Last year I really didn’t read that many murder mysteries so I definitely tried to read more this year. Despite having read a lot more mysteries these 5 books easily made their way to my Top 5. I didn’t struggle to decide when it came to these books.
- Title: Murder at the Theatre Royale
- Author: Ada Moncrief
- Series: Standalone
- Rating: 4 stars
Plot: December 1935. Director Monty Harrison’s production of A Christmas Carol has had a troubled run on its tour of regional theatres. With tensions amongst the cast running high, the company reach their final stop – London’s Theatre Royale. Catastrophe, however, strikes on opening night- Scrooge dies on stage, the result (it is presumed) of a heart attack. But the show must go on. Until, that is, a leading theatre critic – and old rival of Monty’s – is killed backstage. Are those associated with the production being picked off one by one? Budding journalist Daphne King takes up the case…
A murder mystery that genuinely surprised me! I loved our main character, the writing was super engaging and I felt that the mystery was planned and structured really well. I found great satisfaction in watching everything fall into place. This was a super fun mystery to help end the year on.
- Title: The ABC Murders
- Author: Agatha Christie
- Series: Hercule Poirot #11
- Rating: 5 stars
Plot: When Alice Asher is murdered in Andover, Hercule Poirot is already looking into the clues. Alphabetically speaking, it’s one letter down, twenty-five to go. There’s a serial killer on the loose. His macabre calling card is to leave the ABC Railway Guide beside each victim’s body. But if A is for Alice Asher, bludgeoned to death in Andover, and B is for Betty Bernard, strangled with her belt on the beach at Bexhill, who will then be Victim C? More importantly, why is this happening?
So this is a very funny situation as Christie’s previous book was noted as being one of the worst books I read in 2022 yet her follow up book is here in 4th place on my Top 5 Murder Mysteries of 2022 list. For me this mystery was just incredibly engaging, I enjoyed all the characters we meet, they felt more detailed and layered. Poirot was amazing as per usual and the ending was super satisfying and masterful.
- Title: The Three Dahlias
- Author: Katy Watson
- Series: Dahlia Lively #1
- Rating: 5 stars
Plot: In attendance: the VIP fans, staying at Aldermere; the fan club president turned convention organizer; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves – and the three actresses famous for portraying Lettice’s 1930s detective, Dahlia Lively. National treasure Rosalind King, from the original movies. TV Dahlia for thirteen seasons, Caro Hooper. And ex-child star Posy Starling, fresh out of the fame wilderness (and rehab) to take on the Dahlia mantle for the new movie. Each actress has her own interpretation of the character – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences, as the crimes at Aldermere turns anything but cosy. When fictional death turns into real bodies, can the three Dahlias find the answers to the murders among the fans, the film crew, the family – or even in Lettice’s books themselves?
One of the highlights of my summer and the book that got me through the awful UK heatwave. An absolute love letter to the old classic crime books while keeping it modern and fresh. Great characters, the main characters and their individual journeys plus their interpersonal dynamic as a trio were astounding, a mystery that was just picture perfect version of a classic crime novel and a beautiful setting. What was there not to love.
- Title: A Master of Djinn
- Author: P. Djeli Clark
- Series: Dead Djinn Universe #1
- Rating: 5 stars
Plot: Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage. Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…
There is always one fantasy mystery that makes its way onto this list and I am super happy with my 2nd place choice. Quite a lot of the time with SFF murder mysteries I find that authors struggle with the balance of creating this brand-new world and building up magic systems while also spending enough time establishing the mystery and the suspects as well. Now this book did it perfectly. Clark created a super exciting and interesting world while also creating a masterful mystery.
- Title: Whose Body?
- Author: Dorothy L. Sayers
- Series: Lord Peter Wimsey #1
- Rating: 5 stars
Plot: The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder — especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What’s more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.
Now, I am actually talking about the entire series as a whole here. I listened to 3 different audiobook collections over the summer. these collections were the radio dramatisations for all the novels Sayers released in the Lord Peter Wimsey series and I ate every single novel up! I thought the performances were incredible, the narratives were super smart and I literally looked forward to my commute so I could listen to more. I was literally making any excuse to listen to these stories and I ended up buying a physical copy of the first book so I could read through the series all over again. Because of that, it made it too first place.