The nights are growing longer; the days have become chillier. Which means it's the perfect time to dive into a good, thick classic mystery novel. With murder, drama, and chaos aplenty, these old-school mysteries are sure to hook you in. They're the kind of books that are best read with a storm raging outside, a single branch scratching outside your window, and the crackle of the fireplace. But even if you don't actually have any of those ingredients, these books are so potent that they bring their own chilling atmosphere.
Of course, as classics, the books on this list don't have the style or the gimmicks of contemporary mysteries. There's no DNA-evidence, and no computer technology wrapped up in the puzzle. Maybe some of the elements that were once strikingly new are now cliches in the genre. But, for me, this makes them all the more compelling. After all, they've stayed in the canon for a reason. A lot of the writing you'll find here is rich, meant to draw out the story and build layer upon layer.
So grab your lantern, your magnifying glass, and your gigantic curiosity — as Sherlock Holmes would say: "The game is afoot!"
1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie knows how to draw a reader to the edge of their seat. In this classic novel, a group of people are brought to a private island — and soon find themselves being killed off one by one. But who is the murderer... and who will be the last person standing?
2. "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe
This classic Poe story can be found in most of his collections, and sometimes as a stand-alone book. A dark, eerie story of revenge, this story is the perfect match for a spooky autumn evening.
3. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
One of the scarier Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles has the perfect, spooky atmosphere for late autumn reading. As Holmes and Watson traverse the moors, investigating the legendary "devil beast" said to haunt the Baskerville family home, you'll be pulled along on a wild ride.
4. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
This book combines Gothic horror with psychological realism. Set in Victorian England, this story begins when Walter Hartright encounters a solitary woman dressed all in white in the moonlit London road.
5. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
This psychological classic depicts the battle between good and evil for the soul of one man. But more than that, it's about the chaos that ensues as a town comes to grip with the violence that has plagued it. Even though you may already know the twist (or do you?) this book is an invigorating ride not to be missed.
6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
In this dark, romantic novel, a woman moves into the estate of her new husband, to find that its staff is obsessed with his late wife, Rebecca. And even more troubling, it seems that Rebecca's spirit may still be around...
7. The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rineheart
Sometimes called the "American Agatha Christie," Mary Roberts Rineheart knows how to bring the tension. The Circular Staircase is the story of a woman who takes a house in the country and ends up in a dangerous web of murder.
8. Laura by Vera Caspary
In this classic noir, a tough cop becomes obsessed with the woman whose death he's investigating. Haunting and filled with plot twists, this is a pulp mystery you'll eat up in a single sitting.
9. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
You can't talk about mysteries without Nancy Drew! In this, the first book of the Nancy Drew series, Nancy searches for a missing will.