The 11 Best Mystery Authors Of All Time: An Extensive List

When you decide to delve into the mystery genre, many people start by looking into reputable mystery authors who have written good books.

Prolific mystery writers can take an idea, keep the plot a secret that you do not see coming, and build exciting and conflicting characters that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

There are crime fiction, detective fiction, and slow-burn mystery writers whose works borders on a thriller scheme.

This article will help you find the best mystery author for you, whether your interest lies in stories about a clever private detective or fast-paced psychological thrillers. Keep in mind there are many fine mystery writers out there, but you are bound to discover more with each mystery author you look into.

Reading Mysteries

Many mystery novels are part of a series that focuses on the plot, but the real point is character development.

Think about Sherlock Holmes. If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had only written one Sherlock Holmes story, it would have been a good read, but more than likely would not have been as famous as they are now. One story about a quick-witted and eccentric detective solving crimes that no one else can figure out is interesting, but a whole series featuring this detective is much more than that.

While there are undoubtedly bestselling stand alone mystery stories, most of them are a part of a series. People become invested in the conflict and resolution of these stories as well as the detective or curious investigator who solves the mysteries.

The following is a list of mystery writers who have created at least one series that readers thoroughly enjoy.

Top 11 Best Mystery Authors

1. Abby Collette: A Deadly Inside Scoop

Mystery writers often rely on the main character to carry on a series for as long as readers are interested in them. Aside from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his protagonist, Sherlock Holmes, one prime example is the new cozy mystery book by Abby Collette, called A Deadly Inside Scoop.

The Beginning of a Series

This story is about a young woman who takes over her family’s ice cream shop, and mystery ensues. The first novel in the series, Collette, has laid the groundwork for a group of books that readers expect will be full of interesting main characters and intriguing mysteries.

Audiences enjoyed the first book, which is vital to the fruition of the upcoming series. The audience that Collette was able to get with her first novel excitedly anticipated her next release.

2. Stephen King: Mr. Mercedes

King has been churning out books that readers love for decades and is no stranger to bestseller lists.

Known as the Master of Horror, it may surprise some readers that Stephen King is a multifaceted mystery author, and some of his bestselling work is outside the horror genre.

The Mr. Mercedes series is a hugely popular three-book series, with several tie-in books. It focuses on Bill Hodges, a retired detective in the small-town U.S.A. who is obsessed with a case he could not solve right before retiring from the police force. Someone viciously drove a large Mercedes through a crowd of desperate people waiting in line for a job fair. The murderer remains shrouded in mystery, and when Bill Hodges continues to investigate after he retires, the killer starts to taunt him and try to draw him out.

King’s Hard Case Crime Novels

King also contributed in the old Hard Case Crime Novels. His three novels are a sort of detective fiction and feature characters that deal with a crime that no one else can figure out and many people have forgotten about entirely.

3. J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series fits into many genres. Youth fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Harry Potter and his friends, Ron and Hermione, are novice detectives of sorts, trying to figure out what plan Lord Voldemort has hatched before he can inflict too much pain and suffering on good people in the wizarding world.

More than Just Mysteries

They try to solve the mysteries behind the strange events that happen at their school and around the universe they exist to stay ahead of the deranged madman set on world domination and destruction.

Full of life lessons about love, friendship, faith, and loyalty—this ragtag team of kids is known worldwide. What started with a single book by Rowling turned into seven full-length novels in a book series that were later on featured on the big screens.

Mystery Authors

4. Agatha Christie: Hercule Poirot

If Stephen King is the Master of Horror, then it could be argued thatAgatha Christie is the Master of Mystery.

With 66 detective novels under her belt, Christie has been writing about a character named Hercule Poirot in 33 novels, and her series is very well-loved. Christie was also known as being a best selling author.

The Master of Mystery

Hercule Poirot is a quick-witted detective known for understanding the criminal mind. He solves mysteries that are impossible to get to the bottom of, and he does so in an entertaining, thrilling way that has roped audiences in for nearly three dozen books.

Murder on the Orient Express is one of many books that were turned into a movie and showcased his detective skills.

5. John Grisham

John Grisham is a mystery author who wears many hats.

The author of such hits as The Client, The Firm, and The Pelican Brief seemed stuck on legal mysteries and courtroom drama stories. However, he also penned a mystery series for children that follows a thirteen-year-old novice detective named Theodore Boone.

Grisham has enjoyed success in the mystery, legal, and thriller genres, and each story he writes becomes one of those novels that his fans must read because they know it is going to thrill them.

6. Chris Abani

Chris Abani is a Nigerian-American mystery author who made waves with his 2014 mystery/thriller novel The Secret History of Las Vegas. This book tells the story of a detective on the verge of retirement who lends a hand to help track down a killer who is wreaking havoc in Las Vegas.

The Secret History of Las Vegas is a riveting and horrible story of not only a criminal on the loose but of a retiring detective’s attempt to do the impossible: catch the bad guy so that he can move on with his life after having spent a lifetime as a detective.

A diverse mystery author, Abani is passionate about bringing change to the world, especially in his native Africa. He is also a poet, public speaker, and essayist.

7. Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane is the author of several books you may not know were actually books. Some of his creations include Shutter Island, Mystic River, and Gone, Baby, Gone, that became famous movies. But yes, they were books written by Lehane first before they entered the theatrical movie space.

Lehane also wrote for television and film on shows like The Wire. A master of the psychological thriller, Lehane can take characters from many historical points and create novels and stories that leave the audience audibly gasping from the twists and turns he weaves into the story.

Known primarily for twists that the audience will not see coming, Lehane has created unforgettable stories with riveting characters. His books are a must-read.

8. Tana French: Dublin Murder Squad

Tana French is an Irish mystery author. Her novels qualify as thrillers and mysteries, and the series revolves around two investigators from Dublin, Ireland. Dubbed “The First Lady of Irish Crime”, French’s mystery series is a six-part group of books that do not have to be read in order, unlike many novels in a series.

She has also written a few standalone novels that qualify as mysteries and cozy up to the edge of the thriller genre.

Mystery novels

9. Walter Mosley: Easy Rawlins Series

Walter Mosley is a crime fiction and mystery author who has written a series about a detective in Los Angeles named Easy Rawlins. He wrote about a black detective, which is somewhat unusual in the mystery genre.

Doing More than Writing Stories

In the not-so-distant past, the characters in mystery novels were almost always white. Mosley, however, left the past where it belongs and has moved forward with strong black characters. Due to this, Mosley opened the door for other black crime authors to write a thriller and murder or crime novel featuring people of color as main characters.

Mosley is also the first black man to have won the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

10. Jenny Rogneby: Leona: The Die is Cast

In this thriller/mystery novel, a naked and beat-up little girl shows up inside a bank, scaring the staff and other customers half to death with her state of duress. Shocking the entire crowd, she then produces a weapon and successfully robs the bank. In this odd and captivating book, the mystery of the little girl criminal is riveting.

11. Chibundu Onuzo: Sankofa

An Amazon Editor’s pick, you can get a free book in audio form and enjoy this novel while listening to the narrator.

This is the story of a woman desperately trying to figure out who she is. In a situation where she feels very alone in a big world of mystery, Anna starts to go through her dead mother’s diary looking for answers when she finds out about her father that she does not know, from Jamaica.

The Search for Identity

Separated from her husband, she has nothing but time and opportunity to look for answers to the questions she forms after reading the journal entries from her mother. Since the people in her life are all dead, she needs to choose to leave things behind or investigate the past.

Where to Find More Crime and Mystery Authors

Websites and Social Media

To get a sense of what is available to you as far as crime and mystery novels go, you only need to visit your favorite mystery author’s website or social media page. Unlike the content of the author’s books, these sites do not hold secrets or keep things a mystery.

Instead, they can be excellent tools to find more content for other crime writers and get announcements of upcoming books, promotions, and new releases delivered right to your inbox.

Most mystery authors, famous or not, have a site or social media page to promote their work. Writers are also fans of reading and often promote other pieces of suspense and mystery by other authors. These are called blurbs, and they can be great ways to get suggestions from new writers.

Local Library/Book Club

Librarians can often point you in the right direction if you are looking for stories full of crimes, whodunnits, investigations, and mysteries. Ask your local library for the mystery section or suggestions and recommendations.

Library book clubs often read mysteries for several reasons.

Full of suspense, they keep the members coming back for meetings to discuss what happened in a novel or series. There are also so many books in a mystery series that one series can keep a summer book club busy for an entire summer. While most book clubs tend to avoid this genre, they can still likely recommend a book and author.

Friends and Family

Do you have family members who enjoy the genre or friends who are Christie, King, or Grisham fans? Ask for suggestions from people you know. You may be surprised to find out that members of your family enjoy such content, and of course, it also gives you someone to discuss books and writers with.

Online Search/Google

Remember that there is always the internet. Suppose you are not getting notifications to your inbox after following famous social media accounts of writers. In that case, a simple Google search for crime novels, mystery stories, a best thriller novel, or another such work can yield many results.

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