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

Everyone should have a murder mystery phase. And I mean everyone. In whatever form, murder mysteries are inherently captivating. And, if you’re like me—very easily scared, squeamish around all things blood and gore—then the suspense and focus on plot will be a welcome shift from the meaningless jump scares and weak storylines known to horror movies.

My TV Pick: Only Murders in the Building

The cast of this Hulu hit is reason enough to binge it immediately. But it’s also one of the most well thought out shows I’ve seen in ages. It features three building residents working together to solve a murder in their apartment complex, becoming the true crime podcasters we all wish we could be. Nothing fell flat or was at all predictable. And again, how can you pass up a show with main characters played by Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, and Martin Short?!

My Movie Pick: Knives Out

I’ve seen this movie several times, but even with every rewatch, it always surprises me. Watching Detective Blanc (played by Daniel Craig) gather clues about a death (or murder?) in a money-driven family fiending for the will is wildly entertaining, and the way it all comes together is insanely smart. The franchise also has a second movie, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, with Daniel Craig as the only returning actor. Both movies have great casts and inventive plotlines sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.  

My Book Picks:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I loved the style of the book. It’s written with police interrogations dispersed throughout the narrative. You get to learn about the characters’ backgrounds while also seeing how they react to questioning, which adds a whole other dimension to the story. The premise is unique for a murder mystery—parent drama runs rampant when a new mother and son move to town and shake things up. It’s an easy read and certainly a page turner.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

I’m convinced this one is impossible to put down. All the characters are interconnected in fascinating ways. A journalist investigates the cold case of Harriet Vanger’s disappearance with the help of a young, spunky, tattooed girl—they form an unlikely friendship and make some insanely entertaining discoveries. This one ups the scare factor a bit, and you get to uncover details about the investigators and suspects, alike.

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper

If you like nonfiction, this book is a must-read. I, on the other hand, prefer a good novel any day. But this book is beautifully written and reads just like any fiction story, sort of combined with an archive. It’s such an honest book, making important commentary on power dynamics in the academic realm while exploring a long-ignored mystery.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

No murder mystery article is complete without The Secret History. It is quite possibly my favorite book of all time. Richard enrolls in the tiny classics program at his university and joins a group of elitist characters who seem to be hiding something from him. He slowly works his way in, learning perhaps more than he wants to about the politics of the group. Down to the dark academia aesthetics and the gorgeous writing, Donna Tartt absolutely nailed this one. A must-read.  

You can’t go wrong with a good murder mystery, so I hope these picks live up to all the hype!

Sophie is a second year from Chevy Chase, MD. She is a double major in Philosophy and Cognitive Science at UVA. She loves reading and writing, reality TV (especially Love Island UK), Waffle House, and listening to all different kinds of music… typically while singing along very poorly :)