X Murder Mystery Books To Read If You Loved Knives Out

10 Murder Mystery Books To Read If You Loved ‘Knives Out’

1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The murderer is with us—on the train now…

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.

Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.”

2. The Secret Place by Tana French

“A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption: ‘I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.’ Stephen joins with Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case—beneath the watchful eye of Holly’s father, fellow detective Frank Mackey. With the clues leading back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends, to their rival clique, and to the tangle of relationships that bound them all to the murdered boy, the private underworld of teenage girls turns out to be more mysterious and more dangerous than the detectives imagined.”

3. The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

“It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. ‘I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.'”

4. The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

“In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…”

5. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

“The bride. The plus one. The best man. The wedding planner. The bridesmaid. The body.

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”

6. Death Overdue by Mary Lou Kirwin

“Ropes, revolvers, daggers, arsenic. . . . They are the classic, go-to murder weapons, from Christie to Clue. But death by bookcase? With one good shove, a crafty killer can keep investigators guessing: did it fall or was it pushed? That’s what sassy Midwestern librarian Karen Nash must determine—and if so, who did the pushing—when an avalanche of books and splintered wood fatally flattens Sally Burroughs, the ex-girlfriend of Karen’s squeeze, London B&B proprietor Caldwell Perkins, who appears the most likely suspect for murder. In the library. With the bookcase.

And maybe he has grounds? Just as he and his librarian love are making a go of opening their dream bookstore (that’s bookshop, in British English), Sally pops up years after abandoning him, to demand her share of the B&B’s sale. To Karen’s orderly mind, sorting her jumbled feelings about uprooting her life in Minnesota and taking a chance on Caldwell is much like sorting his four-thousand-three-hundred-and-twenty-four precious volumes: everything has its place. A little research reveals that more than one person may have had Sally issues, and Karen must prove that Caldwell is obsessed with books, not revenge. But will her hunt for a killer turn up too little, too late?”

7. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

“Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family.

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history.

But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.”

8. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

“‘Ten . . .’

Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious ‘U. N. Owen.’

‘Nine . . .’

At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.

‘Eight . . .’

Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die.

‘Seven . . .’

Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?”

9. Little Deaths by Emma Flint

“It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone–a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress–wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy’s body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.

As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth’s life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth’s little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman–and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children’s lives.

Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete’s interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there’s something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance–or is there something more sinister at play?”

10. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

“Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.” TC mark

About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, dreamer, and occasional exotic dancer and a collective pen name. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.

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