A book list by Onset & Rime.
It’s spooky season, so for our first official book list, we’re sharing our top murder mystery picks (in no particular order).
There’s something here for everyone, even if you don’t like being scared! Take a peek and let us know if there’s any you think we missed.
A Note: Content warnings have been given for each book. Highlight the "invisible" text beside the content warning label to see. Content warnings are not value statements about the books or judgements about the inclusion of any particular content. They are there to give you a heads up on what to be prepared for so you can choose if and/or when a book is right for you ❤️
A suspenseful, modern “locked room mystery”. Guests gather on a small island off the coast of Ireland for the most extravagant wedding of the year, but festivities are ruined as old resentments rise and someone turns up dead.
Content warning: Self-harm, suicide, sexual assault
2) THE CUTTING SEASON by Attica Locke
A murdered migrant worker is found on the grounds of Belle Vie, a sugar cane plantation turned tourist site in Louisiana. When the police focus their attention on one person of interest, Belle Vie’s manager, Caren, thinks they’re heading in the wrong direction. What will she risk to find the truth?
Content warning: Racism, slavery
3) THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman
Four retirees meet every Thursday to try to solve old case files; it’s a great way to keep your brain sharp! But when a murder happens at their doorstep, they find themselves entangled in their first active case, and the bodies keep coming…
Content warning: Suicide, dementia
A darkly atmospheric murder mystery by one of the best-selling authors of all time. Ten strangers are invited to an isolated island by an unknown and absent host. Each of them has a secret, and each of them has been marked for murder. As guests fall prey, one by one, those who remain need to decide who to trust and who to fear, or they’ll be the next to die.
Content warning: Racism, anti-Semitism
5) MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie
It is just past midnight as the filled-to-capacity Orient Express crosses Europe. A snowdrift forces the train to a standstill. The following morning a passenger is found stabbed to death inside his locked compartment. Stranded and isolated, famed detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer before they strike again.
Content warning: Reference to a crime against a child, xenophobia
A detailed and grimy look at New York City in 1896. Reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the scene of a gruesome murder by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. With minimal evidence available, Kreizler and Moore form a small group dedicated to finding the killer through the burgeoning field of psychological profiling.
Content warning: Graphic descriptions of gore/violence, crimes/violence against children, exploitation of children, rape
7) THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco
A challenging, immersive mystery set in an Italian monastery in 1327. Brother William of Baskerville arrives at the monastery to investigate suspected heresy but is instead faced with the mystery of several suspicious deaths.
Content warning: Ableism, homophobia, suicide
8) THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE by Stuart Turton
Welcome to Blackheath, where the only way out is to solve the murder. Aiden Bishop has 8 days to solve it. There are two problems. He’s reliving the same day, eight times. And every day he wakes up in the body of a different person.
Content warning: Suicide, references to sexual assault
9) SIN EATER by Megan Campisi
An atypical murder mystery set in an alternate version of 16th Century England. An ostracized and subjugated orphan girl must navigate a tangle of intrigue, lies, and deception to solve a deadly royal conspiracy.
Content warning: Torture, sexual assault, infanticide, anti-Semitism
10) LOCK IN by John Scalzi
After a virus sweeps across the world (too real?) 1% of the victims are left fully awake but unable to move or respond to stimulus. These people can still navigate the world by interfacing with personal robots, as does FBI Agent Chris Shane. On Agent Shane’s first day on the job, a murder occurs that has implications for all of those who are “locked in”.
Content warning: Ableism, suicide
11) ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus
What if the Breakfast Club was a murder-mystery? Five students walk into detention, but only four are alive when detention ends. Simon is dead, but who killed him?
Content warning: Ableism regarding mental illness, suicide
12) A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER by Holly Jackson
Five years ago, Sal Singh murdered Andie Bell. The police know this, everyone knows this, but Pippa Fitz-Amobbi isn’t so sure. Pippa decides to re-investigate the case for her final year project. The more she digs, the more secrets she uncovers, and the more apparent it is that someone wants her to stop digging…
Content warning: Rape, suicide
13) THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin
A twisting, turning book written for middle grade kids, but fun for all ages! Sixteen people are gathered together for the reading of millionaire Samuel W. Westing’s will. It is revealed that Westing was murdered, and one of the sixteen is the culprit. Whoever solves the mystery will inherit the estate. Try to follow the clues and solve the mystery for yourself!
Content warning: Racism, ableism, anti-Semitism