15 of The Best British Mysteries to Keep You on Your Toes

British mysteries
15 of The Best British Mysteries to Keep You on Your Toes 18

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.

*the best British mystery books Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

The Best British Murder Mysteries

The Guest List

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

June 2020 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

I’ve just read THE thriller of Summer 2020 and it’s soooooo good.⁣ A murder at a wedding. On an isolated island. In the middle of a power outage.⁣ Yaaaaaaaaas. ⁣This is an unputdownable psychological thriller book and a vacation I would NOT want to be on.

The murder sets the scene and then we get the story in flashbacks without knowing who is murdered until the end. ⁣I’ve become very picky about thrillers recently and this one is hands down my favorite of the year so far.⁣ It also made our Best of 2020 list!

Can you guess who the killer is? I can’t wait to see this added to the list of Hulu book adaptations.

Find this book in Locked Room Mysteries / Books Like People We Meet on Vacation / Best British Mysteries / Books Becoming Movies in 2024

Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes

Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes

This British mystery 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 would love to read more of Flowerbutton and her Sloane Ranger friends. The secret societies and prestigious schools make this one of our lighter dark academia books set in college and as historical mysteries go, this is a really fun pick.

The Magpie Murders and more books by Jewish writers

The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

There is a British 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.

Anthony Horowitz is one of the well-known Jewish writers whose British mysteries will keep you guessing until the last page.

Modern British Mysteries

i let you go

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 

This domestic thriller grabbed me, shook me, 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 loved it. 

The book begins with a mother’s worst nightmare. Her son slips out of her grip and into the street where he is struck and killed by a car. This happens almost immediately.  This was important to me so that it would not be too heart-wrenching.  This is one of the best psychological thriller books I have ever read.

Find this book in British Mystery Books / Popular Thriller Books

the girl on the train

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same train every day and peers out the window watching people. She watched two people in particular as they led what appeared to be a perfect life until one day she saw 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 from the beginning until the end. Unreliable narrators like Rachel make the best page-turners! You’ll never know what to believe!

Find this book in Books with Stalkers / Domestic Thrillers / Unreliable Narrators / Psychological Thriller Books

The Windsor Knot

The Windsor Knot by S. J. Bennett

This cozy murder mystery was an absolute treat. I loved the Queen Elizabeth is the investigator in this mystery book (the first in a series) along with her assistant, Rosie.

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

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

I was utterly charmed by this unique murder mystery book! 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

The sweetness at the bottom of the pie

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 one of the best historical mystery books for YA readers and 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 British mystery book on our list of Books for 13-year-olds and in our favorite books by Canadian Authors.

Cuckoos calling

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. Refusing to believe his sister’s death was a suicide, he wants Cormoran to prove she was murdered.  

If I am honest, I would have read this book no matter what because of who wrote it.  However, I kept reading the series because I love it.  The last book was close to 700 pages so, there was no way I was reading that if I wasn’t totally invested in these characters. 

Rowling has a way of starting small, introducing you to characters, and sucking you in.  Cormoran Strike is the exact opposite of Chief Inspector Gamache.  He is flawed and cranky but, you will love him just the same.

Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs  by Jacqueline Winspear

I read this cozy mystery novel in one day. Maisie Dobbs is not your typical PI. For a start, she is a woman working as a PI in 1929. 

Her first case seems like it should be a simple case of infidelity. Instead, it leads her to a murder and back to WWI where she was a nurse. I cannot wait to read more books in this series.

She is smart, thoughtful, and fun to read. Maisie Dobbs is a psychologist and a detective who trained under renowned Maurice Blanche a former member of Scotland Yard. She branches out and decides to start her own business.

Find this book in Detective Books / Historical Mystery Books / British Mystery Books

Historical Fiction British Mystery Books

beekeepersapprentice

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 historical mystery book series, as does my dad who is a mystery reader exclusively.

When an American Senator’s daughter is kidnapped, Holmes and his protege are called to help Scotland Yard with the case. This is one of my favorite detective books and my favorite Sherlock Holmes retelling!

Mr. Churchills Secretary

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 mystery series are tough cookies who don’t need a man’s protection. I adored Maggie Hope who is whipsmart and at the center of this female spy series. I’m only a few books into this British mystery series but I love each one.

Death Comes to Pemberley

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 British mysteries, this historical mystery book is perfect for you!

Classic British Murder Mysteries

and then there were none

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I was so hooked by this British 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? You have to figure out whodunit in this unreliable narrator book.

Find this book in Unreliable Narrator Book / Best Classic Novels / Historical Mystery Books / Agatha Christie Books in Order / Best Mystery Books / Locked Room Mysteries

Sherlock Holmes

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection 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. If you are looking for the best mystery books of all time, Sherlock Holmes cannot be missed.

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.)

Find this book in Sherlock Holmes Books / Literary Classics / Best Mystery Books / British Mysteries

Love Mysteries? You’ll probably love this swag too!

Did you find something on our list of British mysteries? Which do you think are the best British mystery books?

Novel Ideas 68

The Ultimate List of Mystery Books

Love Mysteries? We created this list and carefully divided it by sub-genre for anyone who lives a good mystery as much as we do.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One Comment