8 Must Read Mysteries To Curl Up With This Fall

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By Casey Rose Frank

The cooler weather and shorter days that start in September, before sinking all the way in the spooky depths of October, increases my desire to swap my summer beach reads for something a little more mysterious. Mysteries and Thrillers are a treat year round, but there’s something about being bundled up in early evening dusk that adds extra ambiance to your read.

I believe that there is a mystery book for every reader, whether you prefer your mysteries on the cozy side or so taut you jump at every shadow. Here are some of my favorites from this year.

for Cozy Readers

If you want a 1950s #girlboss as a role model…


I can’t recommend the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley enough. Starting with “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie,” readers are introduced to young Flavia de Luce, a budding chemist in 1950s England. Though the protagonist is only eleven, the vocabulary, style of writing, and level of science involved keep the books from approaching young adult territory. Flavia is the kind of empowered girl character we should have all been growing up with. There’s time to pour a cup of tea and start catching up on the seven books already published in the series before Bradley’s latest “Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d” arrives on September 20.

Or, put down the paper and pick up your earbuds…


If you’ve never listened to audiobook, regardless of whether you are looking for a mystery or not, I suggest you start with “Her Royal Spyness.” Katherine Kellgren does a superb job of bringing a wide variety of characters to life in Rhys Bowen’s series about Lady Georgiana Rannoch. Set in the early 1930s, the series starts in Scotland, introducing us to Georgie, a minor royal with a sharp mind who occasionally stumbles across a dead body. Dashing Irish love interest Darcy O’Mara will quickly become your book boyfriend. The latest book “Crowned and Dangerous” arrived in August.

Interesting Settings:

If you don’t mind a nightmare vacation…


I have only been on one cruise, but one might be all I ever enjoy after “The Woman In Cabin 10.” My frustration at the terrible and sometimes irrational choices the main character made kept me from truly loving this book, but it was a sneaky, twisty read that still packed a lot of surprise within the narrow confines of a luxury cruise ship. Fans of “In a Dark, Dark Wood” will be happy to read more Ruth Ware.

If you need a cure for post-Olympic fever…


If you were dying for more behind the scenes info about the amazing girls of the US Gymnastics team, maybe looking for the kind of sinister dish you never want on Simone Biles, then check out “You Will Know Me,” Megan Abbott’s book that takes place in the world of elite gymnastics. By the end you won’t know what’s more unsettling, the lengths these girls go to be the best, or what their parents will do to help them.

For Fans of the Unusual and Unsettling

If you want some good ol’ tension…


“Behind Closed Doors” is one of the best reads of the year. A compact novel of concentrated fear about a woman who is being held prisoner in her own life and home. But how did she comes to be in this situation? And what will happen to her sister? I couldn’t put it down, reading it in a just a couple of hours. B.A. Paris cast a narrative spell over me that had me jumpy for hours afterward.

This one is definitely not for those with a fear of flying…


“Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley was a truly unique mystery, sharing the perspectives and histories of characters after they have died in the beginning of the book. Full of hints as to why the plane may have crashed, snippets of small ideas that later become defining moments, and examining the role of the media in determining guilt, this book is a compelling read, all the way until the shocking ending.

If you’re cool with not getting a lot of answers…


If you look up “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” on Goodreads, you’ll see that it has a relatively low score of 3.31. This is definitely a case of people either loving or hating the style of the book. I loved that Iain Reid wrote the book with the intent of allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about the ending.

And the most unpredictable read of the year…


Because I read a lot of mysteries, and because I’m familiar with many of the mechanics of writing, I find that I guess at the twists and turns well before they arrive. “I Let You Go” did such a good job of turning me around that I had to flip back to the beginning of the book mid-read to see how I had been so thoroughly fooled. All the stars and all the enthusiastic thumbs up. (If you check Goodreads you may notice a 2014 pub date, but US readers had to wait until this past May to pick up Clare Mackintosh’s book.)

Tell Us: What are your favorite mysteries of all time?

Casey Rose is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To find out how to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

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