The 21 best mystery books to read in 2021 – Business Insider

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Though I love to sit in the sun with a steamy romance novel or listen to a fascinating memoir on my way to work, mystery books have always been engrossing reads where I race against the characters to solve the puzzle. Perfect for true crime fans or anyone who loves a suspenseful story, great mystery books offer gripping conundrums with a fascinating crime and a puzzling problem that demands to be solved. 
To gather these recommendations, I looked at readers’ favorite mystery books on Goodreads, Amazon, and Bookshop. Whether you’re looking for your next thrilling read or a cozy “whodunit” as the weather gets colder, you can find a great mystery novel on this list.
“And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99
“And Then There Were None” is a classic Agatha Christie mystery novel about 10 strangers who are invited by an unknown millionaire as weekend guests to a mansion on a private island. When the guests are murdered one by one (as foretold in a nursery rhyme hung in every room of the home), they must quickly figure out who is behind the killings before none of them are left alive.
“Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.91
This historical fiction mystery book is about Ray Carney, an honest neighborhood furniture salesman, who falls into a disastrous heist with his cousin in 1960s Harlem. Walking the line between upstanding citizen and criminal, Ray finds himself caught in a tangle of mortality in this new novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead.
“Arsenic and Adobo” by Mia P. Manansala, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.40
In this delicious new mystery book, Lila Macapagal is recovering from a devastating breakup when she’s tasked to help save her Tita Rosie’s struggling restaurant. When a food critic (who just happens to be Lila’s ex) dies moments after a confrontation with Lila, she becomes the chief suspect and must begin her own investigation to prove her innocence in this witty mystery.
“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99
Alicia Berenson seems to live a perfect life as a well-known painter with her famous photographer husband — until one day when her husband returns home late and Alicia shoots him five times in the face and then never speaks again. Obsessed with Alicia’s case and determined to find a motive, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber sets out to uncover the truth in this gripping mystery with a fantastic final twist. 
“Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49
Virgil Wounded Horse serves as the community enforcer on his reservation in South Dakota, so when heroin begins to affect his community and a terrible incident hits close to home, Virgil is determined to stop the influx of drugs from hurting anyone else. Teaming up with his ex-girlfriend, Virgil follows a lead to Denver and finds himself in a complex situation — one that will test his identity, community, and loyalties.
“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.39
In a quiet retirement community, four elderly friends gather every Thursday night to talk about cold case murders, dubbing themselves “The Thursday Murder Club.” When a local man is found dead with a strange photograph left next to his body, The Thursday Murder Club uses their sharp wit and skills from their former careers to defy all the stereotypes and solve the crime in this entertaining mystery loved for its rich and lively characters. 
“A Killer’s Wife” by Victor Methos, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.99
In this mystery known for keeping readers on the edge of their seats, Jessica Yardley is a prosecutor who has moved on with her life after her ex-husband went to prison for a series of violent murders 14 years ago. When a string of new copycat murders begin once again, the FBI recruits Jessica to help find the killer, meaning working with her ex-husband and reliving the darkest days of her life.
“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.63
In this gripping courtroom mystery with multiple perspectives, a group of people in a small town in Virginia are brought together over a hyperbaric chamber that claims to cure anything from autism to infertility. When the chamber explodes and two people are killed, it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident, but it’s not clear who is at fault. As the mystery unfolds, layers of secrets are revealed in this beautiful mystery about parenthood, healing, and the effects of our choices.
“The Mimosa Tree Mystery” by Ovidia Yu, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.71
“The Mimosa Tree Mystery” is a historical fiction mystery story set in 1930s Singapore. It follows Su Lin, whose uncle is detained by the Japanese as retaliation for the mysterious murder of his neighbor, a known collaborator and blackmailer. When a former spy named Hideki offers Sun Lin’s uncle in exchange for her help in finding the real killer, Su Lin discovers there is far more resting on this investigation than just one life.
“Grown” by Tiffany D. Jackson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.49
When 17-year-old Enchanted Jones catches the eye of legendary R&B artist Korey Fields at an audition, she’s offered the chance to make all her dreams come true and is ready for stardom, no matter the cost. One day, Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands, Korey Fields’ body next to her, and no memory of the previous night. In this emotional mystery, Enchanted must recount the horrifying details of the months prior in order to understand how something so terrible could have happened.
“Opium and Absinthe” by Lydia Kang, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.49
Set in 1899 New York City, Tille’s sister is found dead — drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck — and with the recent publication of “Dracula,” Tille can’t help but suspect a vampiric murderer. Tille is desperate to find out what happened to her sister, but as her obsession with the case intensifies, so does her addiction to opium. As each vice consumes her life, Tille struggles to know what’s real in this Victorian-era murder mystery.
“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.23
Daunis Fontaine is an 18-year-old, biracial, unenrolled tribal member who has put her schooling on hold to care for her ill mother. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she begins her own investigation to track down the criminals and protect her community, all while learning what it truly means to be a strong Ojibwe woman.
“A Study in Scarlet” by Arthur Conan Doyle, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.99
“A Study in Scarlet” was the first novel to feature the famous detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. First published in 1887, this story tells the origin of Holmes and Watson meeting as new roommates and solving their first murder together, which proves far more complex and intricate than either could have imagined.
“When You Look Like Us” by Pamela N. Harris, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.55
When Jay Murphy’s sister, goes missing, he knows the police won’t go looking for her, seeing as they don’t search for most Black kids that go missing from the projects. To make matters worse, the local news picks up the story of his sister’s disappearance and twists it into a scandal. Despite the mountain of obstacles in his way, Jay is determined to find his sister in this gripping and authentic mystery about race and the dangerous power of stereotypes.
“Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.10
In this emotional thriller, Isiah and Derek are married and when they’re both found murdered, their fathers each get a knock on the door with the terrible news. Fathers Ike and Buddy are flawed ex-cons with little in common besides their love for their sons, determination to find out who killed them, and a thirst for revenge.
“The Push” by Ashley Audrain, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.20
In this tense tour-de-force mystery, Blythe Connor wants nothing more than to be the mother she never had, but struggles to make a connection with her young daughter, convinced that something is wrong with her. After Blythe’s son is born, she feels all the maternal love and instincts she’s always longed for, but when her family’s life changes in an instant, Blythe is left struggling to find out what really happened, even if that means confirming her worst nightmares.
“Billy Summers” by Stephen King, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.98
Though Stephen King is certainly most well-known for his sensational horror novels, “Billy Summers” is a crime thriller/mystery novel about a man who is an assassin for hire, but only if the target is a bad person who deserves to die. Billy is ready to retire and preparing for one final job, but no matter what he does to prepare, it seems nothing is going how it should.
“Verity” by Colleen Hoover, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.99
When bestselling author Verity Crawford is injured in a terrible accident, her husband hires a young and struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, to finish Verity’s highly anticipated series. While sorting through notes in Verity’s office, Lowen uncovers a hidden autobiography, full of terrible secrets — including the truth behind her daughter’s death. Deciding to keep the devastating manuscript from Verity’s husband, Lowen begins to search for the truth when it seems everyone has their own secrets.
“Angels & Demons” by Dan Brown, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.94
“Angels & Demons” is the first book of the “DaVinci Code” series, which begins when world-renowned symbologist, Robert Langdon, is called to help solve the murder of a physicist who was discovered with a strange symbol seared into his chest. As Robert begins to investigate, he uncovers an elaborate plot against the Catholic Church by the Illuminati.
“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.19
First published in 1938, “Rebecca” is a classic mystery story where the unnamed narrator is swept off her feet by a wealthy and famous man named Maximilian de Winter, whose Cornwall mansion is even more famous than he is. When the narrator arrives at the mansion, she soon discovers that the ghostly presence of her husband’s late wife is nearly impossible to escape — and slowly uncovers Rebecca’s story in this mystery of layered revelations.
“Win” by Harlan Coben, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.50
When a recluse is found murdered in his New York City apartment, the FBI discovers a clue that not only gives them a lead, but links the crime to two other cold cases including the robbery and kidnapping of an heiress 20 years ago. The clue leads the FBI to Windsor (“Win”) Horne Lockwood III, who has no idea how his family’s stolen painting could have ended up at a crime scene, but is determined to use his personal connections and limitless fortune to solve the dangerous case.

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Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected].
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