Detective novels are a subgenre of mystery and crime fiction that center around a police detective (or private investigator, or amateur detective) who investigates and solves a crime, often a murder. Hundreds of detective novels are out there, making it hard to pick favorites.
However, the best detective novels are evergreen, meaning they never go out of style no matter how long ago they were written. The following nine books, whose characters range from classic sleuths to more contemporary detectives, are the most awesome detective novels on which you can get your hands.
What is even more incredible is that many of these novels are part of a series.
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
While this is not the first book in Christie's series of novels starring Detective Hercules Poirot, it is one of her most famous novels and one of the most popular mystery novels of all time. Murder on the Orient Express was partially inspired by a renowned kidnapping and an incident where the real-life Orient Express was stranded in a blizzard.
Full of passengers, the Orient Express is stopped overnight because of a snowdrift. By morning, one passenger had been murdered in their cabin. Detective Poirot scrambles to find the killer before they can strike again.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the most famous novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that features well-known detective Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead, and it is suspected to be the work of a terrifying hound who can be heard howling at night. Holmes and Watson go to Baskerville Hall to investigate and protect the estate's heir.
In the Woods, by Tana French
Set in Dublin, Ireland, In the Woods is the first novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Each book in the series is told from the perspective of a different detective. In the Woods is narrated by Detective Rob Ryan.
When a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the woods, Ryan and his partner and friend, Detective Cassie Maddox, investigate. However, the case hits almost too close to home for Ryan. Ryan went missing 20 years earlier in those same woods but was later found covered in blood and unable to remember what happened.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
This book is the first in a series of over 20 books written by Alexander McCall Smith that features Precious Ramotswe, who owns the only female-run detective agency in Botswana.
This book follows Mma Ramotswe as she investigates and solves several cases, including one where a witch doctor has possibly abducted a little boy.
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
The Big Sleep is the first novel in Chandler's Philip Marlowe series. These books feature heroic private investigator Philip Marlowe. Marlowe finds himself in over his head when he is hired to hunt down the blackmailer of a billionaire's daughter.
The Bone Collector, by Jeffrey Deaver
Jeffrey Deaver's The Bone Collector is the first in a series of novels spotlighting former detective and criminal profiler Lincoln Rhyme. Now a person with quadriplegia, Rhyme comes out of retirement and teams up with Detective Amelia Sachs to track down a serial killer who leaves clues that might save his victims.
Along Came a Spider, by James Patterson
Along Came a Spider is the first novel in a series of books written by bestselling author James Patterson that features Detective Alex Cross. Cross is at the top of his game, but so is criminal mastermind and psychopath Gary Soneji. Soneji has outsmarted all levels of law enforcement, and Cross must outsmart him to get ahead of him and stop him from committing the crime of the century.
The Surgeon, by Tess Gerritsen
Medical thriller author Tess Gerritsen introduces readers to the gal pal team of Detective Jane Rizzoli and Medical Examiner Maura Isles in The Surgeon. Rizzoli and her partner, Thomas Moore, along with Isles' help, are after a serial killer who is torturing and killing women- with surgical precision.
As Moore and Rizzoli get deeper into the case, they realize they are possibly dealing with a copycat killer who is shadowing the moves of a killer who died at the hands of one of his victims.
Still Life, by Louise Penny
Still Life is the first book of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, set in a Canadian township called Three Pines and written by Louise Penny.
The body of a well-liked former teacher is found in the woods on Thanksgiving Day. At first, the death seems accidental, but Inspector Gamache soon finds out that it's not. Gamache is determined to discover who among the cozy township's residents is a murderer - and why.