Few genres transfix me more than that of the perfectly plotted mystery. And what’s so impressive about such novels is that the author is all too aware that their book’s readership is often eager to try to complete the puzzle before the final pages (if not try to poke holes in the story line). Therefore, mystery writers must be intentional about their plotting, what it is they are willing to reveal not only to their characters but to those same readers—careful not to give too much away but also happy to reward the diligent, keen-eyed aficionados. It’s what makes a tight mystery plot such an admirable feat of storytelling.
To honor such works, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most cleverly plotted mysteries that not only hold our attention with each chapter but actually build in intensity. Get your magnifying glasses out.