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5 Offbeat Mystery Novels to Spice Up Your Reading List

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

I love reading mystery novels, especially in the fall! After a while, though, they can all start to feel really similar to each other. If you’ve also recently fallen into a cycle of reading novels you can’t really get into, here’s a few books I recommend for getting out of that pesky reading slump.

THe Affair Of the mysterious letter by Alexis hall

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter puts a dark spin on the classic Sherlock Holmes novels, featuring a genderbent Sherlock Holmes and a fantastical version of London called Khelathra-Ven. As someone who holds the original novels close to my heart, I found this take on Holmes and Watson really fun and inventive. Hall’s characters take some elements from their inspirations, but they have enough of their own personality to feel new. The novel has wonderful flow and dips into the magical and macabre quite a bit. It’s an addicting read; so many wild things happen that it’s hard to be bored.

symposium by muriel spark

The focus of Symposium isn’t on the actual mystery. Instead, the plot mainly revolves around the conversations occurring at a dinner party. The majority of the story is spent picking apart the lives of the 10 guests at the party through flashbacks, with the mystery remaining an undertone and only truly surfacing at the end of the novel. Reading about a dinner party might not seem interesting, but Spark’s writing is witty and keeps things engaging. With a length of under 200 pages, it’s a quick, delightfully fun read!

Tuesday mooney talks to ghosts by kate racculia

Set in Boston, this novel’s mystery is a city-wide scavenger hunt to find a treasure hidden by a billionaire who has just died. The scavenger hunt is themed around the works of Edgar Allan Poe (which I loved as a fan of his work) and forces competitors to solve puzzles as well as confront their own personal ghosts. The novel balances heavy topics and the lightness of hope wonderfully and remains charming until the very end.

The Gallery by laura marx fitzgerald

The Gallery is a historical mystery set in 1920s New York City. It follows Martha, a maid working in the mansion of the Sewell family. She believes something is wrong with Mrs. Sewell, who has been acting oddly. Martha pieces together the solution with clues hidden throughout the mansion, primarily in the Sewell’s art gallery, hence the name. The novel is filled with twists that can be predictable at times but lead to an ending that was different from what I expected. Martha’s voice throughout makes it especially captivating.

The Murder of roger ackroyd by agatha christie

Putting one of the most popular novels from one of the most famous mystery novelists on this list might seem like a copout, but The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is, in my opinion, an offbeat mystery. The allure of this novel is that every time you think you have figured out who killed Mr. Ackroyd, new information will surface that sends you back to square one. This novel is also known as one that breaks almost every “rule” of a murder mystery. If that isn’t offbeat, I don’t know what is.

Surabi is currently a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh as a biology major. She enjoys writing about almost anything as long as it's exciting enough to hold her attention.