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25 Mysteries to Die For

That The Name of the Rose makes this list makes it all the more important to me. I’m not a big mystery reader, so help me with these: which ones do you recommend?

1. Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer (1978)
2. A Coat of Varnish by C.P. Snow (1979)
3. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1983)
4. A Dime to Dance By by Walter Walker (1983)
5. Always a Body to Trade by K.C. Constantine (1983)
6. Hindsight by Peter Dickinson (1983)
7. Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley (1984)
8. A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman (1988)
9. Time’s Witness by Michael Malone (1989)
10. Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George (1990)
11. The Bootlegger’s Daughter by Margaret Maron (1992)
12. Original Sin by P.D. James (1994)
13. Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell (1994)
14. The Daughters of Cain by Colin Dexter (1994)
15. Coyote Wind by Peter Bowen (1994)
16. The Dark Room by Minette Walters (1996)
17. Going Local by Jamie Harrison (1996)
18. Aqua Alta by Donna Leon (1996)
19. Beat Not the Bones by Charlotte Jay (1996)
20. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosely (1997)
21. Blind Date by Francis Fyfield (1998)
22. In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson (1999)
23. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (1999)
24. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (2001)
25. Waking Raphael by Leslie Forbes (2004)

“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”
― Oscar Wilde

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle

9 Responses

  1. I’m a hug mystery fan and I think it’s sad that this list seems to leave off anything written before the 70s. There is such a wealth of material out there to read written way before this list seems to recognize. All of my favorites are well of this list. I’m curious to see who put it together.

  2. I agree with Ryan. this list totally doesn’t have any of my favorite mysteries, and i too am a huge mystery reader. All the same, I’ll take on each book in this list one by one and see if I like any. Thank you for the list.
    and Matthew, please do visit and follow my new website 🙂

  3. Mystic River, also an extremely good film with Sean Penn

  4. I am an insane mystery reader. Before I started blogging that is almost all that I read. And I’ve not read one of these on the list. I’m not sure what that says! That I am an idiot and reading the wrong things, or the person that made this list needs to get out more. I will say that I love the Elizabeth George series, which has been around forever.

  5. I’m unfamiliar with any of the aforementioned titles, except the film adaptation of ‘Mystic River.’ Nevertheless, I recommend anything by Agatha Christie, Doyle and Ian Rankin. Peter Ackroyd’s books were recommended to me but I haven’t read any of them yet. I’d also like to read ‘The Name of the Rose.’

  6. I think you would love The Name of the Rose. It’s a very literary mystery, even set in a library.

  7. Interesting list–but then these lists always are pretty idiosyncratic. I’ve read all but the most recent of Elizabeth George’s books–her earlier work is better than her most recent, though I still keep reading her. Donna Leon is great, as is PD James. Frances Fyfield and Peter James are two writers who I want to read. This list seems to have a more literary slant to it–but it looks like lots of good books to explore!

  8. On this list I have only read The Name of the Rose and what a GREAT book it is. I quite liked the movie too.

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