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Best Detective Books

Uncover the finest detective novels with this list, gathered from mystery and crime fiction critics, and ranked by how regularly they appear in top-recommended lists.

Recommendations from 24 articles, Anderson Cooper, Stephen King, Ben Shapiro and 24 others.
68 books on the list
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The Big Sleep book cover
The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler - 1988-07-12 (first published in 1939)
Goodreads Rating
A master of the 'hard-boiled' detective novel, Raymond Chandler introduced readers to Philip Marlowe, a streetwise and heroic private eye, in his first novel, The Big Sleep. With his articulate and literary writing style, Chandler won over a wide audience, from the everyday person to the intellectual elite. Selected as one of Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Novels, this book will keep you on your toes from the very first sentence.
Recommended by
Adam Sessler
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book cover
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson - 2008-09-23 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Discover a thrilling murder mystery that combines family saga, love story, and financial intrigue in one complex yet atmospheric novel. Follow journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the enigmatic hacker Lisbeth Salander as they delve deep into a dark world of corruption to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of a wealthy family scion over 40 years ago. Don't miss out on this satisfyingly entertaining read.
Recommended by
Imani Gandy
In the Woods book cover
In the Woods
A Novel
Tana French - 2008-05-27 (first published in 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and psychological suspense combine to make this debut novel a must-read. Set in Dublin, the story begins with the disappearance of three children in the woods, and only one is found alive. Fast forward twenty years and the detective on the case, who was the found boy, is investigating a murder in the same woods that bears striking similarities to the past case. With his own murky past resurfacing, the detective must piece together long-buried memories to solve both mysteries. A beautifully written and chilling thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.
Murder on the Orient Express book cover
Murder on the Orient Express
A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
Agatha Christie - 2007-06-04 (first published in 1934)
Goodreads Rating
This classic mystery novel follows detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder on the luxurious and snowbound Orient Express. With a locked compartment and a dozen stab wounds, Poirot must solve the case before the killer strikes again.
Gone Girl book cover
Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn - 2014-04-22 (first published in 2012)
Goodreads Rating
A thrilling exploration of a marriage gone wrong from one of the most acclaimed suspense writers of our time. When the clever and beautiful wife of a small-town golden boy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, the pressure mounts as rumors fly and suspicions rise. With razor-sharp writing and intricate plot twists, this dark psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
The Hound of the Baskervilles book cover
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle - 2001-07-01 (first published in 1901)
Goodreads Rating
Enter the eerie moors of Devon where a supernatural creature haunts the Baskerville family. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly, Dr. Mortimer believes it to be the work of a vicious hound with blazing eyes and jaws. To protect Charles' heir, Sir Henry, from the same fate, Sherlock Holmes is called upon to investigate the Baskerville curse, a legacy of death and mayhem that has plagued the family for centuries. Will Holmes be able to uncover the truth before it's too late?
The Maltese Falcon book cover
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett - 2005-03-01 (first published in 1930)
Goodreads Rating
Private investigator Sam Spade takes on a case to find a missing woman, but soon discovers that his client is not who she seems. When Spade's partner is murdered, he becomes both the hunter and the hunted in the search for a valuable and deadly treasure. Will he be able to outsmart those who want him dead?
And Then There Were None book cover
And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie - 2004-05-03 (first published in 1939)
Goodreads Rating
An island mansion off the Devon coast is the setting for a thrilling mystery. Ten strangers, lured by a mysterious host, soon find themselves accused of having guilty secrets. As they are stranded by a violent storm, they begin to die off one by one. Who is the killer, and will anyone survive?
Bluebird, Bluebird book cover
Bluebird, Bluebird
Attica Locke - 2017-09-12
Goodreads Rating
A black Texas Ranger faces his own conflicted feelings about growing up in East Texas when he must return home to solve two murders that stir up racial tension in a small town. As his job is put in jeopardy and he risks his life to save himself, he must navigate the town's deep-rooted racial divides before it's too late.
In Cold Blood book cover
In Cold Blood
Truman Capote - 1994-02-01 (first published in 1959)
Goodreads Rating
This gripping nonfiction book explores the brutal murder of a Kansas family and the subsequent investigation, trial, and execution of the killers. With meticulous detail and astounding empathy, Truman Capote reconstructs the events and personalities surrounding the crime, including the truly chilling young killers. In Cold Blood is a masterful example of literary journalism that will leave readers breathless.
Still Life by Louise Penny
Killing Floor by Lee Child
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Dorothy Leigh Sayers - Whose Body? by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Cover Her Face by P. D. James
The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
The Bat by Jo Nesbo
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen by Tess Gerritsen
IQ by Joe Ide
The Daughter of Time, Book Cover May Vary by Josephine Tey
The City & The City by China Miéville
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
The Dry by Jane Harper
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George
Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
A Study In Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
The Conjure-Man Dies by Rudolph Fisher, Stanley Ellin
The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler
The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham