Getting started with mysteries

Looking for a mystery series to get lost in? This list has the first book in some popular series to get you started!
Updated September 19, 2022
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson
ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 BEST MYSTERY AND THRILLER BOOKS OF ALL TIME * #1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER * The thrilling first book in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series featuring Lisbeth Salander: "Combine the chilly Swedish backdrop and moody psychodrama of a Bergman...
Storm Front
Jim Butcher
In the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden's investigation of a grisly double murder pulls him into the darkest depths of magical Chicago... As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the "everyday" world...
The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency
Alexander McCall Smith
NATIONAL BESTSELLER * Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's premier lady detective. In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe--with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi--navigates her...
One for the Money
Janet Evanovich
The dynamite blockbusterfrom Janet Evanovichthat started it all--now a major motion picture starring Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum! ONE FINE MESS Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big...
The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler
The renowned novel from the crime fiction master, with the "quintessential urban private eye" (Los Angeles Times), Philip Marlowe. * Featuring the iconic character that inspired the film Marlowe, starring Liam Neeson. One of The Atlantic's Great...
In the Woods
Tana French
The debut novel of an astonishing voice in psychological suspense As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police...
The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith
Published under a pseudonym, J. K. Rowling's brilliant debut mystery introduces Detective Cormoran Strike as he investigates a supermodel's suicide in "one of the best books of the year" (USA Today), the first novel in the brilliant series that inspired the acclaimed HBO Max...
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Agatha Christie
Home from the First World War, Lieutenant Hastings finds himself in a convalescent home very much to his disliking. Thankfully his old friend John Cavendish invites him to spend the rest of his sick leave at his family home.
Case Histories
Kate Atkinson
A triumphant new novel from award-winner Kate Atkinson: a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate. Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her...
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley
Flavia, an 11-year-old with a chemistry lab, finds a corpse in a cucumber patch and applies the detective skills she learned plotting against her older sisters. This debut mystery by a Canadian author won the 2007 Crime Writer Association's Debut Dagger Award.
A Study in Scarlet
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novel--and the origin story of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson--is reimagined in the first unabridged, fully illustrated version since its debut, by acclaimed and bestselling illustrator Gris Grimly. The year is 1881. The city, London. A man...
A is for Alibi
Sue Grafton
READ THE SENSATIONAL BLOCKBUSTER THAT STARTED IT ALL! Take it from the top in #1 New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton's knockout thriller that introduced detective Kinsey Millhone--and a hot new attitude--to crime fiction... A IS FOR...
Still Life
Louise Penny
Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a...
The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Laurie R. King
The Twentieth Anniversary Edition of the First Novel of the Acclaimed Mary Russell Series by Edgar Award-Winning Author Laurie R. King. An Agatha Award Best Novel Nominee * Named One of the Century's Best 100 Mysteries by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association...
The Murder at the Vicarage
Agatha Christie
Murder at the Vicarage marks the debut of Agatha Christie’s unflappable and much beloved female detective, Miss Jane Marple. With her gift for sniffing out the malevolent side of human nature, Miss Marple is led on her first case to a crime scene at the local vicarage. Colonel...
Rivers of London
Ben Aaronovitch
"Midnight Riot is what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz. It is a hilarious, keenly imagined caper."--Diana Gabaldon  Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to...
The Black Echo
Michael Connelly
An LAPD homicide detective must choose between justice and vengeance as he teams up with the FBI in the first novel of the "thrilling" Harry Bosch series (New York Times Book Review). For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at...
Whose Body?
Dorothy L. Sayers
The first novel by one of the greatest mystery writers of the twentieth century, in which she introduced her popular amateur detective, Lord Peter Wimsey. "[A] pure pleasure to read." --The New York Times Book Review   A famous London financier...
Maisie Dobbs
Jacqueline Winspear
Hailed by NPR's Fresh Air as part Testament of Youth, part Dorothy Sayers, and part Upstairs, Downstairs, this astonishing debut has already won fans from coast to coast and is poised to add Maisie Dobbs to the ranks of literature's favorite sleuths. Maisie Dobbs isn't just any...
Crocodile on the Sandbank
Elizabeth Peters
Meet Egyptologist Amelia Peabody in the first mystery in the Victorian-era set, New York Times bestselling "sparkling series" (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review). "If Indiana Jones were female, a wife, and a mother who lived in Victorian times...
The Bone Collector
Jeffery Deaver
DON'T MISS THE NBC TELEVISION SERIES LINCOLN RHYME: HUNT FOR THE BONE COLLECTOR The first novel in the New York Times bestselling series featuring forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme--from the author of The Never Game. "Lightning-paced...a breakneck...
A Morbid Taste for Bones
Ellis Peters
The "irresistible" and "compelling" first novel in the historical mystery series featuring a Welsh Benedictine monk in the twelfth century (The Washington Post). A Welsh Benedictine monk living at Shrewsbury Abbey in western England, Brother...
The Bat
Jo Nesbø
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER * In the electrifying first installment of the New York Times bestselling series, Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. As he circles closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those...
Knots and Crosses
Ian Rankin
Knots and Crosses introduces gifted mystery novelist Ian Rankin, a fascinating locale and the most compellingly complex detective hero at work today. Inspector John Rebus: His city is being terrorized by a baffling series of murders...and he's tied to a maniac by an...
Death at La Fenice
Donna Leon
"A gripping first mystery, as beguiling and secretly sinister as Venice herself. Sparkling and irresistible." -- Rita Mae Brown The first book in the internationally bestselling Guido Brunetti detective series in which a high society murder leads Guido to investigate the darker side...
Cover Her Face
P. D. James
The first in the series of scintillating mysteries to feature cunning Scotland Yard detective, Adam Dalgliesh from P.D. James, the bestselling author hailed by People magazine as "the greatest living mystery writer." Sally Jupp was a sly and sensuous young woman who used...
Magpie Murders
Anthony Horowitz
"Magpie Murders is a double puzzle for puzzle fans, who don't often get the classicism they want from contemporary thrillers." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times New York Times bestseller | Winner of the Macavity Award for Best Novel | NPR best book of the Year | Washington...
Deal Breaker
Harlan Coben
From the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Promise Me" comes the first novel featuring Myron Bolitar--a haunting tale of betrayal and family secrets that explodes into a riveting powerhouse of suspense. Reissue.
The Thursday Murder Club
Richard Osman
A New York Times bestseller | Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment "Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining." --Wall Street Journal   "Don't trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian...
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards
Lilian Jackson Braun
THE FIRST COZY MYSTERY IN THE BELOVED NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING CAT WHO SERIES! The world of modern art is a mystery to many. But for Jim Qwilleran, it turns into a mystery of another sort when his assignment for The Daily Fluxion leads down the path to murder.<...
Raven Black
Ann Cleeves
Long a celebrated crime writer in Britain, Ann Cleeves’ fame went international when she won the coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger for this amazing suspense novel, Raven Black. Like Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse or Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks, Cleeves’...
The Crossing Places
Elly Griffiths
When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in anbsp;remote area called Saltmarshnbsp;near Norfolk, land that was sacred to itsnbsp;Iron Agenbsp;inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea. When a child's bones are...
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
Joanne Fluke
No one cooks up a delectable, suspense-filled mystery quite like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke's dessert-baking, red-haired heroine whose gingersnaps are as tart as her comebacks, and whose penchant for solving crimes--one delicious clue at a time--has made her a bestselling favorite. And it all...
Her Royal Spyness
Rhys Bowen
The Agatha Award winner debuts a 1930s London mystery series, featuring a penniless twenty-something member of the extended royal family. Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth...
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
M. C. Beaton
The first book in M. C. Beaton's New York Times bestselling Agatha Raisin series--now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television. Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and settles in for an early...
The Godwulf Manuscript
Robert B. Parker
New York Times bestselling author of the Spenser series of crime thrillers--Book 1 in the series "The toughest, funniest, wisest, private eye in the field these days."--Houston Chronicle Spenser earned his degree in the school of hard...
The Word Is Murder
Anthony Horowitz
SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER? New York Times bestselling author of Magpie Murders and Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz has yet again brilliantly reinvented the classic crime novel, this time writing a fictional version of himself as the Watson to a modern-day...
The Distant Echo
Val McDermid
Four in the morning, mid-December, and snow blankets St. Andrews School. Student Alex Gilbery and his three best friends are staggering home from a party when they stumble upon the body of a young woman. Rosie Duff has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in the ancient Pictish cemetery. The...
A Share in Death
Deborah Crombie
In this delightful new series, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard takes a holiday at his lovely Yorkshire time share. But before the stress of crime-solving begins to disappear, a body washes up in the whirlpool bath. Kincaid won't be able to relax until the killer is sent...
A Duty to the Dead
Charles Todd
"Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A." --
Murder in the Marais
Cara Black
Aimée Leduc, a Parisian private investigator, has always sworn she would stick to tech investigation—no criminal cases for her. Especially since her father, the late police detective, was killed in the line of duty. But when an old Jewish man approaches Aimée with a top-secret decoding job on...
The Stranger Diaries
Elly Griffiths
International Bestseller Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel "This lively whodunit keeps you guessing until the end." --People "Utterly bewitching...As unforgettable as it is original." --A.J. Finn ...

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