Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Crime Fiction

I am very excited by this Top Ten Tuesday because although I am not sure there are many people out there who haven’t ever read crime fiction. But I know there are people who are not that into it. So, these ten books are IT. They are the best crime fiction, the most representative, the ones with the best characters. And above all, the ones that will get you hooked on the genre.

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.-Β  This was the book that got me hooked on crime fiction when I was 12 and I have been trying to solve murders ever since. I think it is, along with Scandhal in Bohemia where Ms. Adler gives a masterful performance, the best Sherlock Holmes. You an now read it for free here.

2. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson.- This is the third on the Jackson Brodie series, but don’t mind the order. One of the main characters in this novel makes for the most inspiring women in crime fiction I have ever read. Maybe what you’re going through in your life is not as bad as a crime, but there is some wisdom here.

3. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell.- This is the first in the Kay Scarpetta series and was published back in 1990. If you have ever watched CSI, this novel will surprise you: no DNA, no mobile phones, no technology. Crime solving in the early 90’s was neither as easy nor as fashionable as it is said to be now.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.- The first one in the Millenium series, I almost didn’t read it because all the hype surrounding the books. How silly! It is one great example of Scandinavian crime fiction.

5. Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. Daly’s second novel was published this year and it clearly shows the author’s talent at including crime-solving in the domestic, middle-class English life. No interrogation rooms, no footprints. This is a mom and a wife fighting for everything she cares for.

6. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.- No one ever doubted J.K. Rowling’s writing talent, but her incursion in crime fiction shows that she is a wizzard of words in her own right.

7. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives by various authors. Ed. by Sarah Weinman.- Weinman has collected the best crime fiction short stories from the 1960’s to the 1970’s and has put them together. I had no idea there had been so many women writing crime short stories, but they were all amazing. It was one of the best books I read last year.

8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.- This is an obvious choice as well, but Flynn’s novel only has die-hard fans or die-hard haters. I am one of the fans and I think she wrote a very different, very interesting crime novel from two different perspectives.

9. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.- Could you imagine a crime fiction sequel to Pride and Prejudice? Me neither, but P.D James has made a masterpiece of it. Same was with Gone Girl, this novel will force you take sides.

10. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.- When teenager Grace is accused of killing her employer and two fellow co-workers, she finds herself caught in the 19th century Canadian legal system where you’d rather be crazy than guilty. Or both? Or none? Read this masterpiece and see if you can find out the truth about Grace.

Bonus! 11. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Morton’s novels have a gothic, 19th century feel to them even though they are set in the present. Usually, a family mystery or a crime needs to be solved by a non-professional young woman investigator.

37 thoughts on “Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Crime Fiction

    1. Ha! Now you’re one of us! Which was your favourite of the 5 you read? (so that I can recommend you something similiar, if you feel like it).

        1. Anything by Sherlock Holmes is really good, although I have a soft spot for “A Scandhal in Bohemia” because that’s where Ms. Adler appears.

          Regarding Kate Atkinson… There’s no one like her! But Atwood could be your cup of tea as well.

  1. The Forgotten Garden is one of my favourite books! Lovely to see it there as a bonus. I’m surprised I’ve read a fair few on this list, I’m not much of a crime fan any more (or maybe I am and don’t realise.)

    1. Well, this list is turning out to be more a realization that people DO read crime fiction rather than a recommendation list! I am glad it’s working this way, though. I loved “The Forgotten Garden”, but I loved all Morton’s except “The House at Riverton”, mainly because if felt a plagiarism of Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin”.

      1. I’ve not read The Blind Assassin, I’ll have to now to compare it to Morton (I enjoyed The House at Riverton as well).

  2. Alias Grace is a GREAT pick, well, everything by Margaret Atwood is a great pick. πŸ™‚ Also, YES Gone Girl – have you read Flynn’s other stuff? It’s dark but GREAT. I STILL need to read the Galbraith novels – good to hear they’re worth it. πŸ™‚

    1. Another fellow Atwood fan, hello!! And I loved Gone Girl too, but it seems it’s not that liked among other crime fiction fans. I think that if you like generally like crime fiction, you’ll love the Galbraith novels. Let me know if you read them (I still have to read The Silkworm).

  3. You know I’m not a big crime fan, although I did enjoy The Girl with Dragon Tattoo. Have you read Night Film?
    After reading your list, I think I’m going to try the Atkinson book and Alias Grace (which I already own).

    1. I have been recommended “Night Film” quite a lot, but no, I don’t even own it.

      I think you’ll love “Behind the Scenes at the Museum” by Atkinson. A feminist, mystery bildungsroman. An Alias Grace is the bestest I read in years.

      1. Oh that’s excellent. I read Keep Your Friends Close earlier this year and then instantly bought What Kind of Mother Are You (review still pending) but both were brilliant reads.

        1. I liked Keep Your Friends Close way more than WKOMAY, basically because of Eve. I have a soft spot for female psychopaths! If you liked the theme, there is an autobiography of a real female psychopath that is really, really good. I reviewed it last summer, it’s called “Confessions of a Psychopath” by E.M. Thomas.

    1. That’s quite a lot since it’s a pretty concise list, very specific! I hope you like those books you decide to give an earlier try πŸ™‚

  4. I haven’t read much crime fiction, but these look like great recommendations — I loved Cuckoo’s Calling and Gone Girl, so I’d definitely agree that they’re great books for people who haven’t read much of the genre before!

    1. You’re the kind of reader I had in mind while thinking up this list: you like some crime fiction, but you do not go straight to the “crime fiction” section when you enter a bookshop. I’m glad I got some titles right πŸ˜€

  5. Wow! There are a lot of great books on this list. I have been especially wanting to read “Gone Girl Gone” by Flynn. Maybe that will be the next book I read, after I finish “The Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule- a newly updated reprint of the chilling story behind one of the most notorious serial killers in history- Ted Bundy! Oh, by the way, for any Ann Rule fans out there, I just noticed Ann is updating her books to ebook format including “A Rose For Her Grave.” http://www.planetannrule.com/

  6. You have some wonderful picks on your list! Still, I am surprised not to see any Tana French, specifically The Likeness or In the Woods. If you haven’t read her, you must! Based on your list I think you would love her work!

  7. Ha! I wouldn’t say I read crime fiction but I’ve actually read (and really enjoyed) a few from your list! I think this is because “crime” as a genre sounds so old fashioned to me, like something my grandma would read lol. I don’t have “crime” as a category on goodreads…it looks like I put my crime reads under mystery or suspense. Is there a difference? I’m thinking a crime would have to occur in the book, but I can’t think of a mystery/suspense novel that doesn’t have a crime in it…?

    1. It happens a lot. I’m glad this list made you realize that you do read crime fiction. As for your question, I would include mysteries and thrillers as some kind of crime fiction. I don’t really know where to draw the line, but as long as there is a crime (and the definition here is wide) it’s crime fiction for me. Mrs. Peabody recently reviewed “The Lovely Bones” as crime fiction, which I’d never thought of. But it’s true, for me her review and her view on the book work. So, it’s up to you! πŸ™‚

  8. I was very pleasantly pleased with The Cuckoo’s Calling. I am on hold for The Silkworm now. Can’t wait for more Cormoran Strike. One of my favorite crime series is The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Thanks for sharing! ~Megan
    http://wp.me/pzUn5-25N

    1. I haven’t read any Tana French yet and I feel really bad about it because you all love it. I guess I need to buy the first installment as soon as possible.

      And yes, I think J.K. Rowling is such a great writer, she could write anything! I’m really glad her Cormoran Strike series are making crime fiction more popular among her Harry Potter fans πŸ™‚

  9. Hey, I’ve read three books on this list! I’m feeling it’s time to read some more Doyle, though. And one of these days I’ll finally read another P.D. James…

  10. I do think of myself as a crime reader and yet I’ve only read two of these – The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It justs shows how vibrant the genre is that there are so many goods book out there – I bet every one of us would have totally different lists. It’s almost impossible – no, completely impossibly – to read all the great crime books that come out every year now. We’re quite spoiled…

    1. Totally, Fictionfan. This list was more of a recommendation list, or even a you-read-more-crime-fiction-than-you-think list.

      And yes, I think crime fiction fans are the luckiest right now. There are some many good titles and author being published every month. I love supporting, meeting and reading new authors!

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