Share Books About Books: 8 Unputdownable Literary Mysteries

Books About Books: 8 Unputdownable Literary Mysteries

Glommable is the bookish pop culture blog for bibliophiles who also love podcasts, reality TV, abusing snapchat filters, and discussing it all over a marg. We’re here to investigate all of your burning questions at the intersection of literary and pop culture: What books are our favorite TV characters reading in their spare time? From whence did #socksunday originate? How long do we actually spend coming up with tweets for bookish hashtags? It’s the kind of book blog we want to read, and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do.

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.

The Madwoman Upstairs
by Catherine Lowell
Rumor has it that the Brontë sisters left behind a secret literary estate of unpublished manuscripts and juicy diaries that remains in the family to this day. When Samantha Whipple’s eccentric father suddenly dies, she becomes the last remaining descendent of the Brontë family. Soon Samantha realizes that her actual inheritance might just be the long-lost literary estate she never believed existed.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics
by Marisha Pessl
Clever but lonely Blue van Meer finds some much-needed friends in the form of a clique of eccentrics at her elite high school. But when the friends get swept up in a murder mystery, their hyper-intellectualism (think highbrow literary allusions and endless parentheticals) both helps and hinders their precocious attempt at sleuthing in ways that will change Blue’s life forever.

by Chris Belden

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 Year of the Gadfly
by Jennifer Miller

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."

The Ghost Orchid
by Carol Goodman

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.

The Killing Circle
by Andrew Pyper

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.

The Dewey Decimal System
by Nathan Larson

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.

The Ghost Writer
by John Harwood

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.

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