• Home

I’m a big reader and read a lot of different genres — the classics, fantasy, non-fiction — but there’s just something about a good mystery novel. And there’s nothing that can get me out of a reading slump like a chilling whodunnit.

I also have a few necessities while reading: a coffee or glass of wine, blankets (whether you’re on the couch at home or a Muskoka chair by the lake), and if you’re at home, flowers or a lit candle to keep you company (or if you’re like me, my boyfriend’s cat). When it comes to reading mysteries, one can’t always guarantee a thunderstorm, which is why having some ambient music or rain sounds playing is a must as well!

I always find at least one mystery or thriller in my library stack because they’re intriguing, easy to read, and a fun puzzle to try to solve.

Next time you find yourself vaguely wanting to read but not having the strength, pick up one of these:

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Plot summary: 1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr and Mrs U.N. Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realise they may be harbouring a murderer among their number.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

Why I suggest it: My favourite Agatha Christie novel! I’ve read a few of her books, Christie being the Queen of Mystery, but this one is definitely a must read. This is her most popular book and once you’ll read it you’ll understand why. Plot twist city!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Plot summary: EVERY DAY THE SAME. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Why I suggest it: I read this book when the movie came out because of all the buzz around it — it was either hyped or called overrated — so I needed to see what all the fuss was about. I personally love this book and have read it at least three times! This is one of the first popular mystery novels with an unreliable narrator but what I love most about this book is the way the protagonist describes her feelings — shame, envy, sadness. I could really empathize with her. Give it a try and let me know what you think! I was let down by the film despite being an Emily Blunt fan so if you’ve already seen the movie, still give the book a try.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Plot summary: My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

Why I suggest it: This book made me an Alice Feeney STAN. I remember being mind blown by the plot twist in this one, and it’s the reason I’ll read anything by Alice Feeney and recommend her to all mystery lovers. Please please please pick this up!

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena 

Plot summary: Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unravelling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Why I suggest it: One of my favourite authors, and she’s Canadian! I read (and buy) anything by Shari Lapena. She has a bit of an almost detached third-person style of writing that intrigues me and this book was her first mystery. It’s written so well I’ve read it at least three times as well. Yes, I like re-reading. 

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Plot summary: HE LOVES YOU: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

AND SHE’LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

Why I suggest it: One of my favourite reads ever! The plot twist is amazing, but what I actually love most about this book is learning about the characters’ lifestyles — going to pubs, ordering takeout, the usual UK vibes. I’ve read this one twice and will definitely read it again.

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

Plot summary: Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.

From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighbourhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby.

When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighbourhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighbourhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.

Why I suggest it: I first read this through Audible and loved it so much I bought a copy years later to read the physical book. Hepworth’s books are usually more domestic suspense than thrillers, but her writing is witty and she intertwines characters and plot lines in all of her books. If you like Liane Moriarty you will definitely like Sally Hepworth (and vice versa). 

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

Plot summary: What happened to Amanda Holmes?

After the sudden death of their parents, the MacAllister children return to the run-down summer camp where they spent their childhood. The four sisters and their elder brother haven’t all been together at Camp Macaw in over twenty years—ever since a tragic and mysterious accident.

Over the course of the Labour Day weekend, the siblings must determine what to do with the property, now worth millions. But a stunning condition of their father’s will compels them to face their past—and come to a decision that threatens to tear them apart forever.

Why I suggest it: First of all, it takes place in a campground, and I’ve realized I love books that focus on that summer camp lifestyle (that as a kid, I’d always wanted). This book has multiple POVs and every few chapters there is a chart outlining where every character was on the camp’s lot during what time to help you try to solve the mystery! This feature, along with the map of the property in the beginning of the book, made this such a fun read. I borrowed this from the library after enjoying a different McKenzie novel and definitely want to add this to my personal collection.

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

Plot summary: THE RULES
1. Listen carefully
2. Do your research
3. Trust no one
4. Run for your life

Harriet Reed, a novelist on the brink of literary stardom, is newly engaged to Edward Holbeck, the heir of an extremely powerful family. And even though Edward has long tried to sever ties with them, news of the couple’s upcoming marital bliss has the Holbecks inching back into their lives.

As Harriet is drawn into their lavish world, the family seems perfectly welcoming. So when Edward’s father, Robert, hands Harriet a tape of a book he’s been working on, she is desperate to listen.

But as she presses play, it’s clear that this isn’t just a novel. It’s a confession.

A confession to a grisly crime. A murder. And, suddenly, the game is in motion.

Feeling isolated and confused, Harriet must work out if this is part of a plan to test her loyalty or something far darker. What is it that Robert sees in her? Why give her the power to destroy everything?

This might be a game to the Holbeck family—but losing could still prove deadly.


Why I suggest it: My favourite of Steadman’s novels! The cozy, winter vibes of this alone will make you want to get your hands on this one. This is a great seasonal book, with events during several holidays so it’s a perfect read when you want to veg out after spending too much time with family — it’ll make you cut your family some slack for sure!

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Plot summary: This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years…

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it? 

Why I suggest it: I read the audiobook version and loved this extremely creepy book. Definitely more of a thriller than a cozy mystery so this is great for fans of something a little more hardcore. That being said, please check the trigger warnings for this book as there is a lot of abuse in every form in this one.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Plot summary: Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive…  if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, travelling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. 

Why I suggest it: I did not see this plot twist coming! This book will make you want to read more of Liv Constantine’s mysteries. It’s juicy, fun, and intriguing. 

The Au Pair by Emma Rous

Plot summary: Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.

Who is the child, and what really happened that day?

Why I suggest it: This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019! I still remember listening to the audiobook on my way to and from work in the rain. Whenever I parked I was so sad to turn off the app! This book may have some haters but I loved it and recommended it to my mom who also loved it. I hadn’t read a book like this in a while and I love learning about family lore, so if that or the plot sounds like something you’d enjoy, definitely pick this one up.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

Plot summary: Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter…

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Why I suggest it: I absolutely love finding a gem of a(n unknown) book in an unexpected place! I found this one in a charity book sale and bought it because of the plot summary. This is a great suspense novel and just like The Other Woman, I love the descriptions of lifestyle and food in this book. You’ll want to curl up on the couch with fresh flowers on the coffee table, coffee in hand, and read all weekend!

Other mystery authors to check out:

  • Gillian Flynn
  • Hannah Mary McKinnon
  • Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  • May Cobb
  • Riley Sager
  • Samantha Downing
  • Kimberly Belle
  • Lucy Foley
  • Ruth Ware
  • Stephanie Wrobel
  • Lesley Kara
  • Gilly MacMillan

Have you read any of these suspense novels? Will you give any of these a try? I can’t wait to update this list — there is always a mystery I want to get my hands on! And stay tuned for later this year when I’ll list my favourite winter thrillers (yes, it deserves its own category).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *