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From Beginner to Sherlock: Your Path to Mystery Writing Mastery Starts With These Essential Reads!


From Beginner to Sherlock: Your Path to Mystery Writing Mastery Starts With These Essential Reads! on The Writer's Cabin

Essential Reading for Mystery Writers


Mystery writing—where we must place secrets behind every corner, keep readers in suspense, and deliver on mind-blowing revelations, twists, and turns.


It's a genre that demands the best of you. It requires that you always be sharpening your storytelling prowess and striving to become a master of intrigue.


Mystery writing isn't just about crafting a killer plot; it's about constructing puzzles that need to be put together, riddles to be solved, and well-developed characters that wear secrets like second skin. You have to somehow entice readers to turn one more page and then another, uncover one more clue.

I just described a lot of different skills that you need in order to write a mystery, but all of these can be honed by studying your literary predecessors.


There are countless authors who have managed to do what you're trying to achieve, and these people have created some of the most memorable detectives and criminals in history.


With every mystery novel you dive into, you uncover the subtle nuances of foreshadowing, the intricacies of planting clues and red herrings or other clever misdirections, and learn how to create an exhilarating "Aha!" moment when all the pieces fall into place.



With the list of books I will give you today, you'll learn to construct complex characters who hold their cards close to the chest and orchestrate plots that keep your readers guessing.


There is no better way to learn than to learn from the best.


Consider these authors to be your unwitting accomplices—I mean mentors—in creating a masterpiece.


Whether you are taking your first steps onto the mystery playing field or seeking refinement for the skills you already possess, the following list of essential reads for mystery writers will be your guide to unraveling the secrets of brilliant storytelling.

Here is the list of 15 essential mystery novels you should read if you are to write in the genre:

  1. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

  2. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

  4. In the Woods by Tana French

  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

  6. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

  7. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

  8. The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

  9. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

  10. The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji

  11. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

  12. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

  13. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

  14. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

  15. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


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The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe


The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue is a classic that holds a significant place in the history of mystery fiction. This short story, published in 1841, is often credited as one of the first detective stories.


What makes this a must-read for aspiring writers is Poe's pioneering approach to the genre, creating a foundation that lasts to this day. But we also all know that Poe was a master of atmosphere and mood that leaves readers perplexed and enthralled.


Here are just a few reasons every writer needs to read The Murders in the Rue Morgue:

  • Analytical Reasoning: Poe