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Mystery Fiction by Category

Mystery Fiction by Category

Mystery fiction, also frequently referred to as Detective Fiction through the years, features many popular sub-categories. These range from dark, moody Psychological Suspense to the relatively tame genre known as Cozies — where all the murders happen “off-stage” and there’s very little blood and gore. The sleuths in these series can range from Amateur Detectives (bookstore owners, wilderness guides, nurses, barmaids, etc.) to hard-boiled Private Eyes (Mike Hammer, Philip Marlowe, V.I. Warshawski, etc.) to hard-working cops in Police Procedurals (Insp. Thomas Lynley, Joe Gunther, the officers of the 87th Precinct, etc.). Whether you’re looking for a mystery set in Ancient Rome (Lindsey Davis) to the day after tomorrow (J.D. Robb’s “Eve Dallas” series), you’ll find a mystery that’s right up your alley.

This booklist features 20 recommended authors (or titles) in each of ten popular mystery fiction categories. You may also wish to visit the Mystery section of our Genre Booklist Index, where you’ll find over 50 additional mystery-themed booklists. You’ll find dozens of recommended titles throughout the BookGuide site, but if you’re still not finding what you’d like, please don’t hesitate to stop and talk to a librarian…we’d be happy to come up with other suggestions!

All books in this list which are owned by Lincoln City Libraries are hotlinked to their entries in our library catalog, so that you may check on their current availability.


The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Post Mortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Mystery at Hunting’s End by Mignon Eberhart
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane
Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

Amateur Detectives

Lydia Adamson
Margery Allingham
George Baxt
Laurien Berenson
Lilian Jackson Braun
Susan Conant
Mary Daheim
Barbara D’Amato
Mignon Eberhart
Dick Francis
Charlaine Harris
Ellen Hart
Wendy Hornsby
Harry Kemelman
Laurie R. King
Emma Lathen
Carol Ann O’Marie
Ellery Queen
Dorothy Sayers
S.S. Van Dine


Richard Barth
M.C. Beaton
Simon Brett
Emily Brightwell
Heron Carvic
Agatha Christie [Miss Marple series] Alisa Craig
Mary Daheim
E.X. Ferrars
“Jessica Fletcher” and Donald Bain
Dorothy Gilman
Jean Hager
Carolyn G. Hart
Jane Langton
Elizabeth Lemarchand
Stefanie Matteson
Stuart Palmer
Elizabeth Peters
Patricia Houck Sprinkle
Patricia Wentworth

Hard-Boiled / Private Eye

Linda Barnes
Lawrence Block
James Lee Burke
Raymond Chandler
George S. Chesbro
Erle Stanley Gardner
Sue Grafton
Dashiell Hammett
Chester Himes
J.A. Jance
Stuart A. Kaminsky
John D. MacDonald
Ross MacDonald
Walter Mosley
Sara Paretsky
Robert B. Parker
Bill Pronzini
Mickey Spillane
Dana Stabenow
Andrew Vachss


Stephanie Barron [Regency England] Caleb Carr [New York – early 1900s] Lindsey Davis [Ancient Rome] P.C. Doherty [England – 1300s] Umberto Eco [Europe – 1400s] Kerry Greenwood [Australia – 1920s] Ray Harrison [London – 1890s] Evelyn Hervey [London – 1890s] Stuart Kaminsky [Hollywood – 1930s/1940s ] Laurie R. King [England – 1920s] Peter Lovesey [England – late 1800s] Vincent McConnor [Paris – 1800s] Miriam Grace Monfredo [America – 1860s/1870s] Anne Perry [London – 1950s/1890s] Elizabeth Peters [Egypt and England – late 1800s] Ellis Peters [England – 1100s] Bill Pronzini [San Francisco – 1890s] Kate Ross [England – early 1800s] Charles Todd [England – post WWI/1920s] Victoria Winspear [England – 1920s]


Steve Allen
George Baxt
M.C. Beaton
Rita Mae Brown
Edmund Crispin
Diane Mott Davidson
Janet Evanovich
Kinky Friedman
Carl Hiaasen
Joan Hess
Elmore Leonard
Charlotte MacLeod
Sharyn McCrumb
Gregory McDonald
A.A. Milne
John Mortimer
Stuart Palmer
Elizabeth Peters
Rex Stout
Donald Westlake

Police Procedural Series

Inspector Sloan by Cathrine Aird
Erast Fandorin by Boris Akunin
Virgil Tibbs by John Ball
Hamish Macbeth by M.C. Beaton
John Coffin by Gwendoline Butler
Harry Bosch by Michael Connelly
Inspector Morse by Colin Dexter
Inspector Thomas Lynley by Elizabeth George
Arly Hanks by Joan Hess
Dalziel/Pascoe by Reginald Hill
J.P. Beaumont by J.A. Jance
Inspector Rostnikov by Stuart Kaminsky
Roderick Alleyn by Ngaio Marsh
Joe Gunther by Archer Mayor
The 87th Precinct by Ed McBain
Jesse Stone by Robert B. Parker
Women’s Murder Club by James Patterson
Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin
Skip Langdon by Julie Smith
Inspector Grant by Josephine Tey

Legal Thrillers

David Baldacci
William Bernhardt
Jay Brandon
D.W. Buffa
Philip Friedman
Erle Stanley Gardner
John Grisham
Brian Haig
Stephen Horn
William Lashner
Phillip Margolin
Michele Martinez
Steve Martini
Brad Meltzer
Richard North Patterson
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
Lisa Scottoline
Robert Tanenbaum
William Tapply
Scott Turow

Psychological Suspense

Carol Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark
Anthea Cohen
Thomas Cook
Bill Crider
Jeffery Wilds Deaver
Joy Fielding
Celia Fremlin
Nicci French
Thomas Harris
M.R. Henderson
Patricia Highsmith
Jane Johnston
David L. Lindsey
Ruth Rendell
Mary Roberts Rinehart
John Sandford
Minette Walter
Stuart Woods
Margaret Yorke


Isaac Asimov [Black Widowers series] Robert Bloch
George Chesbro
Rosemary Edghill
John Farris
Randall Garrett
Barbara Hambly
Thomas Harris
James Herbert
Shirley Jackson
Dean Koontz
Mercedes Lackey
Ira Levin
George R.R. Martin
Richard Matheson
Barbara Michaels
Marlys Millhiser
Whitley Strieber
David and Amy Thurlo
Stuart Woods

Adapted from printed bookmarks and expanded for the Web August 2008 sdc | last updated April 2022 sdc