Best Mystery Fiction Books of All Time
Reading mystery books is a great way to lose yourself. Whether it’s following in the footsteps of a mad killer or desperately trying to bring the truth to light, the characters in mystery novels manage to live out fantastic scenarios while connecting with us on a personal level. These are just five of the best mystery fiction books of all time.
Catching A Miracle by Mark J. Spinicelli
– After surviving a cancer diagnosis in her childhood years, Shelly White devotes herself to finding a cure for the terrible disease she has seen kill so many. As an adult, she learns that an elderly man may have found the answer. In trying to locate him Shelly finds herself the target of wealthy politicians and pharmaceutical companies who can’t afford to let a cure to the worst of humanity’s ills be known. Can she stay alive to find the mysterious man, or will she have to go into hiding herself? Can her desire to do the right thing overcome greed? Catching A Miracle is part one of a trilogy that manages to be repeatable, inspiring, and exciting all at once.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
– Let’s run through the checklist. Weirdo millionaire? Check. Private island? Check. Group of strangers with shady pasts? Check? Systematic murder? Oh yeah. As the island’s guest are picked off one by one, the secrets they tried to hide so desperately in life come to light, but none seem to point in the direction of the killer. Many of the tropes that have gone on to define the genre didn’t start with this book, but Christie’s expert craftsmanship and panache for character building make it stand hand and shoulders above the rest.
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
– Cain’s novel was scandalous when it was first published in the 1930s, offering sex and crime in vivid detail to readers who simply weren’t ready for it (or were too timid to admit that they were). A man who lives life with no direction comes to town for a job, only to get caught up in an affair with a married woman, with tragic consequences. Many authors have tried their hand at the same premise themselves, but no one captures the futility and fatalism of the original.
Inter Ice Age 4 by Kobo Abe
– Professor Katsumi and his team are tasked with the creation of a machine that can predict human behavior and, eventually, the future. Katsumi’s team are forbidden from using the machine to make predictions that could be seen as political in nature. He chooses instead to pick a random citizen, stalk him, and use the machine to predict his future, only for someone to murder the stranger the night Katsumi watches him. As was common in his work, Abe layered seemingly unrelated events in a way to bring about deeply troubling revelations about human nature.
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
– A housewife Oedipa Maas discovers a dead former lover named her the executor of her estate. A simple set of stamps thrusts her into what might be a centuries-old conspiracy. After discovering the symbol of a muted post horn in strange place, she finds herself part of different disconnected worlds at the peak of the 60s already confusing counter culture. Is there something for her to uncover, or has paranoia simply driven her insane? The book doesn’t provide answers, at least not overtly, but is rife with clues and symbols for those who love to sleuth.