5 ‘Whodunit’ Books That’ll Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat

Put on something comfortable, grab a drink of your choice and get ready to solve some great murders alongside your favorite characters.

It seems that most great murder mysteries happen in small towns, right next to a big city but far enough to have a captivating appeal only the suburbs can possess. However, in real life, very few small towns have murders occurring every now and then… at least ones you know of. And while that may be a great selling point for potential homeowners, i.e., the fact that there are no serial killers on the loose, for the aspiring detectives out there it can be a huge turnoff. But what if you can still solve a mystery, uncover truths, and find the killer all from the comfort of your boring neighborhood? You see, that’s the power of books; they can transport you across time and space. And that’s exactly what this list of novels will do. But as you enter their different universes, be sure to keep your guard up and trust no one. 



Gone Girl (2012)

The only acceptable reason you might not have heard about Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel turned extremely successful movie is that you’ve been living under a rock. What else could possibly be your excuse for missing the book that changed the way whodunit mysteries are written? On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne decides to escape his marriage by heading to the bar he owns. And isn’t it convenient that as his wife Amy disappears from home, he has a valid alibi, seen by customers serving, or more accurately, drowning drinks. Add to that Amy’s diary that recounts the horror and fear experienced when married to an ‘alpha man’ with a short temper, Nick is finding it more and more difficult to prove his innocence. But if Nick is as innocent as he claims, then where did Amy go? Who took her? Gone Girl is a dark psychological thriller that’ll keep you up at night, mind spinning as you discover how very little you know about these characters and exactly what they’re capable of.



The Silent Patient (2019)

One difference this book has from the others on this list is that readers do know who did it. However, perhaps finding the answer to the question ‘why?’ is more important than the ‘who’. Why would a talented and successful famous painter shoot her equally successful fashion photographer husband in their grand home with views people would kill for? Why would she shoot him five times instead of only once? And why has she refused to speak one word since it happened? Those are the questions criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is trying to answer… but in doing so, will his search for truth devour him? Be prepared to get some sleepless nights as you’ll certainly find it impossible to put this novel down. And when you’re done, maybe you’ll find out that in some cases, the truth truly can be haunting.



Murder on the Orient Express (1934)

There is no way I could have created a list of great whodunit mysteries without including the queen of murder mysteries, Agatha Christie. Enclosed in a luxurious train, an unusual group of people is brought together under the worst circumstances possible. A passenger, one American mogul, was found dead in his cabin, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Now, stuck surrounded by endless snow with nowhere to run or hide, those aboard have no choice but to try and expose the killer amongst them… before they are next. Luckily, they all have comfort in the fact that one of the passengers, esteemed detective Hercule Poirot, will solve this mystery before the day ends… well, all but the killer, of course. There is a reason this classic is adored by thousands, so I suggest you hurry up and get to it. Murders and murderers, just like trains, wait for no one.  



A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (2019)

While this book can be categorized as a Young Adult novel, Holly Jackson manages to bring to life a murder mystery readers of all ages can definitely enjoy. Five years ago, Andie Bell was murdered by fellow classmate Sal Singh. That is a fact… or is it? After spending five years surrounded by nothing but a town consumed by the murder, high school senior Pippa is convinced that something’s just not right. Deciding to find answers to her questions, she centers her final school project around the murder and starts working towards what she believes to be the truth. But what if someone in town desperately wants certain secrets to stay hidden? And what could the killer (if they’re still out there) hate more than noisy people? Noisy students who want an excellent grade and will stop at nothing to prove that they are right. Perhaps some doors are better closed, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t undo what’s been done. 



Where the Crawdads Sing (2018)

Last but not least comes a novel from Delia Owens that puts its own twist on the mystery genre. When a small fishing town’s golden boy is found dead, all heads turn to Kya Clark, better known as ‘Marsh girl’. Shunned from society at a young age, Kya used nature as her classroom, learning timeless lessons from the creatures surrounding her. Consequently, she grew to find the company of animals much more pleasant than that of humans. However, no one wants to spend eternity alone. So, Kya decided to open herself up to a world she’s only observed from afar. But is the desire to fit in worth the cost? Where the Crawdads Sing is a gripping mystery, but it’s also so much more. While set in the 1960s, readers can still relate to the novel’s world today. After dominating all booklover communities worldwide for the past three years, I highly suggest you read this book before its movie adaptation comes out.


Photo: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock


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