If you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more

Top 10 Best Mystery Books in 2021

A list of the top 10 mystery novels for fans of the genre. From crime thrillers to psychological mind-benders; we will take you through the fine details of each novel.

Reasons to look for a good mystery book

Mystery novels are arguably one of the popular genres in the reading space. Not often do we pick up a novel which is perfect from start to finish and managed to exceed all our expectations with twists and turns along the way. We have made a list of the top Mystery Novels for you and reviewed them to cater to your likes or disliked. Our list helps you to judge the book before reading them; saving you the time and money of picking up a random book and conducting your own side research. So without further ado; here are the Top 10 Mystery novels that we have picked for you to choose from.

Best overall

The Silent Patient mystery book

The Silent Patient mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The Silent Patient is a thriller/mystery novel; written by Alex Michaelides. A plot that will release a roller coaster of emotions; The Silent Patient is full of dark and exciting moments. It is a compelling read and slowly gives you clues and answers throughout the course of the novel; conveyed in a very easy to read language. The readers will be able to connect with their protagonist, Alicia Beresons, who helps drive the story forward as her character slowly opens up. This novel is not for the weak hearted; and will make you feel anger and empathy, so get ready for something different.

Best book series

All the Devils Are Here mystery book

All the Devils Are Here mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

All the Devils are here is the latest novel by the best-selling Author; Louise Penny. It follows the story of chief inspector Armand Gamache who is investigating a sinister crime in the city of light. This novel takes a deep dive into human nature and psychology; exploring themes of good and evil. The author manages to take readers into a deeper understanding of the soul and different concepts that keep you thinking. By adding specific details of French history mixed with character exploration, especially through the eyes of our main protagonist; this novel will keep you excited till the end.

Best for young adults

Big Little Lies mystery book

Big Little Lies mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Big little lies is an intriguing mystery-drama novel, written by Liane Moriarty. It follows the story of three women whose lives are connected by a murder. The story has gained a lot of popularity thanks to the HBO series; but may not live up to the same quality as the novel. The novel is entertaining from the get go and features elements of humour, drama and mystery throughout. It is more than a normal murder mystery; diving dep into the character’s morality and choices. A simple story that has been narrated in an exciting way; this novel makes for a must read for fans of drama, intrigue and mystery.

Best for teens

One of Us Is Lying mystery book

One of Us Is Lying mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

One of us is lying is an intriguing murder mystery best-selling novel written by Karen McManus. The plot focuses on four teens who are suspects in the death of their classmate in high school. The events are unpredictable and some of the moments can be quite shocking and brutal; making for a very exciting read. We get to hear the plot fold from the perspective of each of the four characters; which gives readers bits and pieces of information in a unique way; without making the read to expository. This is a must read for fans of the murder mystery genre; since it will exceed all your expectations.

Best for seniors

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mystery book

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a psychological thriller written by Stieg Larsson. It quickly became an international best seller that delves deep into the ugly side of human nature. The novel will keep you hooked from page one despite beginning rather slowly; consisting of a brilliantly written story that us nervously trying to anticipate the surprising events of the final act. The story takes a deep look into its characters and their psychology behind their actions; making for an edgy, dark and thrilling read that gets better as the novel progresses.

Best for middle schoolers

The Woman in the Window mystery book

The Woman in the Window mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The woman in the window is a pretty dark and bleak novel; which also happens to be the Author, A. J. Finn’s first ever published work. An engaging story which keeps getting better with all the twists and turns; featuring the main character, Anna Fox who spends her time staring out of her window. The author likes to play around with our perception of what is real and what isn’t; making for a very unorthodox storytelling method. Make sure to read this novel if you are into the psychological thriller niche; since it is going to leave you puzzled by the end of it.

Best criminal mystery book

Sharp Objects mystery book

Sharp Objects mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

Sharp Objects is a mystery novel; written by Gillian Flynn in her first outing as an Author. It follows the story of Camille Preaker who is a journalist who reports on a series of murders in her home town. Set as a crime thriller; the novel leaves the readers uncertain till the very end; beautifully culminating to its final act where the identity of the killer is finally revealed. It features a very addicting plot that shines to light by the brilliant narration of characters and settings; making for a very exciting and thrilling read.

Best for tweens

The Dry mystery book

The Dry mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The Dry is the first novel written by June Harper; which is a mystery story that develops into a nail-biting thriller by the end of it. It looks at the world of crime and takes us on a wonderful circle; that has a poetic and satisfying ending. Bases as a mystery within a mystery; the story unravels in the forms of flashbacks and great back and forth between the mysterious characters. The community of Kiewarra will shed light into a different ensemble of suspicious characters; whose true motives will be unknown till the very end. If you are a fan of crime thrillers; make sure to check this one out.

Best for adults

The Thursday Murder Club mystery book

The Thursday Murder Club mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The debut novel of Author Richard Osman; The Thursday Murder Club is a book filled with quirky characters and an engaging and unpredictable premise. The novel is equal parts intrigue, humour and chaos. The characters are all part of a club which likes to solve murder cases; each of them having lost a loved one at some point of their lives. Surprisingly; the novel centres around elderly characters; but their beautiful characterization and well-written personalities don’t make you feel bored at the slightest. This is the perfect read for those who love humour and intrigue combined into one.

Best unpredictability

The Searcher mystery book

The Searcher mystery book

  • Entertainment:
  • Story:
  • Writing:
  • Characters:
Read our full review here

The Searcher is a thrilling and dark novel which has been written by Tana French. Despite seeming like the story has been dragging on for a bit; it is a very entertaining read and allows the reader to feel immersed with the story as a whole. At the centre of the story is Cal Hooper; a retired Police detective who moves to Ireland only to find out that another mysterious case looms around this neck of the woods. The novel is intriguing and will make for an exciting read and keep you guessing till the very end.

What’s important when choosing a good mystery book

The mystery genre is arguably amongst the most popular in the entire space. If you have been reading since a kid; the first few novels you have enjoyed were probably in the mystery genre; from The Fast five series to Nancy Drew. Fans of this genre can often be very picky and selective with the particular mystery niche they want to enjoy reading. We try to help out the readers by providing a wide list of mystery genres and books that would provide plenty of options to choose from. To give you an extra taste of what the book will feature; we have picked four main criteria’s to judge the books on.

The first criteria is the story of the book. Arguably, one of the most important parts; fans love a great story, but opinions and preferences may be different from person to person. Maybe some readers would enjoy a simple murder mystery set in an isolated suburban town; others may prefer a book full of twists and turns, some even may prefer psychological thrillers where the crux of the story comes from the emotions of the character. To help you out; we have given an in-depth review of all the details you would be looking for.

The next criteria is the entertainment factor. When you’re picking time out of your hectic work schedule or your busy day to day life; you are surely looking to be entertained. So, for some entertainment might come in the form of an ensemble of vast characters with eccentric backstories; or some may prefer a fast paced novel where things move at a scintillating pace. The entertainment criteria allows you to identify what exactly is going to be the driving force of the story; making your reading experience all the more relaxing and enjoyable.

Next, we have the writing. The writing and the author; both are something that avid readers look for. Some may only want to read a novel written by a particular author, whereas some may be more adventurous and may want to explore the mystery genre through the words of all the various authors. The writing is also important, as it allows you to identify the kind of language you want in a book. Do you prefer a simple writing tone, where the tone is easy to understand and follow; or maybe you prefer a far more encrypted version; where clues are given one by one and the readers are supposed to make their own interpretations. Our review breaks the writing down in detail; so do make sure to read the entire review.

Finally, no story is as good as its characters. We want our characters to be active in the story; either searching for clues or being put through miserable hurdles or actively moving the story forward. Some stories only have the characters as a method to move on to the next plot; whereas others have the characters as the central them to how the story progresses. From fun and relatable characters to narcissists and anti-heroes; the choices are endless. Make sure, you know what kind of characters the story comprises of before you choose the right novel to enjoy.

FAQ

What are some of the best Mystery Novels?

Some of the best Mystery novels and books of all time include the likes of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. Other popular reads from this century include the likes of ‘The girl on the train’, ‘The woman in the Window’ and ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’.

Who is the best-selling Mystery Author?

Agatha Christie is considered as the greatest mystery writer of all time. She has written 66 detective novels and 14 short stories in her tenure; selling over 2 billion copies in total worldwide. Another legendary author in the mystery genre is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; popular for the world-renowned novel; Sherlock Holmes. Both these authors have inspired many films and Tv series out of their novels; such as Murder on the Orient Express which came out in 2017 and the various Sherlock Holmes spin-offs such as ‘Sherlock’; the hit British television show starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character.

Which Mystery Novels have the most unexpected twists ?

Novels such as ‘The Girl on the Train’ and ‘The Silent Patient’ are popular for their unpredictable storyline and twist endings which have left many readers satisfied.

Final verdict

With the summaries of each of our above listed novels; we hope to have provided you with some clarity that could ease your decision making process. You can always check out the full review of each of the titles on ‘OwlRatings’ for an in-depth description of what to expect from these fascinating mystery novels.

OwlRatings free newsletter

Free access to breaking news, new top 10 lists, popular reviews and advice.

Absolutely no spam. Unsubscribe any time!