Sit back, Off the Shelf readers, we’re getting meta here. If you love mysteries and you love books, then let us recommend one of our favorite genres: the literary mystery where books themselves are at the center of the puzzle. Here are 8 novels featuring whodunits and riddles with a bookish bent.
This post, written by Emma Volk, originally appeared on Glommable.
An academic farce and literary puzzle set at a writer’s conference at a small liberal arts college, SHRIVER is the story of a solitary divorcé who is mistaken for a famous but reclusive author of the same name. Unable to admit that he isn’t an author, Shriver participates in the conference under false pretenses. But it soon becomes clear that nothing is quite as it seems.
Read the full review of SHRIVER here.
The prestigious and fiercely competitive Mariana Academy has operated for decades under the rule of a powerful honor code, but when a secret society with a penchant for vigilante justice re-emerges, the school’s spotless reputation is threatened. Budding journalist Iris is determined to discover the truth behind the society’s rare book, called "Marvelous Species."
At a secluded artists’ colony with a tragic past, five talented artists have gathered to create masterpieces under the estate’s captivating spell. First-time novelist Ellis Brooks has come to write a novel based on the colony’s enigmatic history, but she soon becomes convinced that the story has a darker end than anyone knows.
Just as failed novelist and widowed father Patrick Rush joins a creative writing circle, a serial killer begins wreaking havoc on the city of Toronto. The killings seem uncannily similar to the tales of a disturbed young woman in the writing group, and Patrick turns her stories into a best-selling novel. But when fantasy and reality converge, Patrick realizes that perhaps the greatest crime is taking someone else’s story for your own.
In a dystopian New York City, an obsessive-compulsive veteran with an inconsistent memory moves into the main branch of the New York Public Library and begins an exhaustive reorganization of the library’s stock. On the side, he gets by as a hitman for the city’s crooked district attorney. But when a seemingly straightforward job turns into a bloody labyrinth of violence and double-crosses, he is forced decipher the darkness of his own past.
When young Gerard Freeman discovers a trove of ghost stories written by his great-grandmother, his mother’s baffling reaction sets him on a lifelong quest to understand the mystery that haunts his family. Slow burning and eerie, THE GHOST WRITER is a gothic puzzle of a novel that blurs the lines between truth and fiction. Don’t read this one late at night.