15 Thrilling Locked Room Mysteries to Die For

Locked room mysteries and Locked room thriller books
15 Thrilling Locked Room Mysteries to Die For 19

Locked room mysteries are some of the most popular mysteries because as a reader, you not only have to figure out who did it, but how? These mysteries have had a resurgence in the last few years and we can see why.

What is a locked room mystery? There are two types of locked room mysteries.
the first is when someone is found murdered behind a locked door. With no apparent way for anyone to get in or out, this seems like an impossible crime. The second is when someone is found murdered in a location where nobody is able to enter or exit after the crime has been committed. The perfect example of this is Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

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Best Locked Room Mysteries of 2023

the last party

The Last Party (DS Morgan #1) by Clare Mackintosh

This is by far the best mystery I have read in a long time. One party, one body, and everyone had a reason for wanting him dead. This is a brilliant well thought-out, locked room mystery that reminds me of Agatha Christie or the movie Clue- because everyone had motive and opportunity.

The answer is brilliant and kept me guessing until the last page- and I was still left with my mouth agape!!! This is a must-read from our list of mystery books and a great pick from our list of summer reads 2023!

Death comes to marlow

Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood

This is the second book in the Marlow Murder Club series. We are back with Judith, Becks, and Susie. If you have not read the first book, do not worry, you can read this locked room mystery novel and love it.

When Judith gets a call from Sir Peter Bailey inviting her to his house for a pre-wedding celebration, she cannot say now. She is even more interested in why he would invite her. When Sir Bailey is found dead in a locked room crushed by a cabinet, it seems like a horrible accident or suicide. However, busy-body, skinny-dipping, crossword puzzle author, Judith is not so sure. #gifted

Celebrity Book Club Locked Room Mysteries

The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

February 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

Oh boy, was this a creepy haunted house book! I wish I had chosen to read it during the wintertime instead of the summer because seeing snow while reading it would have made it that much creepier.

With dead bodies piling up, and a blizzard keeping the guests of the fancy sanatorium-turned-hotel stuck inside, will Elin be able to solve the mystery before she becomes a victim herself? This is such a great blizzard book for mystery book lovers and perfect for anyone who loves locked room mysteries.

The Guest List

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

June 2020 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

Real talk. 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 thriller that is perfect for a list of books like People We Meet on Vacation.

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! If locked room mysteries are your thing, this is perfect for you as well.

Can you guess who is the killer in this pick from our list of the best British mystery books?

Best Locked Room Mysteries: The Classics

Murder on the Orient

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This is a classic and a must-read on our list of detective books.  It’s one of those books that unless you know the ending, you would never guess it.  So well-devised, this book is a definite favorite and it all takes place on a train in the middle of a snowy tundra.

Will you be able to guess who the murderer is in this locked room mystery before the famed Hercules Poirot? This is one of my favorite adaptations of the Hercule Poirot books.

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 that is one of the best mystery books of all time. This is one of the historical mystery books you will not want to miss.

More Locked Room Mysteries

Daisy Darker

Daisy Darker: A Novel by Alice Feeney

Daisy’s family is gathering for Nan’s birthday on a tiny, private, tidal island after not seeing each other for years. When the tide comes in, they will be cut off from everybody for 8 hours.

When Nana’s body is found dead with a creepy poem written on the wall beside her, they each begin to suspect each other- after all, one of them is a murderer. Soon, everybody’s secrets start to come out as the members of the family die one at a time.

This pick from isolation books had me guessing until the very end and definitely has the feeling of “And Then There Were None”. In the true Alice Feeney style, I had no idea what was going to happen next so, I stopped trying to guess so I could just enjoy the thrill of the ride. You will love this pick from the Ultimate List of Beach Reads 2023. It is a locked room mystery at its finest. If you are looking for books for fall to snuggle up with, this one will not disappoint.

the woman in cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Shortly after being burglarized, a travel journalist boards a small luxury cruise liner to cover its inaugural voyage. When she thinks she sees a passenger thrown overboard – but everyone is still accounted for – she has to decide if what she saw was real or only in her head.

This isolation book wasn’t as creepy as some of Ware’s others, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat. This unreliable narrator book is a perfect sailing novel as well. You just might want to wait until you are off the boat! If you love thriller novels, this books is a must-read.

7 12 Deaths

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This is one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. It is so smart and so well written- the complexity of the plot line is mind-boggling and kept me absolutely entranced until the very last page.    

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered every day at 11:00 PM. In order to escape Blackheath, Aiden Bishop must solve her murder. He will wake up every day for 8 days inhabiting a different host body. 

Everything is explained and in hindsight is so clear but, will keep you guessing throughout the entire book. This is a locked room mystery but with a twist, and a delightful one at that.

Anxious People  and more of the best books of 2020

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is a master storyteller and he does it again with this book. ⁣He somehow manages to tackle difficult subjects without trivializing them but still allowing them to be humorous. ⁣This is a locked room mystery that is unlike any other.

This book is a story of a bank robbery gone very wrong and the idiots in the story (his word, not mine) who are taken hostage after the failed robbery. ⁣It is also a story about compassion, human relationships, and the daily struggles that we all have. ⁣

I love how Fredrik Backman’s books show the good in people despite the flaws that make them human. Backman is such a talented writer and is able to vary his style to best tell the story. I loved this book! The themes that Backman weaves throughout all his books of love, friendship, and compassion make all his books perfect for a list of books like A Man Called Ove. It is also a perfect book for book clubs.

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 pick is one where you will not guess the ending.

in a dark dark wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Leonora is invited to a cabin in the woods for a girl’s weekend getaway.  What should be a fun bachelorette (hen) weekend turns into anything but. 

Nora hasn’t seen her friend for over 10 years when she receives the invitation to celebrate her upcoming marriage. Maybe she should have stayed home….just saying. As the memories and pieces of the weekend slowly come back, the tale of what really happened in the woods comes together. This locked room mystery is classic Ruth Ware!

Best Locked Room Thrillers

The Only one left

The Only One Left: A Novel by Riley Sager

Is there a chance that a new Riley Sager would not appear on a list of new-release books? I don’t think so. If you have been following us for a while you know we love Riley Sager enough to create The Best Riley Sager Books Ranked by Super Fans!

In this new mystery thriller book, Kit McDeere has taken a position as a home health aid for Lenora Hope who was accused of murdering her whole family years before. With no evidence, Lenora was never convicted and has lived in her home without leaving all this time. Lenora can only move her one finger and communicates with a typewriter.

Kit feels like there may be more to the story than anyone knows and wants to leave the crumbling mansion, but she has nowhere else to go. This is a perfect thriller book for fall.

Rock Paper Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

This newest book by Alice Feeney is another great read.  Her books always have me turning the pages.  This hotel novel starts with Adam and Amelia Wright headed to a weekend away in a remote Scottish getaway to save their marriage. It turns into one of the locked room thrillers you will not be able to put down.

Told from the point of view of both Adam and Amelia, it is clear that one weekend away may not be enough.  Each year of their marriage, Adam and his wife exchange traditional wedding gifts and she writes him a letter that she will not let him read.  

When reading a domestic noir you expect twists and turns because that is part of the fun. While I expected a few, some of them were completely unexpected!  

The Writing Retreat

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Alex has almost given up her dream of being a writer when she is invited to a month-long writing retreat by a famous horror writer. When she arrives, she is told that she must, along with the other attendees, write an entire novel during the retreat and the best novel will win a huge publishing deal.

Soon, Alex is having trouble differentiating between her book and reality. To make things even worse, her ex-best friend is among the 5 invitees and now she does not know who to trust. I know this book had mixed reviews, but I love this horror thriller book that is also a book about writers. It is certainly a scary pick from this list of locked room thrillers.

The Club

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

March 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

This contemporary fiction book was a WILD ride and I loved every exhilarating twist and turn! The Home Club is clearly based on members-only celebrity clubs like SoHo House but the newest Home Club is opening on a private island and features an opening weekend to die for.

Literally, because it’s a murder mystery. Except we the readers don’t know who is murdered, how, or why at the beginning…but instead we are treated to various narrators telling the points of view of the weekend as it unfolds.

The layered approach to telling the story of the celebrity shenanigans and the murder of a key figure in the Home Group family had me flipping through the pages of this book. A truly enjoyable beach read!

What Are Locked Room Mysteries?

Locked room mysteries are a type of mystery that refers to the crime scene.
There are two types of locked room mysteries.
1. Someone is found murdered behind a locked door. With no apparent way for anyone to get in or out, this seems like an impossible crime.
2. Someone is found murdered in a location where nobody is able to enter or exit after the crime has been committed. The perfect example of this is Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

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

Which are your favorite locked room mysteries?

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.

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