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5 of the Best Murder Mystery Classics

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Snuggle up with these classic crime novels

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Fancy yourself a secret sleuth? Try your hand at these classic murder mysteries sure to keep you guessing till the very end, we’ve picked out the best detective novels from the Queen of Crime to Conan Doyle’s iconic detective duo. 

8 of the Most Beautiful Classic Novel Special Editions

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the woman in white wilkie collins

Wilkie Collins if often cited as the first true mystery novelist, so he has well earned his place on this list. The Woman in White (Waterstones, £5.99) follows Walter Hartright, employed as a drawing master to Laura Fairlie, who becomes captivated by the dark mysteries surrounding Sir Percival Glyde, Count Fosco and the peculiar woman in white. Combining Gothic horror with psychological realism, this novel will keep you hooked till the very end.

five little pigs agatha christie

Poirot is truly one of Britain’s most iconic fictional characters. With an impressive 33 novels featuring the Belgian sleuth, it was difficult to only pick one to feature on this list – but Five Little Pigs (WHSmith, £7.37) it must be. This novel follows a retrospective murder case in which a husband was apparently killed by his wife. After discovering a letter in which her mother attests her innocence, their daughter is determined to prove her recently deceased mother’s innocence, and enlists Poirot’s help to do so. Poirot learns there were five others at the house that day, and in this closed circle mystery, he employs his ‘little grey cells’ to help him identify the real murderer.

rebecca daphne du maurier

In Rebecca, (Amazon, £7.37) a young woman embarks on a whirlwind romance with an older man, resulting in marriage. However, as they return to Maxim de Winter’s home, Manderley, she becomes tormented by his widow Rebecca’s persisting presence in the home – intensified by the obsessive housekeeper, Mrs Danvers. This hauntingly brilliant mystery will captivate you and stay with you long after reading.

the moving finger agatha christie murder mystery

It’s only right that the Queen of Crime gets two mentions. This time her other iconic investigator features, in the form of Miss Marple. Often thought of as a demure old lady, Miss Marple uses this to advantage in her sleuthing activities.  In The Moving Finger (Amazon, £6.99), residents of Lymstock are receiving poisonous letters accusing them of all kinds of scandal. When one woman is found dead from poison after receiving her own letter, it’s up to Miss Marple to uncover whether she committed suicide – or was murdered.

a study in scarlet arthur conan doyle murder mystery

And what would a classic murder mystery roundup be without arguably the most famous sleuth duo? One of the only four full-length novels, A Study in Scarlet (Waterstones,£7.99) is where Sherlock Holmes and Watson meet for the first time. Plunged into Sherlock’s world of shrouded mystery, Watson joins Holmes in untangling the ‘scarlet thread of murder’ which runs through this case, when a man is found dead in an abandoned house.

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