• Sara

Recommended Reading: Mystery

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe released the short story "The Murders at the Rue Morgue" - thus the modern detective story was born.



The mystery/thriller/crime genre is one of the most popular genres in the United States - and why shouldn't it be? Who doesn't love a good mystery? Half the fun of mystery novels is trying to figure out "Whodunit?" before the fictional detective. It's also an incredibly diverse category of fiction. There are political, legal, and psychological thrillers, historical mysteries, cozy mysteries, classic mysteries, British crime thrillers . . . basically, there's something for everyone when it comes to mysteries. I could spend hours talking about books and series that fall within this genre, but for today I'm going to highlight the first books in three of my favorite mystery/thriller series', all of which fall into different sub-categories.


First up is a truly creepy set of tales from the delightfully twisted mind of Jana Deleon. The Shaye Archer series takes place in New Orleans - always a good choice for a creepy setting. Shaye Archer was found beaten in an alley when she was 15, with no memory of what happened to her or where she came from. Fast forward nine years, and she's a licensed private detective with a goal - getting answers for her clients at all costs. The first book in the series, "Malevolent," finds Shaye freshly moved into her own apartment and ready to tackle her first big case - that of Emma Frederick who is being stalked and tormented by someone who also has a goal - seeing Emma dead. This book will keep you up well past your bedtime as you follow Shaye to the resolution, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Now in it's seventh book, this series has gotten even more thrilling and wicked with age. If heart-pounding suspense thrillers are your thing, look no further - you've found a gem in Jana Deleon's Shaye Archer series.


Next up, we have something on the lighter side. Classified as a cozy mystery series, this one comes to us from the mind of Carol J. Perry. The Witch City Mysteries take place in Salem, Massachusetts - another good and creepy setting for a mystery series! This series stars Lee Barrett, her delightful Aunt Ibby, and their cat-who-may-be-a-witch's-familiar, O'Ryan. The first book, "Caught Dead Handed," has Lee moving back to her hometown of Salem to interview for a job as a field reporter at WICH-TV. She ends up instead with the role of call-in psychic for the station's late horror movie show after the previous host, Ariel Constellation, ends up dead. Lee, Ibby, and O'Ryan set out to reveal Ariel's killer - with the help of detective, Pete Mondello - before Lee herself becomes a victim. This book has all the markings of a good cozy - suspense, humor, and a dash of romance. There's also a bit of a supernatural aspect, which adds to the fun. The Witch City Mysteries have become one of my all-time favorite cozy mystery series, with book eight being released just a few weeks ago.


Last but definitely not least, we're going old school classic with Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series. The first book, " The Mysterious Affair at Styles," introduces us to the intrepid Detective Poirot as he sets out to solve one of the greatest locked room mysteries ever. There is no shortage of suspects, but who actually poisoned wealthy Emily Inglethorpe? How did the killer get into and out of her locked bedroom? Read this book to find out! No one is better at clues and red herrings than Dame Agatha, and I guarantee you won't regret spending time with any of her books! With over 60 novels and short stories starring the dashing Poirot, you will have endless hours of reading enjoyment brought to you by the world's grande dame of mystery fiction. (This post was written by Sara Sherman, Adult Services.)


Check back for further recommendations in this and other genres. You can also send an email to infolibrary@cityofcaldwell.org. We love to hear from readers and chat about our mutual love of books, so please don't hesistate to reach out!

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