When the summer heat begins to fade and the leaves start to fall from the trees, it’s the perfect time to stay in and curl up with a book. While I’m partial to murder mysteries in any season, they’re at their best in autumn. With the season of Halloween comes a chill in the air, scary movies, and a penchant for all things spooky. Here are a few of my current favorite mystery novels to keep you turning pages all fall long.
1. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
When discussing mystery novels, it’s only fitting to being with the queen herself. Agatha Christie has written dozens of books and is known as the best-selling author of all time. One of her mostly highly acclaimed and my personal favorite is And Then There Were None. The book tells the story of a group of strangers invited to a remote island by an enigmatic host. After they arrive, guests begin turning up dead, one by one. While it was written in 1939, And Then There Were None is a timeless mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last page.
2. The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware
Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 recounts the tale of a journalist who witnesses a murder while aboard a small luxury cruise ship. The plot is Chrsitie-esque in that you have a crime committed in a situation with a limited number of suspects. However, the main character’s struggle with anxiety, coupled with ominous flash forwards, give the book a psychological angle. This mystery is highly entertaining and full of twists and turns.
3. Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone tells the story of a teenage girl’s disappearance, jumping between the past, present, and perspectives of different characters. Rather than trying to surprise the reader with shocking plot twists, this book opts to focus more on the development of the main character, the mother of the missing girl, while piecing the story together. Nonetheless, this mystery is a quick page turner to keep you occupied on a cool afternoon.
4. The Good Daughter, by Karin Slaughter
This book doesn’t really fit into one category. It’s part murder mystery, part family drama, and part social commentary. (It’s also coincidentally the only book on the list not written by a British author.) Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter follows the Quinn family’s fight to uphold justice in a small Georgia town. The story weaves together their personal struggles and tragedies while unfolding a supposedly solved murder. It’s a well-crafted and surprising tale that will stick with you after you’ve turned the final page.
5. Cormoran Strike series, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The books, published under J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym Robert Galbraith, focus on the adventures of crime-solving duo Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. My personal favorite is the first book, followed closely by the most recent, which was just released last week. Given that these stories come from the mind of the woman who gave us Harry Potter, you know they’re going to be good. They strike (ha!) the perfect balance of page-turning plot twists and compelling characters. The Cormoran Strike series includes The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014), Career of Evil (2015), and Lethal White (2018).
Happy reading! Cheers!