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 and 2024
I finished this multi-genre book in one day. I simply couldn’t stop listening (the narrator is tops!). It was a fast-paced ride the entire time – from the hurricane to the family secrets, to the death, it was a shock and surprise around each corner.
Jai is forced to head to her sister’s family home with her son due to Hurricane Harvey. As she hunkers down with her sister Seema, her brother-in-law, his mother, and his brother and sister-in-law, family secrets come out in the most dangerous ways.
From potential affairs to the shocking reason Jai is divorcing her husband, it was a never-ending thrill ride. Add in the tensions between the sisters, Jai’s relationship struggles with her preteen son, and the brother’s drama and you’ve got one hell of a story.
Why we Love it: I love that the author was inspired to write a thriller that starred an Indian family like her own, and that her family and their experience during Hurricane Harvey was the inspiration for this story. #Gifted by PRH Audio
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!
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
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 is perfect for anyone who loves locked room mysteries or isolation novels.
June 2020 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
I’ve just read THE thriller
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.
Best Locked Room Mysteries: The Classics
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.
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.
More Locked Room Mysteries
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.
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 book wasn’t as creepy as some of Ware’s others, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat. This book has an unreliable narrator which also makes a perfect psychological thriller. You just might want to wait until you are off a boat to read this one! If you love thriller novels, this book is a must-read.
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.
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 that takes place the day before New Year’s Eve! It is a favorite from our New Year’s books
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.
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.
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
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.
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 the ones in this stalker book were completely unexpected!
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.
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 isolation novel. 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.
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Which are your favorite locked room mysteries?
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.