10 Suspenseful Novels Set in Hotels, Motels, and Inns
Ah, vacation. You work so hard, you certainly deserve one, and you can’t wait for it to start. But then there are complications: the airline loses your luggage, you forgot to pack your swimsuit, the people in the room next to yours turn the TV volume up in the middle of the night, etc. Let’s face it, vacations never go exactly as we plan them. But luckily, they’re nothing like the stories in these 10 suspenseful mystery novels set in hotels, motels, and inns!
Hotels and motels and inns are great settings for mystery suspense novels, because there are so many strangers, who may not be who they claim to be, and so many places for a killer to hide! Imagine checking into a hotel to start your vacation, only to discover someone had been murdered in the room you now occupy? Or hear a scream in the night and awaken to find someone was murdered down the hall? And now you and all the other guests—and the murderer!—are trapped in the building together without a working phone because of a record snowstorm? In these books, the thrills are chilling, and the chills are thrilling. Get cozy in the comfort of your own home and check out these 10 great suspense books.
Let's start off with one of the most famous novels set in a hotel! Author Jack Torrance thinks his new job as the off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for his family to spend time together, and for Jack to get some writing done. But the enormous building isn't entirely empty—there are sinister entities hiding behind every door. And while his son Danny seems to have developed a gift for seeing them, they will have a terrible effect on Jack.
Related: The Five Highest-Rated Stephen King Books According to Goodreads
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The Sun down Motel
Simone St. James
Set in two time periods, this is one of the best recent mystery books about a hotel. In upstate New York in 1982, night desk clerk Viv Delaney is terrified of what is going on at the Sun Down Motel. And in 1997, Carly Kirk searches for answers to what happened to her Aunt Viv, who disappeared from the Sun Down Motel before Carly was born. But Carly doesn't realize yet that she might not want to really know the answer…
And here's another classic novel of suspense, set at a motel, which was made into one of the most famous movies of all time. Mary Crane is on the run after impulsively stealing $40,000 from the real estate company where she works to help pay off her boyfriend's debts. But if there's such a thing as karma, Mary's found it: after getting lost, she checks into the Bates Motel, owned by the shy Norman and his mother. But she's not going to check out.
A Rule Against Murder
Everyone's favorite Canadian Chief Inspector is off on his honeymoon in the fourth book of Louise Penny's astounding mystery series. But murder follows Armand Gamache everywhere he goes, and soon, there's a body found in the luxury inn where Gamache and his new wife are vacationing. Even more mysterious, the search for the killer will lead him back home.
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The new state of the art Manderley Resort is destined to become the premiere vacation spot in California. But someone doesn't want it to succeed. Before the doors open to guests, someone has sabotaged the locks and started to murder all the employees in the building. Who is watching it all happen from the security room, and how can they be stopped?
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In the second book of Anthony Horowitz's much-lauded Magpie Murders series, retired publisher Susan Ryeland is now running a small hotel on a Greek island with Andreas, her boyfriend. But Susan seems to have traded one stressful career for another, and she's not sure she wants to keep doing it. But then her new guests tell a tale of murder and wrongful conviction, one Susan's late client wrote about, and now she might have a case to solve—especially when a guest goes missing!
Murder on a Mystery Tour
And here is a charming suspense novel by an Agatha Award–winning author about murder in a country mansion. Reggie and his wife, Midge, are experiencing financial difficulties, so they turn their family mansion into an English country inn. Murder mystery events are great ways to get guests, but when a dinner party turns deadly, and the guests all get snowed in, Reggie and Midge have a real case to solve.
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The Hotel Neversink
Adam O'Fallon Price
Hotels with haunting histories make for great novels! This is about—you guessed it—The Hotel Neversink, which is discussed over three generations of the Sikorsky family, and involves a missing boy, a crumbling legacy, and a renewed interest in solving the case and catching a killer.
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And this is an utterly delightful, suspenseful tale of a band trip turned sour. Hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival. Little do they know, it was the sight of a murder-suicide 15 years earlier. And when a record blizzard traps everyone in the hotel—including someone who was there that fateful night 15 years ago—the past is coming back to haunt them.
An Unwanted Guest
And let's finish it off with another fun "trapped with a murderer because of a blizzard" tale! Mitchell's Inn is famous as a romantic weekend getaway spot in the Catskills. When a blizzard cuts off the electricity, it seems like a great time to snuggle with the one you love by a cozy fireplace. But then a guest dies. And another. Who is the killer and who will be left at the end of the weekend when help is due to arrive?
Related: Winter Wonderland: Murder in the Darkest Days of the Year