With the success of books like Gone Girl and Girl Last Seen, thrillers have really hit their high mark in popularity over the past few years. Mysteries, however, are beginning to make a comeback with some of the best titles to hit the genre in over a decade. Following are five of my favorites from this year, a little something for every mystery lover’s TBR list.
A modern take on a classic Christie formula. Lucy Foley’s stunner has everything a good murder mystery should: a secluded Irish island, a destination wedding, a cast brimming with personality and petty grievances, and, of course, a dead body. A crafty 21st century update to the sort of mystery that made Dame Agatha a household name.
Humor can be so cultural: what plays well in the U.K. may fall flat here in the States. If you love British wit, however, give The Thursday Murder Club a try. A parody of the classic English cozy mystery, it is dry, snarky and brutally funny. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but Richard Osman gives the 65+ crowd a chance to shine.
A clever mystery with a healthy dose of Hollywood noir thriller, Elizabeth Little’s Pretty as a Picture is a perfect example of how to do “meta” and keep it interesting. Another remote island, a film about a notorious local murder, a cracking team of amateur sleuths and focus that shifts from era to era make this a fantastic read that never loses its momentum.
Another twisty mystery that juxtaposes crimes of the past with danger in the present, The Sun Down Motel follows Carly Kirk‘s search for answers to her aunt’s disappearance more than 30 years ago. Simply put, there is something very, very not-quite-right at the roadside Sun Down Motel. It hasn’t been right for a long time, and Carly needs some answers.
Soon after a young couple moves from Chicago to small town Maine, a vicious murder unhinges the coastal community. Even though the locals immediately suspect her of complicity in the death, Sadie Foust is drawn to the mystery, one that she fears only she can solve. Mary Kubica crafts a gripping tale that I actually read twice.
So what were some of your favorite mystery reads of the past year? Drop me a line and let me know!
Love a good murder? Be sure to take a stab at Thou Shalt Not Kilt, a traditional Southern cozy with Scottish flavor. For my latest news and book updates, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and sign up for Mondays Are Murder, my weekly mystery newsletter — plus, you’ll get a free downloadable copy of Masters of Murder, my guide to the detectives and authors of mystery’s Golden Age!