Thursday, May 3, 2012

Read Outside the Box: Best Adult Mysteries

In March, I fell in love with a book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I read the 600 page biography in 5 days, having to force myself to put the book down for little things like sleep and showering. I wanted to shout praises for this book from the rooftops. I wanted to extol my adoration on my blog. But I review YA fiction, which this definitely is not. Of course, I could make an exception, but I've chosen a niche for my blog and I stick to it, with the exception of a few cross-over novels. So the idea for Read Outside the Box formed: a monthly feature in which I - along with my readers - will recommend favorite books outside the YA fictional genre. After all, if you're old enough to read YA, you're old enough (or at least capable) of reading other things as well. YA is simply one of many genres that many of us enjoy reading.

Mysteries is one of the few genres that I've never liked. That doesn't mean that I haven't like a book here and there, but there's a good chance that if a book is a mystery I won't like it. That's ridiculous, because every book is a mystery - there's some sort of dilemma and you have to read to the end of the book to discover how it turns out. But for whatever reason, I usually don't like books focused on solving mysteries - especially crimes.

But I definitely like some. So I will feature a few mysteries that I've really enjoyed and then we'll move on to my readers' favorites. Following that, will be a list of my readers' favorites. Thank you so much to all of you who submitted books!!!

My Favorite Adult Mysteries

-Amusing series focusing on an 11 year old, chemistry obsessed girl in 1950s England

-The popular mystery series. It's sick and twisted, but once you get past the slow beginning, you won't put it down.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
-A literary mystery set in post-war, Franco-era Spain. A coming of age story.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
-Five students are somehow involved in a mysterious death at a prestigious New England liberal arts college

-A must read for all Pride and Prejudice lovers!

Readers' Favorite Adult Mysteries

Naked In Death by JD Robb - Petra
-Set in 2058. Involves New York City and Washington DC. My parents really like JD Robb/Nora Roberts.

-A medieval monk who solves crimes. What's not to like?

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Lindsay, and Small.
-Hard to go wrong with a classic.

Death at Bishop's Keep by Robin Paige - Small.
-Victorian England, archeology, and a penny-dreadful writer. Sounds fun.

-One reviewer said that this is perfect for CSI and Criminal Minds fans.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben - Dalene
-David is being framed for his wife's murder, but is she really dead?

-A retired Sherlock Holmes gets together with a teenaged detective.

-Jersey girl Stephanie goes after a bail jumper

-Izzy Spellman: Private Investigator. Part Nancy Drew; Part Dirty Harry.

-Abby owns a flower shop but becomes an amateur detective when some jerk rams her car.

-Lacy, a fashion columnist, looks into a suspicious stylist suicide.

-A jilted bride/private investigator looks into a cheating spouse/murder case.

-Sex advice columnist tries to get into a real news career and falls over a murder.

-Society columnist stumbles upon the body of an art collector.

-Abby is a psychic, but when she misses the death of a client, people get suspicious.

-M.J. is at a lodge full of ghosts who want justice.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie- Jenni
-Any mystery lover must read Agatha Christie.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - Jenni
-One of the best first lines ever: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

-Where True Blood began...

What are your favorite adult mysteries? Have you read any of these?

Any suggestions for next month's feature?


  1. I loved the Girl with Dragon tattoo series too. I have also enjoyed the Iris Johanson mysteries. I also enjoyed Allison Brennan mysteries too. ( local author). Another one is Chloe Neill Chicagoland vamps
    Great feature

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  3. I prefer the more fun girly type of mysteries! I highly recommend the Spellman Files series to anyone looking for a light mystery without a serious murder crime. There is never a single murder. It's all Veronica Mars type stuff like looking for lost people and cheating husbands. Mostly spying and researching. Her family owns a PI company in San Francisco and they are highly dysfunctional and it's hilarious. The rest I recommended did involved dead bodies at some point but they are not the series type. I get bored with the gruesome crime mysteries.

  4. That is such an awesome idea and great Feature!! I also need to read a little more outside my box. I also read some paranormal adult romance but I rarely review them on my blog. But, it's not like my blog is completely YA, just mostly.

    I might also need to read a little more outside my box of YA and paranormal Adult series. In the end, I loved reading historical fiction and mysteries!

  5. I really like the idea of this feature since I really want to start looking into more 'adult' books! And those mystery books you and the readers suggested sounds great! I might pick one out of this list for my next 'adult' mystery read!

  6. Wooow! Great picks (:

    I actually just got And Then There Were None in the mail today, such a coincidence! But I also want to check out Stieg Larsson, Alan Bradley and PD James. I absolutely love Sherlock Holmes! I've watched the movies with Robert Downey Junior and the BBC TV series - their both amaaaaazing. Haven't read stories though! Sad, I know :( I really need to get round to them.

    Great feature! I'm trying to cross over into some adult books too (:

  7. Great picks! I've yet to read an Agatha Christie book. *facepalm* Sad but true!

    I've love to see a favorite adult contemporary reads. I'm trying to find books in that genre but come up empty handed. Help!

  8. I too am not a mystery/crime novel fan. I watch a few crime drama on tv (NCIS, Bones, Sherlock) but reading books in the genre doesn't float my boat. The closest I've gotten has been Kelley Armstrong's Exit Strategy about a hitwoman who teams up with other hitmen to track down a former hitman who has decided to become a serial killer.

  9. Thanks for the list!! I have read several of these (I LOVE Shadow of the Wind) but will have to add the rest to my TBR list.

  10. I absolutely adore the JD Robb In Death series and the Stephanie Plum series, both are outstanding in my opinion. The In Death series has Roarke, and he might just be one of my favorite characters ever:) There's like 30 books in that series though, so I'm a bit behind. I think I made it to 16 before I got distracted by other books, and I need to go back!

  11. So many great mysteries. I generally prefer the silly ones (like Janet Evanovich) or the cozies (like the Blackbird Sisters, which is also funny). I was on a serious mystery kick a couple of years ago.

  12. What a fun post. Where do I begin -- Tell No One -- one of my favorite books EVER. Here's a post about my love for this book:

    Love the Flavia deLuce books and the Larsson books. Just read my first Zafon-I need to add this one to my list. Have been told many times that And Then There Were None is awesome - it's been on my list for a while. Happy Reading! Lots of new ideas for me!

  13. Whoa! This list is epic! Pretty much all of the ones I've read from it were amazing, even though I don't read much mystery.

    I'll be reading Rebecca in the next week or two, so I'm excited for that. I loved the YA retelling, New Girl.

  14. Love this list Alison! I've read about 6 or 7 of them. I have The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie sitting on my shelf, thanks for reminding me:)

  15. So many great books. I have a bunch of these on my list to try. I just recently read Sherlock Holmes and loved it. I really want to read Death comes to Pemberly and One for the Money and the Carlos Ruiz book. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I recommend The Faculty Club. It's a mystery thriller. I reviewed this one on my blog.

  17. I also have read a lot of these! I love Victoria Laurie and Charlaine Harris, they are two of my favorites! I too mostly read YA, but I have to read some "grown up" books too, the teen angst gets to you after awhile!

  18. I love the mystery genre! Some of my favourites are Agatha Christie - I've read several and Body in the Library is one of my favourites, Carolyn Hart - any of the Anne and Max Darling (Death on Demand) series (LOVE THEM!), Carol Higgins Clark - pretty much anything of hers, Sherlock Holmes, Lilian Jackson Braun, Nancy Fairbanks (culinary mysteries), Diane Gilbert Madsen, and so many more! This really is one of my favourite genres to read!

    Thanks for the list. I will have to look for some of these. I've heard Evanovich's mysteries likened to a roller coaster ride. That has to be good!!

  19. I am a HUGE Agatha Christie fan, and also love the Sookie Stackhouse, Stephanie Plum series :)
    I tried to read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, but it made me sleepy...

    Thanks for the list! Now I have a few more title to add my tbr :)

  20. I think there are some books that I need to put on my TBR. I've only read a few mysteries, but I've enjoyed all of them. I need to explore that genre a little more.

  21. I'm so happy you did a post for mysteries! This is one genre I've never tried out. I didn't even know where to begin or what made a good mystery. For some strange reason, those chick-lit/mystery hybrids have really piqued my interest. "Chick-lit" is another genre whose waters I've not tested. Anyway, I've decided to check out How to Murder a Millionare, Sophie Metropolis, Killer Hair, Mum's the Word, and Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye. Those book seem really fun!

    (suggestions for next month: historical fiction? "Chick-lit"? Short story collections?)

    - Jackie

  22. I loved The Pawn by Steven James. Have you read the whole series? I think his new book will be out in September. Harlan Coben is a new author favorite for me and has yet to disappoint. Love the entire list.

  23. I have read Sweetness at the Bottom of the
    pie and One for the Money and And Then There Were None. All great books.

    I have found myself reading more Epic Fantasy lately, it's a new genre for me.

  24. Great list, I LOVE mystery books! Agatha Christie's 'and then there were none' is an absolute classic, she was such a pioneer of the genre. Loved Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well.

  25. I will get to that IN DEATH series someday. I know I will. :)

  26. Thanks to this feature I am currently reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and just put Death at Bishop's Keep on hold at the library. I'm looking forward to future installments of this feature! :D


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