15 British Mysteries That Will Keep You on Your Toes
British mysteries are some of our favorite books to read. These books will keep you guessing until the very last page. Oddly enough, I only discovered my love of this genre within the past few years. My mother is a HUGE mystery reader and could always guess the ending of any mystery.
Now that I have fallen in love with this genre, British mysteries are my favorite. I often judge how good a mystery is by whether or not I can guess the ending. I am still not as good as my mom, but I strive to catch up one day.
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British Murder Mysteries
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
June 2020 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
Real talk. I’ve just read THE thriller
Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes
This book takes place at Oxford University in the 1980s when a socialite is murdered. Ursula Flowerbutton, an English country girl, is trying to investigate the murder for the college paper while trying to befriend the glamorous crowd.
It’s a comedic spoof and the outfit descriptions alone had me giggling. I hope it becomes a series of mystery books because I am totally in to read more of Flowerbutton and her Sloane Ranger friends. The secret societies and prestigious school make this one of our lighter dark academia books.
The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
There is a murder mystery within a murder mystery in this well-written and thoughtful book.
In this book you are uncovering the murder of a mystery author while also reading his book. Are they interconnected?The idea is truly unique and so well executed. I just loved it.
Modern British Mysteries
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
This book grabbed me, shook me around a bit and then gently put me down. I was given a ride and wasn’t sure what hit me. This book had a few things that I was not expecting and I absolutely loved it.
I should say that “the incident” is almost immediate. This was important to me so that it would not be heart-wrenching. I loved it.
Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel takes the same train every day and peers out the window watching people. She watched 2 people in particular as they lead what appears to be a perfect life until one day she sees something terrible while watching them.
She reports it to the police but, can they trust a dysfunctional alcoholic? This is a domestic thriller story that will have you questioning who is telling the truth. Unreliable narrators like Rachel make the best page-turners! You never know what to believe.
The Windsor Knot by S. J. Bennett
This cozy murder mystery was an absolute treat. I loved
Together they figure out who was behind the murder at Windsor Castle during one of the Queen’s Dine-and-Stays. This pick from books about Queen Elizabeth II is perfect for fans of Maggie Hope, Maise Dobbs, and the Royal Family.
The Appeal by Janice Hallett
I was utterly charmed by this unique murder mystery! The premise is great – a detective duo has been given a stack of correspondence (text and emails) and asked to read through and determine who was murdered, why, and who was wrongly accused.
Of course we readers get to come along for the ride – reading their post-it notes or texts to each other as they try to solve the mystery. I was desperately trying to solve it along with them but I was stumped!
The ending was truly shocking and the many twists and turns had me flying through the story. I read part of it and listened to part. Both formats make for a wonderful experience! This is one I’ll be recommending this pick from the ultimate list of mystery books for years to come!
British Mystery Series
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
This is the first book in the Flavia De Luce series. This 11-year-old aspiring chemist is a wonderful heroine. I love her- she is smart and precocious. This is a great mystery book that does not have violence.
It is 1950 and Flavia has a love of poisons. When she finds a man taking his last breath in a cucumber patch, she is not scared at all, rather, she delights in solving the mystery. The rest of this detective series is on my list of books to read. We also included this mystery book as a great mystery on our Book Lists for 13-Year-Olds and in our favorite books by Canadian Authors.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Cormoran Strike is a private investigator on the verge of failure when a client walks through the door with an amazing story.
He is the brother of the recently deceased Lulu Landry, a famous supermodel.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
I read this cozy mystery in one day. Maisie Dobbs is not your typical PI. For a start, she is a woman working as a PI in 1929. She is smart, thoughtful, and fun to read. I was looking for a great mystery series and this hit just the right spot. I cannot wait to read more books in the series.
British Mysteries: Historical Fiction
The BeeKeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
This one is for all the Sherlock fans out there. It takes place after the classic canon ends with the introduction of the retired Holmes and his new neighbor – Mary Russell. I adore this series, as does my dad who is a mystery reader exclusively.
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The thing I love about Susan Elia MacNeal is that she doesn’t make the females in her series meek. She puts them center stage in the middle of the war; solving mysteries, spying, fighting, and the like.
The women in this historical fiction series are tough cookies who don’t need a man’s protection. I adored the whipsmart Maggie Hope who is at the center of this female spy series. I’m only a few books in but I love each one.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
This story takes place a few years after Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy get married. While the Darcys are preparing for a ball, Lydia comes hurtling up the drive claiming that Wickham has been murdered.
Soon the whole family, along with the Bingleys, are plunged into the investigation and its aftermath. If you love Austen and mysteries, this is the book for you!
Classic British Mysteries
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I was so hooked by this murder mystery/thriller. A mysterious person is trying to right the wrongs of the past by luring unsuspecting criminals to a deserted island…and then murdering them one by one.
But who is the killer? Why are they killing? And just how long have they been stalking their prey?
The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I am a HUGE detective story lover and no one does detective stories better than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes’ ability to solve the crime is fascinating. His observations are astute and I can never, ever guess who committed the crime. Again, love all the various adaptions of this series, but Sherlock on the BBC is my absolute favorite. (Narrated by Stephen Fry – the British narrator of the Harry Potter series and Mycroft Holmes in one of the adaptations.)