Timeless Crime Novels - book and glass loupe

Timeless Crime Novels That Will Awaken Your Inner Detective

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Do you fancy yourself a Sherlock?

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Are you an amateur inspector on the snoop? These timeless crime novels will awaken your inner detective and have you sat on the edge of your seat for the final whodunnit reveal…

Timeless Crime Novels That Will Awaken Your Inner Detective

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The Big Sleep book cover

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep, earned him the title of master of the ‘hard-boiled’ detective novel, with his protagonist PI Philip Marlowe drawing in audiences from all over the world. Set in Los Angeles, The Big Sleep follows Marlowe as he is hired by wheelchair-bound General Sternwood to discover who is blackmailing him. Marlowe has to quickly become acquainted with the family, including Sterwood’s two wild daughters, who have a habit of prowling LA’s seedy backstreets. The trouble only deepens, however, when someone is found dead.

Penguin, from £5.80, wob.com

The Hound of the Baskervilles book cover

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

One of Britain’s most iconic literary detectives (and the only one with a tube station dedicated to his legacy) is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the pioneer of observation, deduction, forensic science and logical reasoning. In the detective’s most famous story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, crime thriller meets classic horror when a body is found in the moors alongside rumours of a terrible beast. It is up to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the mystery before anyone else meets such a gruesome fate.

Penguin Classics, from £4.80, wob.com

A Rage in Harlem book cover

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

Described as one of the greatest finds in American crime fiction, Chester Himes’ Harlem Detective series follows two black NYPD detectives, Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson, as they patrol the roughest streets of the city. A Rage in Harlem sees a man give up his life saving to a con man in the name of love, steal what he lost from his boss and then lose it again at the craps table. He turns to his twin brother Goldy, who earns a living (disguised as a Sister of Mercy) selling tickets to Heaven in Harlem. Together, they plot their revenge.

Penguin, from £7.00, wob.com

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd book cover

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Any fan of crime has likely looked into Agatha Christie’s portfolio of page-turning novels. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is hailed as one of Christie’s most daring crime stories, and features an early appearance of the much-celebrated detective Hercule Poirot. The story unravels the murder of Roger Ackroyd, a man who knew too much for his own good.

Generic, £8.99, waterstones.com

Blanche on the Lam book cover

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely

Awarded the Agatha Award, Anthony Award and Macavity Award for best first novel, Blanche on the Lam is the debut novel of murder mystery writer Barbara Neely. This ground-breaking crime novel follows Blanche White, a sassy African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when her employer stiffs her, Blanche is forced to go on the lam and hide out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home – a plan that falls through when someone is murdered, and Blanche comes out as prime suspect.

Brash Books, from £4.99, wob.com

The Moonstone book cover

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

One of the most popular mystery novels of the nineteenth century (and said to be the blueprint for detective fiction), The Moonstone has been described by T.S. Eliot as ‘the first, longest and the best of the modern English detective novels’. The giant yellow diamond known as the Moonstone is a tempting prize for many, and when it goes missing from the room of Rachel Verinder on the night of eighteenth birthday it sparks an investigation that reveals more than one dark secret.

Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller, from £3.49, wob.com

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