino's senior year internship at the District Attorney's Office isn't exactly glamorous. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen--five boys went hunting, and one was killed in a supposed accident. The DA wants the boys' case swept under the rug. Kate won't let that happen, but digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk. As she gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the accident might not have been an accident at all-and if she doesn't uncover the true killer, more lives could be on the line.
Out of the Easy by
It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves her tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiances to friends and family. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by
Hawthorn wasn't trying to insert herself into a missing person's investigation. Or maybe she was, but only because Lizzie Lovett's disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don't happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she'll turn up at any moment--which means the time for speculation is now. So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie's disappearance. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie's life?
Elatsoe lives in an alternate version of America, one shaped by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
With Malice by
Jill Charron's senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill discovers she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident...wasn't an accident.
When radio personality West McCray receives a phone call imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, who fled home after the brutal murder of her little sister, Mattie, he travels to the small town of Cold Creek, Colorado, to uncover what happened. Sadie has no idea that her journey to avenge her sister will soon become the subject of a blockbuster podcast. Armed with a switchblade, Sadie follows meager clues hoping they'll lead to the man who took Mattie's life, because she's determined to make him pay with his own. But as West traces her path, a deeply unsettling mystery begins to unfold--one that's bigger than them both.
Queen of the Tiles by
When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend Trina's death, the same competition where Trina died, it's with the intention to heal and move on with her life. But the same can't be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All bets are off when Trina's formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe her death wasn't as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.
Last Seen Leaving by
Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking question he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn--as January's boyfriend, he must know something. But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
The Case of the Missing Moonstone by
Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude--but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada's first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency--a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it's no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.
Small Volcanoes by
8 year old Nancy Drew decides to build a model of a volcano for her science project. Best friends George (Georgia) Fayne and a gungho Bess Marvin arrive to help. But, the next day, their teacher Mrs. Ramirez opens the door to find all the volcanoes missing. Why are they missing? Is it an actual crime or a prank? And who did it? Nancy Drew, with the help of Bess and George, is on the case!
The Name of This Book Is Secret by
Warning: this description has not been authorized by Pseudonymous Bosch. As much as he'd love to sing the praises of his book (he is very vain), he wouldn't want you to hear about his brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest. Or about how a mysterious box of vials, the Symphony of Smells, sends them on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. And he certainly wouldn't want you to know about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. You see, not only is the name of this book secret, the story inside is, too. For it concerns a secret. A Big Secret.
Harriet the Spy by
Using her keen observation skills, 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch writes down in her notebook what she considers the truth about everyone in and around her New York City neighborhood. When she loses track of her notebook, it ends up in the wrong hands, and before she can stop them, her friends read the sometimes awful things she's observed and written about each of them. How can Harriet find a way to keep her integrity and also put her life and her friendships back together?
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by
Thirteen-year-old Sammy's penchant for speaking her mind gets her in trouble when she involves herself in the investigation of a robbery at the "seedy" hotel across the street from the seniors' building where she is living with her grandmother.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by
When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort -- she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because he was a miser and would have money.
Claudia was a good organizer and Jamie had some ideas too; so the two took up residence at the museum right on schedule. But once the fun of settling in was over, Claudia had two unexpected problems: She felt just the same and she wanted to feel different; and she found a statue at the Museum so beautiful she could not go home until she discovered its maker, a question that baffled the experts, too.
The former owner of the statue was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Without her -- well, without her, Claudia might never have found a way to go home.
The Shadows by
This house is keeping secrets . . .
When eleven-year-old Olive and her parents move into the crumbling mansion on Linden Street and find it filled with mysterious paintings, Olive knows the place is creepy--but it isn't until she encounters its three talking cats that she realizes there's something darkly magical afoot. Then Olive finds a pair of antique spectacles in a dusty drawer and discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside the house's spooky paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily sinister. But in entering Elsewhere, Olive has been ensnared in a mystery darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. With only the cats and an unusual boy she meets in Elsewhere on her side, it's up to Olive to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good.
The Maze of Bones by
Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her decendants an impossible decision: "You have a choice - one million dollars or a clue."
Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what's important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.
The Harlem Charade by
Seventh-graders Jin, Alexandra, and Elvin come from very different backgrounds and circumstances, but they all live in Harlem, and when Elvin's grandfather is attacked they band together to find out who is responsible--and the search leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune, and into conflict with an ambitious politician who wants to turn Harlem into an historic amusement park.
Hold Fast by
Where is Early's father? He's not the kind of father who would disappear. But he's gone . . . and he's left a whole lot of trouble behind.
As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn't disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what's happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by
In its triumphant return, the Society encounters all new challenges, but the series' trademark sly humor, sweet camaraderie, hairsbreadth escapes, and mind-bending puzzles are all as engaging as ever. Fans of the series will be thrilled to see the Society has grown up a little with them, while a new generation of readers will fall in love with these irresistible adventures.