Top Ten Underrated Books in Crime Fiction

This Top Ten Tuesday is very special, because it has allowed me to rescue those titles that I have reviewed since I started this blog back in 2011 and that I think, crime fiction fans should read, but that for unknown reasons were not as popular or as well-known as they should. So, let’s begin the crime fiction archeology!


Top 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. Weโ€™d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

1. The Dinosaur Feather by Sisel-Jo Gazan.- This Danish crime novel takes place in a university and a PhD candidate in paleontology sees herself involved in the solving of a crime. Not your usual setting or your usual main character, but a very interesting book. Review here.


2. Case Histories by Kate Aktinson.- The first in the Jackson Brodie series, it presents ex-military man turned-detective Jackson Brodie. Since there is an arc in the character development in the series, I think this is the perfect place to start reading Atkinson’s crime fiction. Review here.


3. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson.- The second in the Jackson Brodie series, this novel explores what doing good and doing bad means and how, although we have a choice in live, past events dictate how and what we will choose. Review here.


4. Unwanted by Christina Olsson.- This Swedish crime novel presents the reader with a very dark and twisted case (beware!), but Olsson explores human psychology in-depth and presents us with a young female detective. Review here.


5. Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly.– I promise to stop raving about this book one day, but not until it becomes a best-seller. Daly takes domestic crime fiction to nowadays England and explores how a mother, wife and working woman does her best to detect. Review here.


6. Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (ed. Sarah Weinman).- Did you know that there are crime fiction short stories? And did you know that Gillian Flynn did not invent domestic crime fiction with Gone Girl? And that they are ace? Sarah Weinman compiles the best short stories from the mid-20th century. A must-read. Review here.


7. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell.– The first in the Kay Scarpetta series, published in 1990 and currently quite out-of-fashion. There was a time DNA in crime solving was a dream. And there were no mobile phones, or IP addresses. And they still solved crimes in a modern setting. Review here.


8. Chilled to the Bone by Quentin Bates.- I discovered Bates’ detective series last May and I fell in love with its main character, Gunna Gisladottir. It is no longer for a detective to be troubled, depressed, an alcoholic or a freak. Gunna is a working woman, mother and wife that tries to juggle it all together. Review here.


9. Linda, as in the Linda Murder by Leif G.W Persson.- A victim that was being trained to be a policewoman and a misogynist, middle-age policeman that investigates the crime. But what does ‘investigate’ mean apart from tearing the victim’s life apart, not always leaving gender and social class prejudices behind? Review here.


10 Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.– This is already a best-seller, but I insist on seeing behind the school and domestic setting and the three female characters. This is a great crime fiction novel, do not let yourself be told otherwise. Review here.



32 thoughts on “Top Ten Underrated Books in Crime Fiction

      1. I enjoyed it very much. I wasn’t aware it was a part of a series, though. I picked the book in a random book sale. I must look into the others. Which is the best, according to you?

        1. I wrote my dissertation on the second one, One Good Turn, but the book that made me fall in love with the series was When Will There Be Good News?, the third one. I suggest you read them in order though, there is much (and very interesting) character development.

  1. I read one of those: ONE GOOD TURN. I don’t agree that it’s under. I didn’t think it was good at all.

    It begins with a road rage incident involving one crazy guy beating a man with a baseball bat and another man, a wimpy writer of popular crime novels, knocking the crazy guy down with his laptop computer. From there we meet all sorts of seemingly unrelated characters who all become connected.

    It’s actually a pretty good and simple story. But here’s what I guess happened.

    My guess is that Atkinson had a pretty good short story. Someone (publisher, editor, agent, whoever) told her she had to give them a book-length novel. So she took this perfectly good short story and padded it. And the result is ONE GOOD TURN.

    Open this book to almost any page (except the last few), and you’ll see it. One line, occasionally one or two paragraphs, of the story sandwiched between paragraphs of padding. Whatever happens reminds a character of something else that reminds the character of something else. Then back to the story soon to be followed by more padding.

    I had intended to read another book by Atkinson. Now I won’t.

    1. Oh I will have to disagree since I wrote a 100-pages long dissertation on the moral relativism that sets all the crimes in motion.

      Thanks for commenting anyways.

  2. Great list! I was actually hankering for a bit of crime fiction some time ago but was drawing a blank (well, I did pick up Ian Rankin’s The Complaints ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Will definitely keep your list in mind, some of these novels sound really interesting!

    My TTT

    1. Thank you, Li. Can you believe I haven’t read any Ian Rankin yet? Do you think I’ll like his works (and if so, where would you recommend me to start)? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Interesting list. The only one I’ve read is Little Lies, but three of them are on my TBR already – the Paula Daly, the Quentin Bates and the Leif GW Persson. Must check out the Kate Atkinsons sometime too…

    1. Oh you HAVE to check Atkinson, FF. I think you’ll love her, at least her feminist and no-detective works like “Behind the Scenes at the Museum.” I am a die-hard fan of hers, so if you keep visiting me, you’ll get tired of how much I love Atkinson!

    1. Thank you, Cleo. I think Daly is quite underrated taking into account that she is writing the so-called “domestic suspense/crime fiction” that is so fashionable now. I do hope she gets recognition some day, meanwhile, I’ll be cheering for her (and I think you too).

  4. You know, I really don’t read very much crime fiction. There’s no particular reason why. I’ve enjoyed the few that I have read. Great genre choice. You’ve given me some ones I’ll look into and possibly add to my TBR list.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

      1. My authors are:
        Karen Musser Nortman Camping Series
        JINX Schwartz Hetta Coffey Series
        Karen Anne Golden Cat series
        Collen Helme Shelby Nickols series
        Alice Duncan Daisy Gunn series
        Marja McGraw Bogey series
        I see there are sixth.
        There should be reviews on my blog of their books. I like all of them most are 5 stars and 4 are new authors

  5. Thanks for the reminder that I’ve been wanting to try the Brodie mysteries! (Ever since I saw a TV adaptation, actually…which has been how long ago now?…)

      1. I have four other books I’d like to finish soon (one’s half-done & two are quick reads), and if I’m done with those before the end of October, Atkinson should be my next fall mystery read!

  6. How did I miss this post? Great examples and titles? I like the ‘real women, real situations’ slant on most of your titles (Paula Daly, Quentin Bates) and I’d never heard of the Dinosaur Feather, but, given that my older son wants to be become a paleontologist, this is a must-read for me.

    1. Awww, thank you for the love, MarinaSofia! I also like the real women-real situations plots because I find them inspiring. And The Dinosaur Feather? A must read. Actually, the author just got her new book out, and this lucky lady got a review copy! I’ll let you know if it is as good as her debut novel. Best of luck to your son, I bet he’ll become a well-known expert ๐Ÿ˜‰

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