The Best Literary Mysteries of 2019

Toward the end of last year, I published a roundup list of The 112 Best Literary Mysteries and Crime Novels. While researching that list, I limited my search to books published before 2019. In order to keep my list up-to-date, I plan to release annual rankings of the best literary mysteries and crime novels published each year. So here are the best literary mysteries of 2019 based on curated lists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, 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:

  1. The favorite literary mysteries and crime novels from nine contemporary mystery and crime authors like Mark Haddon, Jenny Milchman, Laurie R. King and Derek B. Miller.
  2. 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 Mysteries of 2019!

5. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

A man enters an inn on the river Thames carrying the lifeless body of a young girl. A few hours later, the girl returns to life, prompting the local citizens to investigate who she is, how she died and came back to life, and how she is connected to them. This sweeping novel of mystery, folklore, science and community was a finalist in the Historical Fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards. 

4. The Chain by Adrian McKinty

In this Goodreads Choice Awards Mystery and Thriller semifinalist and Amazon pick for one of the best mysteries and thrillers of the year, a mother receives a phone call informing her that her daughter has been kidnapped and she must kidnap another child in order to secure her daughter’s release. McKinty’s diabolical thriller forces readers to ask themselves how far they would go to protect those they love. 

Cover images of the best literary mysteries of 2019

3. Conviction by Denise Mina

Shortly after her husband reveals he has been having an affair with her best friend, a woman discovers her past is linked to the mystery presented on her favorite true-crime podcast. Touching on issues of power, truth and media, Conviction was named one of the best crime/mystery novels of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly.

2. The Lost Man by Jane Harper

In this Goodreads Choice Award finalist for Mystery and Thriller, two brothers discover their third brother dead in the remote Australian outback. Unraveling this mystery behind his death means unearthing dramatic family secrets and facing the isolation of the desolate landscape.

1. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

A woman shields her sister from suspicion after she kills her three previous boyfriends, but when her handsome coworker asks for her sister’s phone number, she must face what her sister has done and what she is willing to do to protect her. This darkly comic novel about love, familial relationships and the legacy of abuse won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller and was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Award in the Mystery and Thriller category.