14 Best Mystery Books of All Time

Best Mystery Books of all time

We wanted to choose the best mystery books ever written and it was not an easy task. We have looked into every mystery novel we have read to give you a list that will keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing until the end.

So, prepare to immerse yourself in the best mystery novels ever written as we reveal our top 14 best mystery books of all time, guaranteed to captivate your imagination and leave you craving for more.

*Best 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.

Best Murder Mystery Books

Still Life by Louise Penny

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2007

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1

Age Range: 13+

This is the first book in the New York Times Best Selling series of Chief Inspector Gamache. I fell in LOVE with the Inspector, the town of Three Pines, a small Canadian village just north of the US, and its residents. Louise Penny CAN WRITE.

The mystery was great (and I didn’t solve it) but what got me the most was Penny’s writing style and reflections on the human psyche. This first Louise Penny book has Chief Inspector Armand Gamache searching a piece of art for clues after its painter, Jane Neal, turns up dead.

This is one of the best detective books I have ever read. You will fall in love with Three Pines and the people who live there. The wonderful community in this series is the best of what cozy books should be. If you love mystery novels and have not read this series, What are you waiting for?

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order / Feel-Good Books / Best Mysteries of all Time /

Where the Crawdads sing

Where the Crawdads Sing Deluxe Edition by Dehlia Owens

September 2018 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

I will admit when I saw the description of this coming-of-age book, I was not sold.  A trusted individual, who has never steered me wrong in the past, gave me an advanced copy so, I took the leap.  And wow, am I glad I did.  I read this book and then recommended it to everyone I knew.  It is one of the best mystery novels I have ever read.

This 70s book has that spark, that special something, that makes it extra. The book begins when a body is found in a North Carolina marsh and is identified as Chase Andrews. The story moves between the past and the present to tell the story of Kya Clark, The Marsh Girl, who is a suspect in the murder.

We have an entire post dedicated to this book and how to host a book club around it which makes it a perfect book for book clubs! If you love this book, check out our list of 13 books like Where the Crawdads Sing.

the Da Vinci code

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon Series #2) by Dan Brown

This is one of the first books about secret societies that I ever read. Dan Brown found a way to incorporate symbolism and brilliant riddles into this modern-day mystery. 

While visiting Paris, Robert Langdon receives a phone call that the curator of the Louvre is dead. The body is covered in strange symbols that lead them on a search for the killer and for answers. This is one of the best murder mystery books I have ever read.

Why We Love It: The plot does not slow for a minute from the first page to the last.  It is the first in the Robert Langdon series and my favorite as well. I love the mystery, the suspense, and the non-stop action in this amazing novel!
Find this Book in Novels About Art / Books About Puzzles

Best Mystery Books

gone girkl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This is a psychological thriller book that almost everyone had heard of when it became a hit movie. It is the perfect example of what happens when a marriage goes terribly wrong. You will be questioning this book from the first page to the last.

On her fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne mysteriously disappears. At the top of the suspect list is her husband Nick who seems perfect to the outside world. But, Nick and Amy are not who they appear to be.

There are so many twists and turns in this book that is the epitome of a domestic thriller and, if you love unreliable narrator books, this one is right up your alley. You may end up hating the characters, but this is one of the most popular thriller books ever written.

Find this book in Domestic Thriller Books / Best Mystery Books / Unreliable Narrator / Popular Thriller Books

big little lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This book is Liane Moriarty at her finest. It’s all about a group of mothers in a community who share some big lies. Their friendships take center stage, but there is a fair amount of family drama as well in this domestic noir. This is one of the most popular thriller books around.

This novel was recently turned into a show on HBO starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and more. This book has a little bit of everything from ex-husbands and scandals. Sometimes little lies are so much more.

Find this book in Books About Motherhood / Domestic Thriller Books / Best Mystery Books /Psychological Thriller Books

The girl with the dragon tattoo

The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander is not technically a detective but she sure is a bada** investigator. She is able to use her unparalleled computer hacking skills to find information on anybody, anywhere.

Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist who has a libel conviction. He is hired to investigate a disappearance from 40 years ago and convinces Lisbeth to help him in his investigation. These two make the most unusual pairing in this list of detective books. If you have not read this book series, they are fantastic.

Why We Love It: This is also one of the best movies based on books. It was done twice: an American version and the original version with subtitles. Both are fantastic. The premise is so unique, I loved it and had no idea what to expect from these unique characters.

Find This Book In: The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books / Detective Books / Best Mystery Books /Serial Killer Books

my sister serial killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Despite the title, this book is more literary fiction than anything else. Korede has to hide the secret that her gorgeous sister, Ayoola, is a serial dater who murders her many boyfriends.

When Ayoola sets her sights on the only man Korede fancies, Korede has to decide where her loyalties lie. More about the emotional bonds of sisters, the murder is just an undercurrent of the story forcing emotions to the surface of this book.

Why I Love It: This is one of the best murder mystery books of all time and is not to be missed. Easily one of the most unique books about sisters and books in general, I’ve ever read. This debut was fabulous.

Find This Book In African Novels / Books About Sisters / Fiction Serial Killer Books

silent patient

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This popular thriller book was Michaelides’s debut novel and sold over 65 million copies for good reason. This psychological thriller sucked me in immediately – a woman murders her husband and then doesn’t say a word for 10 years.

Convinced he can help, a psychologist named Theo transfers to the facility where Alice is staying to try to get the real story behind the fateful night of the murder.

Soon, he will become obsessed with Alice and finding out the truth behind the murders.

Find this book in Unreliable Narrator Books / Best Mystery Books of All Time / Best Psychological Thriller Books

Best Mystery Novels: Classics

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


Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

The OG psychological thriller book, Rebecca is a book set in Cornwall that will leave you checking behind you when you walk down a dark hallway. 

The new Mrs. de Winter is haunted by her husband’s first wife, Rebecca.  The deceit will have you second-guessing everything you read while you yell at the pages.

One of the most acclaimed psychological thriller authors, this novel is Daphne Du Maurier at her best. It is a chilling novel about a naive second wife discovering the truth behind the wife who came before her.

The Netflix book adaptation stars Lily James – and it reignited this popular thriller book’s success. If you have not read this book, it is a perfect book for fall.

Find this book in Best Mystery Novels / Popular Thriller Books / Unreliable Narrator Books / Best Classic Books

Sherlock Holmes

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes’ ability to solve each 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. This complete collection has all the short stories and the 4 Holmes novels.

Why I Love It: I am a HUGE detective story lover and no one does detective stories better than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These books have inspired countless adaptations and retellings since their initial publication.

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

thirteenth tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I adored this gothic story when I read it on vacation a few years back. A young biographer is called to help a reclusive author of 12 books tell the story of her life.

In the process, she learns there is a thirteenth tale after all. It’s a gothic romance, a mystery, and a story about family ties all in one. Although it is a long one from the best mystery books,  I absolutely adore this book for fall. It’s the perfect book to snuggle up with on a chilly autumn day. If you love historical mystery books, this one is a must-read.

Best YA Mystery Books

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.

One of us is lying

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

This YA locked room mystery is one of my favorites on the list. It is the breakfast club meets murder and I am obsessed. The Brain, the Beauty, the Criminal, The Athlete, and the Outcast are all in detention together. Only, Simon, the outcast is dead before he can leave the room.

With everyone holding onto secrets and everyone with a motive, can you figure out who did it? if you are looking for the best mystery books, this YA psychological thriller book is one where you will not guess the ending.

the inheritance games

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I knew I had to read this YA mystery series after it was compared to one of my favorite middle-grade mystery books, The Westing Game.

In this story, Avery, a poor orphan is told she’s just inherited a billionaire’s fortune. His family is determined to get to the money, but Avery has bigger fish to fry – the riddles and puzzles the deceased Tobias Hawthorne left behind for her to solve. As she teams up with unlikely allies, she’s forced to figure out who is a friend or foe.

Why We Love This: I flew through this story and can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy!
Find this Book in Books for 13-year-olds / Best Mystery Books for Teens / Best Puzzle Books

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The Ultimate List of Mystery Books

Love our list of the best mystery books? We’ve got more mysteries carefully divided by sub-genre for anyone who lives a good mystery as much as we do.

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