Top 6 Must Read Classic Detective Novels

Posted by Shubhra Saxena on

Are you one of those who loves reading novels of mystery and intrigue? Are you into a good whodunit that’s keeps you guessing till the end? If the answers to these questions is a YES, then classic detective novels are defiantly your cup of tea. In the blog well discuss the timeless works of literature who have stood the test of time and have continued to captivate readers with their intricate plots, well-developed round characters, and satisfying resolutions. Here are the top 6 must read classic Detective Novels that you simply can’t afford to miss.



The Hound Of Baskerville By Arthur Conan Doyle


Who was obviously expecting this masterpiece to be on top of our list? Well we can’t miss this classic work of art and the OG. It was first published in 1902 and its one of the most famous detective stories ever written.

The story is set in an eerie and foreboding moors of Dartmoor in England. It is a story of a curse that has haunted the Baskerville family for generations. Ooo spooky werewolf stuff coming in, brace yourselves readers! Let’s continue; The family is cursed by a gigantic and terrifying hound, which is said to roam the moors at night and kill any member of the family who ventures out.


Enter the protagonist a.k.a Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. Watson, (it’s elementary Watson) who are summoned to the Baskerville estate to investigate the strange happenings. The novel is a masterpiece of detective fiction, with Holmes using his brilliant mind and exceptional deductive skills to solve the case.


But wait the question is, what makes The Hound of the Baskervilles a classic detective novel? For one, it has a compelling and atmospheric setting. The moors of Dartmoor are a perfect backdrop for a mystery, with their wild and desolate landscapes, thick fog, and eerie silence. Wouldn’t recommend to add that In our travel list for sure, unless we really like werewolves.


Secondly, the characters are well-developed and interesting, especially the enigmatic and brilliant Mr.Holmes, he’s not a psychopath but a ‘High Functioning Sociopath’. Well not offend anyone here.

His keen observations, logical reasoning, and quick wit make him a fascinating character that readers can't help but admire.

Lastly, the plot is well-constructed, with twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. The suspense and tension build up slowly, and the revelation of the true identity of the hound is both surprising and satisfying. We’re not going to reveal, Swear.

In short, The Hound of the Baskervilles is a classic detective novel because it has all the elements that make a great mystery story: an atmospheric setting, well-developed characters, and a cleverly crafted plot. It's a must-read for anyone who loves detective fiction and wants to experience one of the best examples of the genre.



Murder On The Orient Express By Agatha Christie:

 We know there are no surprised so far on this list, how can Murder On The Orient Express be not on this list? Some of us are die hard fans of this classic detective novel and have criticised the movies based on this book a thousand times but still watch it anyways (revealing all your guilty pleasures here)

Hands down its one of the best detective novels of all times, this Hercule Poirot mystery is one of Christie’s most famous and beloved works.

The classic whodunit keeps the readers on the edge of their seat till the very end.

The novel follows the famous detective, Hercule Poirot, as he investigates the murder of a wealthy American businessman aboard the luxurious Orient Express train.


What makes this novel so compelling is the intricate web of clues and red warning flags that Christie weaves throughout the story. Mainly we think that’s what keeps us on the edge as we try to guess the clues before Poirot.

As he interviews each of the passengers on the train, it becomes clear to us that everyone has something to hide and could have a motive for the murder. At this point everyone is a suspect. The tension builds as the detective uncovers more and more evidence, leading to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.

Again, not going to reveal anything here.

In addition to the intricate plot, Murder on the Orient Express is also a masterclass in character development. Each passenger on the train is vividly portrayed, with their own distinct personalities and quirks. As the story unfolds, we readers find ourselves drawn into the lives and secrets of these fascinating characters.


Overall, Murder on the Orient Express is a must-read detective novel for anyone who loves a good mystery book. With its clever plot, memorable characters, and surprising twists, it is a true classic that has stood the test of time.



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

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith is a classic must-read detective novel for a number of reasons. Firstly, this best-seller mystery novel features a unique and captivating protagonist in the form of Precious Ramotswe, the first female detective in Botswana. All of those who were waiting for a strong female protagonist in the list, here, we’ve satisfied you :D. Ms. Ramotswe is a strong, intelligent, and compassionate character who uses her insight and intuition to solve cases in a way that is both practical and empathetic.

Secondly, the novel provides a window into the rich and vibrant culture of Botswana, exploring themes such as tradition, family, and community. This adds an extra layer of depth and interest to the story, making it more than just a simple whodunit.

Finally, the novel is written with a light and humorous touch that makes it a joy to read. McCall Smith has a gift for characterization and his descriptions of the people and places in Botswana are both vivid and entertaining.

Overall, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a classic must-read detective novel that combines mystery, culture, and humor in a way that is both engaging and enlightening.




The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco

This sprawling and ambitious novel is set in a medieval monastery and features the character of William of Baskerville, we’re really into the Baskerville, I hope we don’t add that to our travel list at the end of this blog*fingers crossed*

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco is a unique and intriguing best-seller detective novel that combines elements of historical fiction, philosophy, mystery & crime.

Set in a 14th century Italian monastery, the story follows the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and his young apprentice Adso of Melk as they investigate a series of murders that have taken place within the monastery walls.

Talk about being unique Mr. Eco!

What sets this mystery novel apart from other detective stories is its intricate and detailed exploration of medieval philosophy and theology, as well as its richly evocative depiction of life in a medieval monastery. Eco's prose is both intellectual and atmospheric, capturing the essence of the era with vivid descriptions of the architecture, clothing, and daily routines of the monks.

One Fun Fact about Umberto Eco is that he was a well-known medievalist and semiotician, in addition to being a celebrated novelist.

At the same time, the novel is also a gripping mystery, with a complex and well-crafted plot that keep us readers guessing until the very end. The characters are memorable and fully realised, with William of Baskerville serving as a particularly compelling and nuanced protagonist.



The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler:

 The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler is considered one of the best murder mystery novels due to its captivating writing style and complex plot. Chandler's writing style is known for its hard-boiled and gritty edge, which perfectly captures the eerie underbelly of Los Angeles in the 1930s taking you back In time with its elaborate descriptions and narrative style.

The character of Philip Marlowe, the private investigator who takes on the case in the novel, is a classic example of the noir anti-hero, with his cynical worldview and willingness to bend the rules to achieve his goals.

FUN FACT: The concept of Anti-hero dates back to Ancient Greek literature, where the main character would have heroic characteristics but also significant flaws and ethical challenges.  


The plot of "The Big Sleep" is intricate and full of twists and turns, with multiple murders, mistaken identities, and tangled webs of deceit. Chandler's ability to keep the reader guessing until the very end, while still providing plenty of clues along the way, is a testament to his skill as a writer. The book is also notable for its themes of corruption and decadence in high society, which were groundbreaking at the time of its publication in 1939.


Overall, "The Big Sleep" is a classic murder mystery novel that still holds up today as a gripping and thrilling read. It has been adapted multiple times for film and television, solidifying its place in the pantheon of great detective fiction.


The Girl with The Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson:


"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson is a must-read classic detective novel because it combines elements of a classic whodunit mystery with contemporary social commentary. The story follows journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander as they investigate the disappearance of a wealthy patriarch's niece.

What sets "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" apart is its complex characters and exploration of social issues such as corporate corruption, sexual violence, and the mistreatment of women. Larsson's writing style is engaging and suspenseful, keeping readers on the edge of their seats throughout the story.

The novel has received critical acclaim for its portrayal of Lisbeth Salander, a strong and unconventional female character who defies traditional gender roles. The novel has also been adapted into a successful film series, further cementing its status as a classic detective novel.

“The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo” is a thrilling mystery novel that combines classic detective elements with a modern outlook. The fans of the mystery horror novels are die hard fans of the series.

Did You Know  Before the book was published, Larsson had reportedly planned to write a series of ten books featuring the character Lisbeth Salander. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could finish the fourth book in the series, and his plans for the remaining books were never made public. Despite this, the series has been continued by another author, David Lagercrantz, who has written three additional books following the original trilogy.


If you want to explore the mystery thriller genre books more or are looking for amazing young adult books then check out’s Mystery box concept where you can buy books in bulk online according to your preferred genre.

Or explore their site and go to the mystery/horror category where you can find all the books listed above and more!

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