We love a good puzzle and nothing spells a crime to solve more like a murder mystery. Calling all fans of shows like How to Get Away with Murder and films like Knives Out and Death on the Nile: take a break from the screen to crack open one of these eight murder mystery novels for a similar suspenseful emotional rollercoaster ride.
In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective’s next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning-crowds sported black armbands in grief-and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.
Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had “murdered” Holmes in “The Final Problem,” he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found…. Or has it?
When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he’s about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold-using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories—who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.
At Trevor Vaughn’s destination wedding in Miami, five best friends each have a reason to want him dead. The groom learned all five of their darkest, most dangerous secrets and blackmailed them into convincing Fiona, his bride-to-be, to say “I do.” Now the charade is set to continue all the way to the altar. Trevor has his own reasons for marrying into Fiona’s family, and will do anything to make his dreams a reality. When he dies from an allergic reaction at the wedding, surrounded by enemies, the probability that it was murder is high. As authorities investigate, it looks like anyone could be a suspect.
When disgraced, Black reality TV star Desiree Pierce’s body is found in the Bronx on a playground the morning after her 25th birthday, everyone is quick to call it an overdose. Everyone except her half-sister, Lena Scott, but no one is listening to her. Despite the two not having spoken in two years, Lena is determined to uncover the truth, even if it means ending up dead herself.
It’s 1973. Three astronauts are in a tiny spaceship on a final, top-secret mission to the moon. Flight controller Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis knows there’s a darker objective: a secret Soviet space station is spying on America, and this mission might be the only chance to stop it. As they try to stay ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that everyone is not who they are thought to be, and with high political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the astronauts are left with only themselves to survive.
Libby, Hitchcock Sewell’s former flame, has returned to town with her two children. She left her husband in Annapolis, but can’t find her nanny, Sophie. As soon as Hitch starts investigating, Sophie turns up dead in the Severn River, and she was pregnant. While the police suspect suicide, Hitch sides with her mother who believes it was murder.
Ex-Marine-turned-PI Pepper Keane finds himself attracted to Jane Smythe, a math professor specializing in fractal geometry. Having learned about the deaths of three professors with her same specialization, she hires Pepper to find the killer. With the help of his hacker best friend and his guru brother, Pepper continues to dig - and the main suspect becomes an FBI agent who is also Pepper’s worst enemy.
Thomas De Quincey, a writer infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, becomes a major suspect in a ferocious series of mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years ago. One of his essays, On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, seems to be a blueprint for the killings. Now, with the help of his daughter Emily and a pair of Scotland Yard detectives, Thomas must become a sleuth, himself, to clear his name.
Maureen O’Donnell wakes up to find her boyfriend murdered in the middle of her living room, with herself the prime suspect. She traces rumors about a similar murder at a local psychiatric hospital, uncovering a trail of deception and scandal that could either exonerate her or make her the next victim.
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Emily Hoang is a writer and editor who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.