It’s October, which means two things: Fall & Halloween. For most, that means curling up in cozy sweaters, venturing (and then obviously instagramming) into an apple orchard, and settling down to watch Hocus Pocus. Or The Addams Family. I’m not picky but you have to love at least one of those movies. While my local CVS starting selling Halloween candy in August, I thought I’d wait to share some of my favorite “spookier” reads.
A Cat Among Pigeons by Agatha Christie
A thrilling classic from the grand dame of mystery. It was tempting to choose A Murder on the Orient Express, which still stands as the best-selling mystery novel of all time, but I’m actually horrified by the recent movie trailer. Cat is set in a fictional English all girl’s boarding school, and features (though briefly) features the detective Hercule Poirot, Christie’s most famous creation and the only fictional character to have gotten an obituary in The New York Times. There is crime, there is espionage, there is international conspiracies…basically everything that makes a mystery wonderful.
Pair with: Chocolate Milk (with a shot of bailey’s if necessary)
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
There are few lines in literature that are more universally recognized than Rebecca’s opening: “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.” In this suspenseful gothic mystery, a young woman marries an older man only to be plunged into the swirling secrets surrounding his first wife’s demise.
Pair with: Scotch. To keep you warm while reading about Mrs. Danvers (she’ll bring a shiver to your spine).
Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
Gaudy Night takes Harriet- everyone’s favorite ass-kicking mystery novelist– and her paramour, Lord Peter Wimsey, to Oxford University, Harriet’s alma mater, for a reunion, only to find themselves the targets of a nightmare of harassment and mysterious, murderous threats.
Pair with: A G&T or a Pimm’s Cup
In the Woods by Tana French
In Tana French’s debut novel, Dublin Murder Square Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox start working a murder case involving a young girl in the woods near archaeological dig. These are the same woods where twenty years earlier, Ryan was found hugging a tree trunk in terror, wearing wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of what happened to the two other children who were with him. In this psychological thriller, you’ll weave in and out of the present, trying, like Ryan, to figure out the mystery of the girl and his past.
Pair with: A beer. Because you’ll need one after diving into this suspenseful thriller.
Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint
A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder is the first volume in Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh series. Inspector Singh is a detective in the more classic British style– using his mind over body (which happens to be decidedly overweight). Singh is sent from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur to ensure that ‘justice is seen to be done’ in the case of a high-profile Singaporean ex-model, Chelsea, who married a wealthy Malaysian businessman, Alan Lee, now murdered outside the family home. It is a story of wealth against poverty/ capitalism against conservationism. Though this is my least favorite of the Inspector Singh Investigates- you absolutely must start here! You’ll be sucked into Singh’s reluctant (not lazy) brand of inquiry and antagonism.
Pair with: a Chai and samosa. In Singh’s honor.
Post script: I wanted to keep this at an even five books though I could go on for hours and hours about my favorite mystery novels. I debated for a long time whether or not to replace the “Inspector Singh” series with the “Inspector Puri” series. But when I noticed that all the books were written by women, I just had to keep it going….