Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2014. We’ve selected it as one of the posts we’re republishing for our 10th anniversary celebrations in May 2017.
In these weeks of midwinter, there’s nothing more satisfying than curling up by the fire with a good novel — and in particular a good mystery novel, because they somehow seem to keep you the warmest. Plus, what with a new season of Sherlock starting this week, your appetite for more murders, clues, and suspicious persons might just be piqued. After the jump, check out 50 essential mystery novels (and spy novels, and crime novels — the genre tends to get a little blurry) that will bring color to your cheeks and set your brain ticking. Usual rules apply: one book by any given author, and all choices subjective — add your own favorites in the comments and keep the list of essentials growing.
Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
Really, you should read this as all the Sherlock Holmes stories, but choices have to be made. This one is a classic among classics because it manages to be both a great story and a particularly interesting take on Holmes and Watson’s dynamic, wherein the former disappears and the latter deduces. Holmes is better at deducing.