Everyone loves a good mystery novel. Whodunnit? The suspense is killing me. Sitting in a cozy chair by the fireplace reading about clues and suspects is one of life's greatest joys. So, pour a caramel coffee or a glass of Merlot and get ready for our countdown of the best murder mystery novels of all time.
1 - And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. The ultimate murder mystery where guests at an isolated mansion on an island begin to be killed off one by one.
2 - The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes is invited to a country manor where a murder, or possibly suicide, occurs. The detective's skills will be put to the test. Due to its publication year of 1914, the language is dated but the story holds.
3 - March Violets by Philip Kerr. Set in Berlin during WWII, private detective Bernie Gunther investigates the murder of a wealthy man's daughter and finds clues to a lot more. Excellent read.
4 - The Maltese Falcon by Dashielle Hammet. A Sam Spade mystery that was also made into an effective movie. A classic that needs no introduction.
5 - The Good Guy by Dean Koontz. There's no horror in this one despite Dean's reputation. A straight-up suspense thriller. A man is mistaken for a hitman and is give the photo of a woman to kill. He knows he needs to warn her and maybe even try to save her. As he investigates the reasons someone wants her dead, he gets pulled deeper into the case. A good read.
6 - Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. The grand dame of murder mysteries could easily dominate this this, but we restricted her entries to two. This is the famous Hercule Poirot case where the killer is ... well, we didn't see that one coming.
7 - The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. Private Eye Philip Marlowe is hired to deal with a blackmail artist putting pressure on a wealthy family.
8 - The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. When a writer goes missing, P.I. Strike is called in to solve the case. Someone doesn't want his latest novel published Nicely written.
9 - The Black Echo by Michael Connolly. Part of a series of Harry Bosch (detective) novels. More of a crime thriller than a whodunnit, but worth the read.
10 - The Devil to Pay by Ellery Queen (pen name for Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee). A whodunnit set in LA. with plenty of twists. Also check out Queen's Cat of Many Tales: A mad strangler is loose in New York City. Queen collects the suspects and sifts through the clues to a surprising conclusion.
Also check out:
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly. NYC cop Charlie Parker investigates a murder with a supernatural flare. Perfect for those who don't mind a few ghosts in their crime thrillers.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The first true "novelized non-fiction" book of its kind. Based on the true story of a killing in Kansas, this one is poignant and bloody. Fun fact: Truman Capote appeared in the movie "Murder by Death" which was a parody of And Then There Were None (our top choice).
There you have it, murder suspects all lined up and ready for questioning. Enjoy reading or re-reading a few on this list.