The spooky season might be over, but we’re never quite done with with spooky reads here at The Savvy Reader. After all, what better time for a good whodunnit with gasp-worthy twists, shocking crimes, and a clever detective than – well, that sounds like a great combination for any old time of the year. That’s my story, detective, and I’m sticking to it!
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen. His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago. A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted? To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues. Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over. And no one is safe.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.
The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: “I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.” Yet in this exotic setting nothing is ever quite what it seems.
The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan
When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind. Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew. Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger
Twelve-year-old Rain Winter narrowly escaped an abduction while walking to a friend’s house. Her two best friends, Tess and Hank, were not as lucky. Tess never came home, and Hank was held in captivity before managing to escape. Their abductor was sent to prison but years later was released. Then someone delivered real justice–and killed him in cold blood. Now Rain is living the perfect suburban life, her dark childhood buried deep. She spends her days as a stay-at-home mom. But when another brutal murderer who escaped justice is found dead, Rain is unexpectedly drawn into the case. Eerie similarities to the murder of her friends’ abductor force Rain to revisit memories she’s worked hard to leave behind.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps. Now, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Shortly after Ellingham Academy opened, the founder’s wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The Next to Die by Sophie Hannah
A psychopath the police have dubbed “Billy Dead Mates” is targeting pairs of best friends, and killing them one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book. For months, detectives have failed to catch Billy, or figure out what the white books symbolize. The police are on edge; the public in a panic. Then a woman, scared by what she’s seen on the news, comes forward. What she reveals shocks the investigators and adds another troubling layer to an already complex case. Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar little books. A stranger gave it to her at a gig she did last year. Was the stranger Billy, and is he targeting her—or is it something more nefarious?
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
All of London is abuzz with the scandalous case of Frannie Langton, accused of the brutal double murder of her employers, renowned scientist George Benham and his eccentric French wife, Marguerite. Crowds pack the courtroom, eagerly following every twist, while the newspapers print lurid theories about the killings and the mysterious woman being tried at the Old Bailey. The testimonies against Frannie are damning. She is a seductress, a witch, a master manipulator, a whore. But Frannie claims she cannot recall what happened that fateful evening, even if remembering could save her life.
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
A woman crosses a London street. She is going into a funeral parlor to plan her own service. Six hours later the woman is dead, strangled with a crimson curtain cord in her own home. Enter disgraced police detective Daniel Hawthorne, a brilliant, eccentric man as quick with an insult as he is to crack a case. And Hawthorne has a partner, the celebrated novelist Anthony Horowitz, curious about the case and looking for new material. But as the case unfolds, Horowitz realizes he’s at the center of a story he can’t control . . . and that his brilliant partner may be hiding dark and mysterious secrets of his own.
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends. But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird
It’s 1890 and the newly famous Sherlock Holmes faces his worst adversary to date – a diabolical villain bent on destroying some of London’s most admired public figures in particularly gruesome ways. A further puzzle is that suicide closely attends each of the murders. As he tracks the killer through vast and seething London, Holmes finds himself battling both an envious Scotland Yard and a critical press as he follows a complex trail from performers to princes, anarchists to aesthetes. But when his brother Mycroft disappears, apparently the victim of murder, even those loyal to Holmes begin to wonder how close to the flames he has travelled. Has Sherlock Holmes himself made a deal with the devil?
Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride
Detective Constable Ash Henderson has a dark secret: five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived – home-made, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last. The tabloids call him ‘The Birthday Boy’. He’s been snatching girls for twelve years, killing them slowly, then torturing their families with his cards. But Ash hasn’t told anyone what really happened to Rebecca because if anyone finds out, he’ll be taken off the investigation. And he’s sacrificed too much to give up before his daughter’s murderer gets what he deserves…
And there you have it, Savvy Readers, our list of favourite murder mysteries! Let us know what other books have you getting our your magnifying glass and deer stalker caps in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader!
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