You’ve cleaned the house, tried that new recipe, and scrolled down the internet a couple of times. Now, what is there left to do this quarantine season? We suggest reading a book.
If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, mind-boggling story with unexpected twists, then mystery novels are for you. Not only would this genre help you develop your critical and problem-solving skills, but it would also help you develop important values such as empathy and fairness. Beat the reading slump by checking out our buying guide and book recommendations below.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
Products or services listed have been independently ranked by the mybest Editorial Team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide as of 01-16-2023.
Writers and book enthusiasts alike often use these terms interchangeably. But you might be wondering, how can you tell them apart? Here are the key differences between these genres.
In a mystery novel, the murder usually takes place at the beginning and is the highlight of the story. The narrative revolves around finding out who has committed the offense.
This genre is also interactive since you, as a reader, will use the clues scattered around the story in order to solve the crime with the main character. In the end, the mystery is solved and the evildoer is apprehended.
Thriller books are all about fast-paced action and heightened emotions. From the start, the main character’s life is at danger and even more so as the story progresses.
This genre is characterized by the cat-and-mouse chase that the protagonist and antagonist engage in. Oftentimes, these novels future-oriented since you'll be anticipating what is going to happen next.
Although suspense can be seen in almost all novels, this genre establishes a sense of tension which then creates an atmosphere of fear.
The villains as well as their intentions are revealed early on and it is the main character’s job to stop them despite the risk. Readers are kept on the edge of their seats since they know what is coming but the protagonist doesn’t.
When choosing a mystery novel, it is important to take note of your preferred format and subgenre. We also recommend looking at reviews online if you need more help in choosing your latest read. Scroll down to find out more!
Physical copies give you a more traditional feel while electronic copies are more accessible and convenient. Read along to find out which format is best for you.
For a more affordable and lightweight option, go for paperbacks. These compact books are also ideal for travelling due to their small size. In addition to that, paperbacks are recommended for people who would just like to read for pleasure.
One downside, however, is that paperbacks can get damaged easily due to the materials used. The paper, glue, and ink used for these books are not as good compared to the ones used for hardbound novels.
Multitasking while listening to your favorite book is possible with audiobooks! As long as the task does not require intense concentration, you can listen to audiobooks during your own convenient time. Also, listening to audiobooks is a more immersive experience since you’ll be able to listen to the nuances, accents, and emotions of the characters.
Similar to eBooks, one disadvantage of listening to audiobooks is that it requires a stable power source. Additionally, these novels require larger memory and are more expensive compared to eBooks. Longer books also tend to drag on when you listen to them for a long time.
There is a mystery novel for every reader. From lighthearted reads to heart wrenching stories, here are the subgenres below the mystery category.
If you’re looking for something that does not have too much gore, violence, or foul language, then this subgenre is for you.
Set in a familiar yet comfortable environment, a cozy mystery story focuses on an amateur detective, usually a woman, who spends her time searching for answers regarding a crime.
On the other hand, a hard-boiled or noir mystery is on the other side of the spectrum. It has all the gore and brutality that most mystery novel enthusiasts look for.
Here, the main character is a cop or private investigator who is determined to apprehend the killer and give justice to the victim. He or she unfortunately does not get the support of society which serves as an additional hurdle.
If you want something that’s in between these two subgenres, go for amateur sleuth, private detective, medical, scientific, forensic, or historical novels.
Amateur sleuth is a subgenre wherein the detective is not a professional but is investigating a crime for personal reasons. Both the private detective and medical, scientific or forensic subgenres focus on using the protagonist’s expertise in their field in order to solve a crime.
Lastly, as the name suggests, the historical subgenre is set in the past and the sleuth may be an amateur or professional.
Torn between two equally interesting mystery novels? Or are you a mystery newbie looking for your latest read? Looking at book reviews online can help you select your next mystery book.
One way to find your latest read is to check reviews online, whether it be on websites, blogs, or YouTube. Fellow bookworms can give you a gist of the story as well as advice on things to look out for when reading the book. However, make sure to check if the review is spoiler-free so that you’ll be able to enjoy the novel.
It is also important to check the “mystery factor” of the book. Unique storylines which keep you guessing are always a pleasure to read. In line with this, the things to look out for when buying a mystery novel include an attention-grabbing hook, a couple of red herrings, and a satisfying ending.
Although this should not be the sole determining factor when purchasing a book, mystery novels which have won awards can help you trim down your choices. An expert viewpoint on your latest read might be just what you need.
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A Mind-Boggling Novel With Surprising Twists
Smaller and Smaller Circles
The Award-Winning Filipino Novel Which Tackles Relevant Social Issues
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
A Gut-Wrenching Memoir Which Aims to Seek Justice for the Victims
The Da Vinci Code
A Controversial Think Piece Which Packs a Lot of Action
And Then There Were None
A Race Against Time to Survive
Everything I Never Told You
A Gripping Family Drama That Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat
You Were Always Mine
A Heart-Breaking Mystery Novel About a Mother’s Love
W is for Wasted
An Unstoppable Female Detective Who is Willing to Risk it All
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Complete Sherlock Holmes
A Fan-Favorite Known for His Intelligence in Solving Crimes
Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock
A Cozy Mystery Novel That is Suitable for All Ages
From the outside looking in, Nick and Amy Dunne’s relationship was the textbook definition of a perfect marriage. However, things changed when Amy suddenly goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary and frames Nick for her apparent murder. Full of unexpected twists and turns, readers are kept on the edge of their seats as the couple engages in a battle of wits against each other.
Gillian Flynn's mystery-thriller novel claimed the #1 spot as the New York Times Bestseller during its release in 2012. It has also won the Goodreads Choice Award under the Mystery & Thriller category in the same year.
Jesuit priests and forensic experts Gus Saenz and Jerome Lucero are tasked to perform an investigation regarding the murders of young boys in an impoverished slum area in Payatas.
While trying to pin down the killer and give justice to the victims, the protagonists are caught up in tensions between people of authority and the plight of the ordinary citizens.
Smaller and Smaller Circles sheds a light on significant social issues while engaging the readers with its heart-racing and interesting storyline. Batacan’s masterpiece has won the prestigious Carlos Palanca Grand Prize 3 years after its initial release. Shortly after, the novel won the National Book Award as well as the Madrigal-Gonzalez Award Best First Book Award.
Based on a true story, Lost Girls gives tribute to the lives of five girls who were helplessly killed by an unknown killer in Long Island. It discusses the sad reality that police investigations seem to slow down once their families reveal their occupation. More importantly, this book aims to destroy the stereotypes that most people have about sex workers and sheds a light on the lack of justice for these victims.
This chilling mystery-memoir has been praised by the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Boston Globe for its magnificent storytelling and flawless transition between recounting the victims’ life and discussing the crime that has happened.
One reviewer has even mentioned that Kolker did a good job in “personifying” the girls since they were people too who had dreams and aspirations just like everybody else.
The novel begins with the murder of Jacques Saunière, a curator at the Louvre museum, who was shot dead by a monk called Silas. It was then revealed that Saunière left a series of cryptic clues that only selected people can decode. Hence, the police enlist the help of acclaimed symbolist Robert Langdon and renowned cryptographer Sophie Neveu in order to solve the mystery.
As the story progresses, the clues get more complicated which the two protagonists have to solve to the best of their abilities.
Dan Brown’s second installment of the Robert Landon series was named Book of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2005. It has sold over 80 million copies worldwide and is praised by most literary critics.
Despite its success, however, it has been a subject of criticism due to claims about the novel’s historical, scientific, and religious inaccuracies. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a high-action mystery novel, then this book is for you!
In this Agatha Christie classic, ten strangers are invited to an isolated island by hosts Mr. And Mrs. U.N. Owen, a wordplay of the anonymity of the latter. The promise of luxury and prestige convinces them to accept the invitation despite the risk.
When the group has gathered into a room, a recording plays which accuses each person of a crime. Shortly after, a guest dies and the main characters have to figure out who the killer is while trying to survive.
Renowned mystery author Agatha Christie has gained praise for this novel due to its unique plot and shocking twists. Published in 1939, it has been regarded as one of the most bestselling mystery novels of all time and is still relevant up to this day.
Lydia Lee was the perfect daughter. Never one to cause trouble, she always followed her parents' wishes and was regarded as the favorite child. Thus, her death comes as a shock which forces her family to confront their inner demons and deep-set issues. On top of that, they would soon discover that Lydia has been living a different life all along.
Celeste Ng’s debut novel has been named the Amazon Book of the Year in 2014 and has won multiple awards in the United States. Besides being an award-winning book, this novel discusses and incorporates important issues such as racism and queer identity.
Jessica Chamberlain, a recently divorced mother of two, is trying to start anew after her painful breakup. However, a phone call and a mysterious death changes her life even more. Based on the clues that she has gathered, Jess learns that these unfortunate events are linked to the adoption of her son Gabriel.
This book presents a heart-wrenching twist to your usual mystery stories. Baart’s novel has been praised by literary enthusiasts and critics for its tasteful incorporation of adoption in the mystery genre. Also, the well-timed twists and gripping storyline will keep you reading until the very last page.
The 23rd book in the Alphabet Series follows the story of Kinsey Millhone, a private investigator who is trying to solve the mystery behind her former colleague’s murder and a homeless person’s sudden passing.
Once ruled out as two separate cases, she begins to discover a link between the two deaths. However, as she investigates further and gets tangled in a series of interconnecting scenarios, she puts her life at risk.
One notable contribution that the late Sue Grafton made in the mystery genre is the introduction of female detectives in the aforementioned category, which was unfortunately uncommon during that time. In addition to that, the award-winning author is known for her distinct writing style which keeps readers coming back for more.
Sherlock Holmes has become a household name in the mystery genre ever since his inception. Holmes is known for his wit and great attention to detail, which makes him a well-known private detective in London. His right hand, Dr. Watson, also joins him on most of his adventures.
Due to Holmes’ widespread influence in all forms of media, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation was awarded as the most portrayed literary character in film and television by the Guinness Book of World Records. His relevance still rings true today with fans creating clubs in honor of the beloved character.
In the first installment of the series, the story revolves around finding a missing will written by a wealthy man named Josiah Crowley, who has recently passed away.
As she tries to piece the puzzle together, Nancy Drew gets involved in a battle between the greedy Tophams and Crowley’s other relatives who would like to get their share of the inheritance. Nancy Drew then spends her time in order to help the latter claim what is rightfully theirs.
Nancy Drew is almost synonymous with the mystery genre and is well-loved by children and adults alike. Dubbed as the female version of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew teaches young children to be cautious about their surroundings and to stand up for what is right.
Looking for other brain-stimulating activities which you can do at home? Click the links to find out more!
Take a break from the internet and immerse yourself into the world of mystery novels. Reading books in this genre will not only help you sharpen your mental skills, but it will also help you widen your perspective and reexamine your values in life.
We hope our Top 10 list piqued your interest and helped you find your latest read. Just remember to select a novel based on your preferred subgenre, age, and format with the help of our buying guide. Till then, happy reading!
Author: Aprille Jarcia
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