Murder Mystery fans are a dime a dozen in the fiction realm. And every murder mystery fan worth their salt would have come across Agatha Christie at some point, if not diehard fans of her books. Agatha Christie was one of the greatest crime fiction authors of the last century, and her fame has continued to rise in the present century too. My crime fiction introduction was through the books of the ‘Queen of Crime’ herself, and ever since I picked up a well-thumbed copy of a Hercule Poirot book from the library, I have been hooked.
Best Books To Read If You Like Agatha Christie!
It would not be an exaggeration to state that crime and murder mystery genres make up most of the books I read. Having finished reading every book Christie has ever written, I needed more books of a similar vein to satisfy my bloodlust (only related to books and not to be associated with real life); therefore, I have created a book recommendation list that will enthuse other Christie fans, like myself. Read through this article to add books that have a “Christie-like” aura to your reading list.
1. The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo (Translator: Brian Karetnyk)
Seishi Yokomizo was one of Japan’s greatest mystery authors. He is most famous for introducing the fictional detective Kosuke Kindaichi in his novels. Kindaichi has appeared in 76 novels throughout the author’s career. Pushkin Vertigo has published the English translations of the books, and to date, five translated books are available. The Village of Eight Graves is one of the books translated for English readers. This book is set in a rural Japanese village named Eight Graves.
The village got its macabre name due to a horrific massacre that happened a few centuries ago. Due to the massacre, the village has an eerie reputation, and people still believe a curse is hanging over the entire village. Into this morbid mess, our hero, Tatsuya, arrives. He has been invited to the house of one of the wealthiest families in the village, saying that he has an inheritance to claim. Upon his arrival, the centuries-old curse seemingly activates, and people start to die in mysterious ways.
The villagers are quick to turn their suspicions onto the newcomer. Tatsuya now has to figure out the reason behind these mysterious deaths or perish at the hands of the vengeance-seeking villagers. It is now up to Detective Kosuke Kindaichi to figure out if these deaths are caused by the curse from long ago or by someone with malicious intent from the present day. You can get the book here! 📖
2. The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (Translator: Ho Ling Wang)
Yukito Ayatsuji is one of the best mystery and horror writers from Japan. He has been instrumental in improving the traditional movement in Japanese mystery writing. The Decagon House Murders is one of his best-selling novels and has been featured in many Top Japanese Mystery lists over the years. The novel’s plot is influenced by the best-selling Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None. Both books have a private island that is cut off primarily from civilization as the murder location, with mysterious murders committed by seemingly no one.
In this novel, seven university students who are a part of their university’s mystery club decide to spend their holidays in a decagon-shaped house on a private island. The reason behind this decision is that the owner of the island and his wife were found murdered half a year ago, and the perpetrator was unable to be found. The students want to put their detective skills to use and try their hand at unraveling the crime.
But they soon find themselves getting killed one after the other and suspect that someone amongst them might be the killer. Who is the killer? Is it someone from their circle or someone who has managed to evade their notice? Will they find the killer before they all end up dead? This thrilling recreation of one of Christie’s most outstanding works is everything it touts to be and a terrific ode to the master writer herself. You can get the book here! 📖
3. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Imagine if Agatha Christie’s detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, met each other while residing in a retirement village and decided to start a club to solve cold cases with a couple of new friends; that is what this book feels like. It is refreshing to read a murder mystery set near a retirement village with retired septuagenarians doing field work as the central detectives.
This is a very wholesome and cozy book if you ignore that slightly squicky part of murder or murders being committed. One would not have thought that the residents of a retirement village would have any hand in crime-solving. Still, the residents of the luxurious retirement village Cooper’s Chase are anything but ordinary. Having had thrilling careers during their high-flying days, they find it hard to adapt to the idyllic pace of their retired life.
Four members join together to create a Thursday Murder Club wherein they try to solve decades-old cases using their skills. Seemingly, as if to rid them of their monotony, a live murder case almost drops onto their laps. This makes life dangerously interesting for the senior citizens. They give the local police a run for their money with their snazzy detective skills, and hopefully, they get to come out of it victorious and unscathed. You can get the book here! 📖
4. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Seventeen-year-old Pippa “Pip” Fitz-Amobi is your typical high school over-achiever. She is also profoundly interested in murder mysteries, and one mystery has been on her mind ever since it rocked their small town five years ago. The murder of a high school student Andrea “Andie” Bell, and the suicide of her apparent murderer, her then-boyfriend Salil “Sal” Singh. Pip decides to uncover the truth herself by using her high school project as cover.
As she continues digging through the mystery to discover what happened five years ago, she discovers that the case may not be as open and shut as it appeared. Unknowingly, she ruffles many feathers in their small community, and the stakes get higher. The truth is that there might be people who may not want the truth behind the murder to come out and would go to any lengths to stop that from happening.
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Will she realize the danger that she is in before it is too late? Will the truth behind the murder come out? This thrilling Young Adult novel by Holly Jackson is full of twists from beginning to end. This is another one of the books that I found unputdownable until I finished reading it. It is one of the best murder mystery books in recent times, with a solid plot and lovable characters. You can get the book here! 📖
5. The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra
This book is another cozy, wholesome murder mystery with many interesting characters and a few unsavory ones. The story is set in 1920s Bangalore and follows the adventures of Kaveri, a newlywed 19-year-old woman, as she attempts to settle into her married life. She is not your quintessential twentieth-century housewife. She is a budding mathematician with a highly logical mind and a secret obsession with detective stories. One day, she witnesses an altercation between two strangers and gets shocked when she finds out that one of them has been murdered.
Her curiosity piqued, she unleashes her inner sleuth to discover who the killer is. When a vulnerable person is wrongfully accused of the crime, she realizes she must act fast. She is on the right track to finding the perpetrator thanks to her ever-supportive doctor husband and her logical mind. But she is in danger of becoming the murderer’s next target if she does not cease with her investigation. Set in pre-Independence India, this book is a time capsule that showcases the days of the past with a modern take.
The protagonist is a breath of fresh air and a singular character amidst the various detective story heroines. She juggles detecting, brushing up on her studies, and improving her cooking skills, with calculated ease. For Bengalureans, this book has the added advantage of showing how their city and their favorite haunts used to look like a hundred years ago. You can get the book here! 📖
6. Little Indiscretions by Carmen Posadas
This book is a highly entertaining whodunnit by Uruguayan-Spanish author Carmen Posadas. It was the winner of Spain’s top literary prize, and rightfully so. Dark comedy meets murder mystery in this book as it gives you a glimpse into the secret lives of the elite. Chef Nestor Cheffino, a highly acclaimed pastry chef who caters only to the rich and influential, is hired to cater for a party at a villa belonging to one of Spain’s elite.
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The chef has a little black book which he calls little indiscretions, in which he writes his secret recipes, as he intends to publish them one day; that is not all that the book contains. It also contains secrets of the members of the household, secrets that they would not want to see the light of day. This ends up being fatal to the chef as he finds himself locked inside the walk-in-freezer and unfortunately freezes to death– and his little black book goes missing.
Now the question arises – who would want the chef to die? And it seems that everyone at the villa, hosts, and guests alike, have reasons for wanting the chef dead. This whodunnit is a riot of indiscretions throughout the book. By the end, you might not find even one redeemable character, including the poor deceased, but rest assured, it is delightful to read. You can get the book here! 📖
7. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
This book can be summarized as The Breakfast Club meets murder mystery genre. Five high school students walk into detention, and only four walk out. One of them has been murdered, and the only people who could have murdered the victim were the other four people in the detention room. Each of the four had a motive to kill the victim, and they all had the opportunity to do so.
All four claim that they did not do it, but one of them is lying. Typical American high school drama but with a murder twist. Which of these four is the murderer, or did all of them band together to do the deed? A not-so-typical locked room murder mystery with four suspects, each benefitting from the victim’s death. It sounds like something straight out of an Agatha Christie book, right!? You can get the book here! 📖
8. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The plot revolves around another island and another murder mystery. I don’t know what it is about private islands and why they seem to be such a hotbed for murders; I only know that they are highly entertaining to read. The island in this book is the venue for the most happening wedding of the season. Every bride dreams of having the perfect wedding day, and this bride is no different. This no-expense-barred, extravagant event is the perfect occasion for someone to take their revenge.
Wedding hijinks are taken to the next level when the traditions are given a new killer twist– “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something…….dead“. The wedding had a limited guest list, and everyone on the list had old grievances and agenda against each other. Who died, and who killed them? As you read on, you realize that not everyone is as innocent as they initially appeared. A private island whodunnit with a wedding twist, a sub-genre I never knew I needed. You can get the book here! 📖
9. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Translator: Antonia Lloyd-Jones)
Olga Tokarczuk is one of the most successful contemporary Polish authors. She is also a Nobel Prize winner, and her books have been awarded many prestigious awards, including the Man Booker International Prize. This book is a mystery book that follows some murder mystery tropes, but it does it in such an original way as to make them almost undetectable.
Janina Duszejko lives in a Polish village that borders the nearby country, the Czech Republic. She lives alone with her two dogs. She loves nature, animals, astrology, and translating William’s Blake poems into Polish. The death of her neighbor disrupts her calm life. That death was only the beginning; soon, many people from her village turn up dead.
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Interestingly, all the victims are members of the local hunting group, causing her to believe that nature and wildlife are taking revenge on the unscrupulous hunters. No one pays heed to her insane beliefs, and she takes it upon herself to find the truth. This novel sometimes feels surrealistic and is more of a slow burn than a fast-paced thriller. Yet, this book is compelling and has certain similarities to the works of Christie with regard to certain mystery cliches. You can get the book here! 📖
10. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
This book is not a murder mystery per se, but conflict is part of the plot’s central mystery, a conflict that leads to the death of an individual. Liane Moriarty’s stories look wholesome initially, but they always have a dark twist in the tale. This book also follows the rule, except starting with an investigation that shows that seemingly small conflicts led to a deadly outcome. The plot revolves around the lives of three women- all of whom have enrolled their kids in the same kindergarten. Each of these three has something they want to hide.
These seemingly small lies add up and eventually become fatal for someone. Told in a non-linear narrative, this book switches between the investigation and the past and finally shows up to the eventful day, revealing the victim and the killer. A significantly different take on the traditional mystery genre, this book is more of a drama with death thrown into the mix. The writing style is addictive, as is the author’s other books, and has been adapted into a television mini-series. You can get the book here! 📖
The murder mystery genre has numerous sub-genres; there is something for every type of mystery fan. Look no further if you are looking for books similar to Agatha Christie’s. All of the books in this list have something that makes them reminiscent of your favorite author and her books.
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