Unusual Suspects

The 20 Best Mystery Books to Read for Your Inner Sleuth

Hi mystery fans! I’m so glad Archer is back, even if it is its final season. In some strange way it’s been a comfort watch for me since its first season—minus the coma years which, eh. And I’m super impatiently waiting for Joy Ride and Barbie to hit a (any) streamer.

Newish newsletter alert + a chance to win books! Book Riot’s editorial team is writing for casual and power readers alike over at The Deep Dive! During the month of September, all new free subscribers will be entered to win Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler plus 5 mystery books from The Deep Dive. To enter, simply start a free subscription to The Deep Dive. No payment method required!

Bookish Goods

two sizes of a silver book charm with a cutout heart on the cover showing gold pages inside

Book necklace by BoutiqueAcademia

Does the soon arrival of fall make you think of holidays which makes you think of your lists of people you need gifts for? This is a nice one for necklace-wearing bookworms. ($25)

New Releases

cover image for Creep

Creep: Accusations and Confessions by Myriam Gurba

If you’re looking for an outside-the-box true crime + memoir I highly recommend this one.

It is impossible to categorize this book, which is one of my favorite things about it, and the same can be said about the author, Myriam Gurba. It’s a memoir of sorts, with stories from her life and family, including her grandfather’s life as a publicist and her prima’s childhood abuse that led to her joining a gang. But it’s also a true crime book and a book on history that dives into the actual heart of the events, crimes, and criminals, focusing on the victims and society. It’s a spotlight on the very title word, creep(s), and how we create them, allow them, defend them. The book is an essay collection, but again can’t be categorized easily as such because there is play with the narrative and structure in itself.

I was a huge fan of her previous genre-bending memoir Mean, so I ran to this one and once again continue to love her work, infused with her dark humor and observational insight mixed with research. She narrates the audiobook, and while I love hearing work in the author’s own voice, I can also see this being a book readers will want to highlight or mark with sticky notes in a print/ebook copy. I may have almost burned dinner while pausing the audiobook to go jot down a line that has since stayed with me: “The living expect a lot from dead women.”

(TWs she talks about so many stories, cases, and histories that it’s easiest to just say everything, though I’ll note it never feels gratuitous or graphic for the sake of being.)

cover image for Mother-Daughter Murder Night

Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon

For fans of coastal town settings, murder mysteries, and three generations of amateur sleuths!

It’s a big month for fall mystery books and book clubs: GMA chose Happiness Falls and Reese’s Book Club chose Mother-Daughter Murder Night.

Lana Rubicon is an LA businesswoman currently living in a coastal town with her daughter and granddaughter following a cancer diagnosis. She’s obviously not thrilled about all the life changes but finds herself less bored when her granddaughter finds a body. Lana may have seen something important to the investigation and it’s time for this family to start sleuthing in order to solve a murder, dredge up small-town secrets, and save themselves.

Looking for more new releases? Check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I have two great historical mysteries with young women: one set in a time period we rarely get in books, with interesting history and a wonderful character, and the other a group of women with a fascinating job.

Silence of Bones Book Cover

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Set in 1800 in the Joseon Korean dynastic kingdom, we get to know Seol. She is currently being trained as a police damo, having been sent to the capital by her sister on a mission to find her older brother’s grave. Being a police damo means she’s basically an indentured servant to the police. Since Confucius’s law bars men from touching women, Seol’s job is to touch murdered women’s bodies and arrest women.

She stands out being a quick learner and sensitive which leads Inspector Han to teach her how to solve cases. But Seol is quickly put in a difficult position when she questions whether Han has any involvement in a woman’s murder…

(TW past suicides mentioned, detail/ mentions public groping/ torture/ past child murder mentioned/ dog killed, skippable)

cover image for The Killing Code

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

Set in Virginia in 1943, we follow a group of code-breakers who are all women. They are all very different – and complicating things even further is that one of them has taken the identity of a dead woman – but they are all forced to work together outside of job hours to solve a murder. They are quickly in over their heads when they realize they are trying to identify and stop a serial killer…

For audiobook readers, narrators Natalie Naudus and Kelsey Navarro do an excellent job.

(TW date rape drug use, no assault/ murder victims raped, not on page nor detailed/ antisemitism/ attempted sexual assault)

News and Roundups

Liberty and Danika chat about new releases on All The Books! including The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby by G. Z. Schmidt

The 20 Best Mystery Books to Read for Your Inner Sleuth

‘Holly’ review: Stephen King’s ace detective takes a star role in freaky thriller

Tina Fey stars in ‘A Haunting in Venice,’ an upcoming thriller based on Agatha Christie novel

(obviously spoilers) ‘The Afterparty’ Finale Unmasks a Killer — and Makes a Case for Season 3

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See 2023 releases and upcoming 2024 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Bluesky, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy — you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

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