Are you interested in great stories that follow complex and eccentric characters from the beginning of a crime to the moment of its solving? Then you are going to love the world of mystery novels. The mystery genre began in the eighteen hundreds and has been going strong ever since, so there are a variety of novels to choose from regardless of whether you prefer the classics or something more modern.
Besides choosing between old mystery novels and new mystery novels, there are plenty of excellent authors to explore within the genre. Even looking solely at the last decade, there have been so many delightful mystery novels that offer something for every type of reader. If you’re looking to expand your reading list, you’re in luck. Here are our picks for the top five best mystery novels for those new to the genre and longtime fans alike.
5. All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny
Louise Penny is well known for her collection of novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, and this sixteenth installment is one of her best works in the series. If you’re new to Penny’s characters, you can find a more detailed introduction at the start of the series with Still Life. However, All the Devils are Here is a standout with nuanced relationships and an intricate plot that transports you to Paris.
4. The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake
Nicholas Blake is the pseudonym of Cecil Day-Lewis, father of famed actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Talent must run in the family, because Blake had a rather illustrious career as a poet and novelist. The Beast Must Die features the character Nigel Strangeways, an amateur investigator who is featured in sixteen of Blake’s novels. However, this book is narrated by the father of a hit-and-run victim who becomes the suspect in the murder of the driver who killed his son.
3. Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders by Kate Griffin
Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders is the first in Kate Griffin’s Kitty Peck series. It introduces us to the title character who works as a lowly 19th century maid in London’s East End. Women are going missing from a particular criminal manor, and Kitty Peck must use her wits to take on the lady of the house to save her friends before it is too late. Intense and evocative, this novel will have you wishing for a life in London’s criminal underworld.
2. The Pew Group by Anthony Oliver
A more comedic option for readers who prefer a farcical mystery, The Pew Group is the first of four mysteries from Anthony Oliver. Starring Lizzie Thomas and John Webber, the novel begins with the death of an antiques dealer which sends the other characters scrambling for possession of a priceless piece of pottery. Quirky and witty, this novel is the perfect choice for readers with a dark sense of humor and an interest in small British town life.
Our top pick
Our number one pick for best mystery novel is Del Rio by Jane Rosenthal. Del Rio centers on the titular town, a once thriving facet of the Central Valley. However, at the time of the novel, Del Rio is a run-down farm town with shabby storefronts that motivate most tourists to just keep driving through. Though Del Rio isn’t what it used to be, it’s still the hometown of District Attorney Callie McCall and the site of her potential political career. Callie’s plans are put on pause when the body of a migrant teen is found dismembered in Del Rio’s citrus groves, launching our main character on the most dangerous investigation of her life.
Jane Rosenthal’s novel transports readers to the Central Valley and calls a fictional location into perfect clarity in our minds. The fast paced mystery novel offers twists and turns that all come together with an intense climax that will leave readers reeling. The California location and strong female protagonist make this book a must read for any fans of the mystery genre.