It has been just over three years since I published my definitive list of The 112 Best Literary Mysteries and Crime Novels. Obviously, more great literary crime titles are published every year, and 2022 was no exception. So here is the best literary crime fiction of the year based on curated lists from The New York Times, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly and more, suggestions from readers on Goodreads, and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon.
To complement these rankings, I have created two pieces of bonus content:
- The favorite literary mysteries and crime novels from nine contemporary mystery and crime authors like Mark Haddon, Jenny Milchman and Derek B. Miller.
- A one-page PDF shopping guide to The Best Literary Mysteries and Crime Novels.
You can access both of these free resources using the form below. And now, on with The Best Literary Crime Fiction of 2022!
5. City on Fire by Don Winslow
In the 1980s, the Irish and Italian crime empires together control all of New England. But when a beautiful woman comes between them, she touches off a war that will set a city on fire. Amazon named the first novel in Winslow’s planned trilogy one of the best books of the year.
4. The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
De Gramont reimagines the famous eleven-day disappearance of mystery author Agatha Christie, with Christie and her husband’s mistress arriving at the same spa hotel where two guests turn up dead. The Christie Affair was a New York Times bestseller and made The Washington Post’s list of the best thrillers and mysteries of 2022.
3. The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
In this novel of alternating timelines, two women, a generation apart, find themselves linked by a community’s prejudices and an unsolved, decades-old mystery. The Last House on the Street was a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller and a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist in historical fiction.
2. Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
The story of a convicted serial killer awaiting execution as told by the women in his life: his mother, his wife’s sister, the homicide detective who tracked him down. The New York Times called Notes on an Execution the best crime novel of 2022, and it was a semifinalist in fiction in the Goodreads Choice Awards.
1. The Maid by Nita Prose
A devoted hotel maid who struggles with social skills discovers the dead body of an infamous and wealthy guest and soon becomes the lead suspect in a murder investigation. Amazon, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Newsweek and She Reads named Prose’s debut one of the best books of the year, and it won the Goodreads Choice Award for best mystery and thriller. The Maid also earned the Ned Kelly Award for Best International Crime Fiction and was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel. Given its critical and popular reception, it is not just the best literary crime fiction book of 2022. It would have also ranked 105th on my original list of The 112 Best Literary Mysteries and Crime Novels (ahead of Eileen and behind The Book of Evidence).
*-I have decided to exclude from these annual updates books that are prequels or sequels to novels that appeared on one of my previous lists in this genre. This year, Robert Galbraith’s The Ink Black Heart (a sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling) was a critically and popularly acclaimed novel which fit that description.