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A complete guide to the best crime books ever published

All handpicked by The Weekly…

If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing better than treating yourself to a good crime book.

Snuggled up under a blanket, a cup of warm tea beside you and a thrilling murder to solve… That’s seriously heaven to me.

However, I’ve read many a crime book where I’ve gotten to the conclusion and been incredibly disappointed. I feel like if a murder mystery isn’t solved satisfactorily, I’ve wasted my time reading it.

If this has happened to you and you’re looking for a crime book that is worth your time, here are the best crime books I’ve come across so far.

The best crime books:

best crime books

01

Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

In Greenlight, investigative journalist Jack Quick has been working on a true-crime documentary that intends to persuade viewers that Curtis Wade was wrongly convicted of murdering a young woman.

However, before the final episode airs, Jack finds evidence that suggests Curtis might’ve done it after all. Not wanting to ruin his documentary series, Jack keeps quiet, and months later, Curtis is released after a retrial.

But then a new victim is found in a murder scene that looks almost identical to the original… Jack, plagued by guilt, decides to set things right by solving both murders himself. Greenlight had me on the edge of my seat right until the very last page; the plot is incredibly gripping and has underlying themes of media influence, morality and ethics cleverly woven through it.

If you love a good crime book, seriously, I can’t recommend Greenlight enough.

Available at:

best crime books

02

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If you’ve somehow not seen the film adaptation of this book, please do yourself a favour and read the book first. My god, what a wonderfully delicious twist; my jaw dropped to the floor when I got to that bit… If you know, you know.

If you have seen the film, you should still read Gone Girl as, while it’s a great adaptation, there are so many nuances surrounding the central mystery that only a book can convey. I really don’t want to give too much away about Gone Girl as it’s best to go in blind – but trust me, it’s well worth your time.

Available at:

best crime books

03

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

I decided to read The Thursday Murder Club because when I read the blurb, it reminded me of one of my favourite television shows: Only Murders in the Building. And it’s just as charming and captivating as the Steve Martin-led series.

The book follows four friends who live in the same retirement village and get together once a week to try and solve cold case murders. But when a dead body turns up in the village, the Thursday Murder Club tries their hand at solving a live case…

If you like Only Murders in the Building, you’ll love this book; it’s full of hilarious British wit and all of the main characters are rather lovable. I’ve now devoured all four books in The Thursday Murder Club series and it’s one of my all-time favourite book series.

Just one note though: The Thursday Murder Club is not a whodunit that you can solve yourself (unless you’re a next level detective), so if that’s the kind of crime book you enjoy, just be aware of that before going in or maybe give it a miss.

Available at:

best crime books

04

Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Okay, I know I listed another Benjamin Stevenson novel above, but he’s just such a talented writer! Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone has a very different tone to Greenlight though; this book is funny and lighthearted (despite being a crime novel) whereas the latter is more sombre.

The book follows Ernest ‘Ernie’ Cunningham as he and family go on a skiing trip to celebrate one of his brothers getting released from prison. And when a murder occurs and a snowstorm traps everyone at the retreat, Ernie attempts to solve the crime… It’s just hard considering literally every single person in his family has killed someone before.

Ultimately, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone is a fantastic twist on the closed circle mystery genre, complete with a clever meta reference to Ronald Knox’s 10 Commandments of Detective Fiction. I guarantee this book will be considered a classic in a few decades’ time.

Available at:

best crime books

04

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Reese Witherspoon’s book club turned me onto The Guest List and not only did I thoroughly enjoy it, I didn’t see the ending coming.

The book revolves around the wedding of ‘it’ couple, magazine editor Jules Keegan and television personality Will Slater. The night of their wedding, a dead body is found by a waitress but then we flashback to find out all the events that led to the suspected murder.

The Guest List is told from multiple perspectives, and you’ll be second-guessing yourself throughout trying to figure out which character dies and, more importantly, which character is a killer…

Available at:

best crime books

05

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where The Crawdads Sing follows Kya, the young woman the people of small fishing village Barkley Clove have nicknamed the “Marsh Girl”. She earnt this cruel moniker by growing up in severe poverty and isolation.

Furthermore, when Chase Andrews, the town’s golden boy, is murdered, everyone unfairly suspects Kya.

Delia Owens has a wonderful way with descriptive words, you’ll feel like you’re in Barkley Clove and its marsh. Plus, the murder mystery at the centre of the coming of age tale will keep you hooked too.

Available at:

06

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of mystery and detective fiction. She also created the iconic characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, whose names are still known today despite being created in 1916 and 1927 respectively.

Murder on the Orient Express is one of the better known Agatha Christie books – but I’d argue that’s because it really, truly is a good read.

First published in 1934, this book is the 10th of Agatha’s to feature Detective Poirot. If you haven’t read any other Agatha Christie books though, that’s totally fine! The Murder on the Orient Express – which is definitely one of the best closed circle mystery books ever written – works as a standalone.

It follows Detective Poirot as he travels from the Middle East to London on the Orient Express. However, when the train is stopped by heavy snowfall and a dead body is discovered, he must figure out which passenger is the murderer.

Available at:

07

Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers

Cain’s Jawbone is more of a puzzle than a book; it contains 100 pages of a narrative deliberately arranged in the wrong order. To solve this puzzle, you must determine the correct order of the pages and then figure out the names of the murderers and the victims within the story.

Cain’s Jawbone was first published in 1934 and right up until 2022, only four people had ever correctly solved it – the solution has never been made public and you have to send the publishers your solution to see if you got it right.

However, after a TikToker trying to solve the puzzle went viral in the last year or so (which is how I discovered this delightfully frustrating book), hundreds have correctly solved it. A warning: this book is not for the faint-hearted; it’ll seriously challenge you.

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08

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The first book of the Millennium series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a must-read for crime lovers. It follows Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who’s facing jail time after losing a libel case, and Lisbeth Salander, an insanely intelligent hacker, as they investigate the disappearance of a wealthy industrialist’s niece, which occurred forty years earlier on a remote Swedish island.

I will say be prepared for a slow start; it’s setting the scene for when all the twists and turns ramp up about half way through – it’s totally worth it so push through! If I had to sum up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in one word, I’d use ‘clever’. It has a very logical whodunit at its core but also subtly critiques the way many men and society itself treat women in this day and age.

Available at:

09

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

I know Rebecca is a classic. I also know my name is Rebecca. And yet, I didn’t read this book until I heard a rumour that Taylor Swift’s Tolerate It was inspired by it. And boy, oh boy, do I wish I’d read it sooner – it’s fantastically suspenseful.

The book is narrated by a young woman who never properly introduces herself. We just know she’s married to the wealthy widower Max de Winter. And as the new Mrs de Winter navigates married life and her new home – the sprawling estate Manderley – she realises Max’s dead wife Rebecca met her untimely end under mysterious circumstances…

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