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Locked Room Mystery Books

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Before we get to the book recommendations, there is an important question to answer…

What is a locked room mystery?

Do you love playing the board game Clue, in which you have to solve a murder that happens while the suspects and victim are in one confined location? Or escape rooms where you must solve riddles and find clues to unlock the room before a timer goes off? Both of these fun games embody the concept of locked room mystery books!

This mystery genre rose to popularity in the 1930s, with authors like Agatha Cristie and John Dickson Carr putting together books that keep you guessing as you solve impossible crimes alongside the characters. While the characters aren’t generally locked in the room, they might as well be as they can’t seem to escape or solve the crime.

Three tilted book covers, center image black cover with yellow text reading Agatha Christie and a rope

Almost 100 years later, these locked room mysteries remain popular, with contemporary authors like Lucy Foley embracing the genre. So whether the setting is a moving train or a remote island, put on your detective hat and pick up one of these books to see if you can solve the case!

We selected a range of classic mystery stories and new release modern locked room mystery books, making this a great primer of the best locked room mystery novels of all time! 

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Locked Room Mysteries

Text reading 15 great Locked Room Mysteries over book covers

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17 Winter Thriller Books to Read in 2022 - Book Girls' Guide

Wednesday 26th of October 2022

[…] our recommended reads range from frozen Minnesota to the French Alps. With sub-genres like locked room mystery books and true crime, there is something for everyone on this mystery reading […]

Louise Forman

Monday 4th of July 2022

You should add: Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Jennifer L Price

Saturday 15th of January 2022

Love that you included "The Westing Game"--one of my favorites from childhood, too!

Steven Barge

Saturday 15th of January 2022

The thing is... hardly any of these are Locked Room Mysteries. The term traditionally refers to a crime where the victim is found locked inside a room with no way of being killed, but being dead all the same, such as in John Dickson Carr's He Would Have Killed Patience, or other equally impossible situations. It has been appropriated in recent years for books where the victims are locked in a location with the killer, but I don't understand why. No one refers to Death On The Nile as a locked room mystery, but it is as much of one as The Hunting Party by this definition.

I really wish this adoption of the term would just end. Being a fan of the genre, I've wasted too much money on books being advertised as such and finding that the publisher doesn't know what they are talking about.