It’s difficult to choose the 30 best mystery audiobooks because there’s so much out there to explore. Regardless of your preferences, you’re guaranteed to find something here that you love.
Mystery is one of the most well-read genres out there, from crime dramas to legal thrillers, these stories have captivated the intrigue of so many fans worldwide and continue to thrill and surprise readers daily.
The mystery genre offers a perfect balance between plot-driven stories and character-driven stories. While these plot lines are typically packed with secrecy, mystery, and maybe even action, their characters will act as the story’s momentum.
But one of the best ways to enjoy a good mystery is to listen to it. Reading them can be fun and rewarding, but audiobooks provide an experience like no other. Listening to the investigation unfold through a talented narrator can significantly increase the suspense and thrill of these great books.
Whether you prefer a horror mystery or a classic detective novel, this list will provide a wide array of suggestions and will offer brief descriptions and links so you can decide which book is best suited to your style and interests.
There are so many mysteries out there written by a plethora of talented authors. Although it’s hard to choose only 30, this list will try to offer a wide-ranging selection that will appeal to many different people.
The 30 Best Mystery Audiobooks
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
There’s no better way to kick off this list than with Agatha Christie! And Then There Were None is one of the most famous traditional detective stories out there and despite its original book publication in 1939, the book and the play it was subsequently adapted into, continue to be super popular worldwide today.
10 strangers are taken to an isolated English island under mysterious circumstances and must survive there with each other – the house is creepy, but it sounds simple right? Well, on the first evening, a recorded message claims that each stranger has a dangerous secret and at the end of the night, one of the strangers winds up dead. Trapped there by a vigorous storm, the strangers die one by one. But who’s responsible?
This is the ultimate eerie mystery, filled with unpredicted twists and fantastic suspenseful undertones. There’s a reason this is such a popular story!
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
The Cutting Season is a national best-seller and is known for keeping its readers on their toes. The story cleverly links two separate murders that occurred over a century apart.
The first murder is that of a female migrant worker. She worked in an antebellum plantation that has been transformed into an uncomfortably realistic museum. Her throat was slit and her death initiated widespread suspicion and tension.
The second murder happened over a century before – a former slave that went missing and was never seen again. The evidence from the current investigation seems eerily linked to this historical disappearance and despite the danger, Caren is the only one willing to notice the ties. An eloquently written story that ties in mystery, race, history, and detective work, this story really has it all.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Gripping, outstanding, and unpredictable are just a few of the words that can be used to describe this tense page-turner. The Woman in the Window follows Anna Fox, who lives alone, secluded in her New York City apartment, unable to leave.
She spends most of her time watching movies, drinking far too much wine, and watching people outside. So, when a new family moves in across the street, Anna’s interest peaks. She spends most of her day watching the perfect family run their everyday errands and socialize with their friends, but when she witnesses something she shouldn’t have her whole world changes. But there’s not much she can do from inside her home…
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
This innovative, perspective-changing novel echoes the work of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, diving into intriguing cases of murder and secrecy. It follows the investigative work of a disgraced police detective called Daniel Hawthorne, who, like Sherlock, is intelligent, witty, and a little arrogant. Interestingly, Horowitz uses himself as the Dr. Watson character, aiding Hawthorne in his investigations.
The Word is Murder starts as we witness a woman visiting a funeral parlor to plan her own funeral. Fast-forward 6 hours and the same woman is dead in her own home. Hawthorne and Horowitz must uncover the truth behind this case, but as more is revealed about this investigation, other secrets and questions start surfacing and Hawthorne’s character is thrown under the microscope.
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
This horror-inspired mystery has become a classic and provided the influential author with more well-deserved recognition. Rebecca follows an unnamed protagonist as she enters her dream life with the perfect husband and a gorgeous new mansion.
But things aren’t all as they seem, as soon as they get married and move in, things start happening and she can’t shake the feeling of being watched or haunted. She doesn’t realize that the presence of her new husband’s ex-wife lingers across the whole estate and each person working there still seems infatuated with the old mistress of the house. How much will she be able to take? And what happened to Rebecca?
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Lo Blacklock has just been assigned the dream job – she works for a magazine and must now go on a luxury cruise and report her experiences.
But a storm is brewing and darkness casts across the ship. Lo swears she saw a woman get thrown overboard, but all passengers remain on the boat and the ship continues its journey uninterrupted. Is Lo going mad? Or is something more sinister at play? The Woman in Cabin 10 is an unpredictable story guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.
Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
Hollywood Homicide tracks Dayna Anderson, who is only semi-famous and pretty much out of money and luck. Now, her parent’s house is on the line and she wants to do everything she can to help.
She witnesses a fatal hit-and-run and claims the $15,000 reward to contribute to the house. But she can’t just walk away with the money. Instead, she feels like the victim deserves justice and takes it upon herself to investigate. But when she comes under the firing line, she’ll wish she never got involved.
The Night Stalker by Philip Carlo
This is one for true crime lovers and the best part is, there’s a highly-rated film adaptation to watch when you’re done. The Night Stalker follows the investigation behind some of the most gruesome deaths in American history.
This story is based on interviews and years of research and tells the story of Richard Ramirez, the serial killer who not only committed brutal crimes but has a fascinating personal story and jury case to dive into, too.
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
This is one of the most famous detective stories ever written and makes up the first story in the famous Sherlock Holmes series. This story introduces Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson to the readers and follows their first intriguing case.
A Study in Scarlet not only allows the readers to get to know Holmes and Watson and all their witty and eccentric ways but it brilliantly introduces Sherlock’s unique, intricate, and logical mind that has captivated the interest of so many readers and viewers worldwide.
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall
Thrilled that she’s been invited to a luxurious, private island, Miriam accepts with no hesitation. However, once arriving, it immediately becomes clear that she and 7 other strangers have been lured under false pretenses. Every single person has a secret to hide and all of them are trapped.
They All Fall Down follows Miriam as strange things begin happening, making each stranger suspicious of one another, and one by one, they will fall.
If She Knew by Blake Pierce
This is one of the books that make up Pierce’s Kate Wise mystery series, which follows a recently retired FBI agent. If She Knew is a psychological thriller that starts with the murder of a girl during a home invasion. That girl happens to be Kate’s friend’s daughter, so naturally, she immediately helps with the investigation.
More women turn up dead, all of which are wives in so-called ‘perfect’ marriages. As evidence mounts up, it becomes obvious that this community is not the picture-perfect, family-oriented place it claims to be. Kate must sift through the secrets, affairs, and lies to stop the killer in their tracks.
The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green
Savannah seems like the ultimate idyllic town. It looks like something out of a fairy tale, with turrets, flowers, and cute pathways, but the truth behind this town looks far more sinister.
The Kingdoms of Savannah follows an unexpected detective, Morgana Musgrove, who is sent to Savannah to unravel the dangerous underbelly of this picture-perfect town.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Nella Rogers hates being the only black employee at Wagner Books. So, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working right beside her. But what begins as the exciting first steps of a blossoming friendship soon turns into a disaster for Nella.
Hazel is promoted quickly and uncomfortable things start happening around the office until they reach their peak with a note: ‘LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.’ Suspecting that Hazel is behind this, Nella starts panicking and searches for evidence that she could use against Hazel. The Other Black Girl is an informative and insightful mystery that delves into the racial dynamics of the workplace.
A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson
Perfect for those who love John Grisham books and other legal thrillers, A Nearly Normal Family is a spiraling novel that hones in on one family, determined to protect each other.
18-year-old Stella is accused of murdering a man nearly 15 years older than her. She has no obvious motive and it remains a mystery why she’s even a suspect. Stella’s mother is a criminal defense attorney and she and her husband are desperate to defend their daughter until the very end. But when evidence emerges, how far is the Sandell family willing to go?
The Outsider by Stephen King
This list of mystery thrillers wouldn’t be complete without the ‘king’ himself. The Outsider begins when an 11-year-old’s body is found in a park. Terry Maitland is suspect number one but he’s a core pillar in the community – a family man, teacher, and coach.
After DNA tests, it seems they’ve caught the right guy, but the investigation soon takes an unexpected turn and no one seems safe anymore. Tense, engaging, and excellently written, this novel is worthy of all the hype.
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Narrated by Christopher Eccleston, known for bringing the 9th Doctor Who to life, The Whisper Man is a suspenseful tale that hones in on a father and son who moved to the wrong town seeking a fresh start.
This town has its fair share of dark secrets, the most significant being the serial killer nicknamed ‘The Whisper Man’. This violent and twisted man becomes key in a new investigation, the disappearance of a young boy, whose case seems eerily similar to crimes committed by The Whisper Man.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Set in a New England college, a group of eccentric, intelligent students, led by their theatrical professor discover new ways of existing that break the boundaries of conventional living.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Flynn is best known for writing the genre-bending, intense novel Gone Girl, but her lesser-known novel Sharp Objects is just as gripping and unpredictable.
This story focuses on Camille Preaker, who has just spent some time in a psych hospital. Now, she must go back to her childhood town and report the murders of two girls. But this means facing her insane mother and revisiting the home that holds so many eerie memories.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jacob Bonner is a tired, unsuccessful writer who seriously lacks motivation. When one of his students reveals their plans for a book, Jake is excited, if not a little jealous. But when he discovers that his student has passed away, The Plot is all his.
Jake writes the story and receives international praise and recognition for a plot he stole. When he receives a message saying ‘you are a thief’, Jake begins doubting everything and starts to research his former student. But what he finds is unbelievable and it may just change the course of his life for good.
The Secret Place by Tana French
Tana French is one of the best-known mystery writers out there and for good reason! The Secret Place is just one of the great books in her repertoire and it follows detective Stephen Moran who opens an old case after receiving some intriguing new evidence.
A boy was murdered at an all-girls boarding school and the case went cold pretty quickly. But 16-year-old Holly Mackey has some pretty insightful information that will expose a friendship group for good.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Maud is in the early stages of dementia but she is desperate not to lose the memory of her best friend Elizabeth who she thinks has disappeared under dangerous circumstances. Maud decides to investigate it herself but is sent down a whole new spiral, finding clues that lead her to another disappearance, her sister Sukey who went missing after the Second World War ended.
Elizabeth is Missing is so much more than an investigation. It tells a beautiful story of womanhood, friendship, memory, and identity, and is guaranteed to stay with you long after you’ve finished it.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code is one of the most popular audiobooks worldwide. It follows a professor, Robert Langdon who specializes in symbols. He is called to investigate the murder of the curator of the Louvre in Paris because an interesting group of symbols lies next to the body.
What follows is a nosedive into history, religion, and cultism as Langdon is sent on a hunt for answers.
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Affairs, poverty, and the restrictive boundaries of marriage are what drive this explosive mystery. The Postman Always Rings Twice is a fantastic story of morality, violence, American history, and love. Read it today to find out why it was once banned!
The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey
This is the first of Tey’s Inspector Alan Grant collection and follows the investigation to find the man who killed another in a line for the theater.
The Man in the Queue closely follows this tense manhunt which is led by minimal clues. This is a tense page-turner but please note that some of the vocabulary is outdated.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone is a classic mystery written by the one-and-only Victorian novelist and playwright Wilkie Collins. It centers around a rare jewel that was stolen from an Indian temple and now carries a curse.
When the stone appears on Rachel’s 18th birthday, many suspects come to mind. But what follows is a multidimensional investigative story that will unfold multiple cases, secrets, and truths.
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
This one is for those with a shorter attention span. Bonfire is a much shorter book than many of the others on this list but it’s still jam-packed with tension and drama.
This story tackles sexuality, mystery, psychology, and law as Abby Williams unravels the truth behind a scandal that once captivated the interest of the world.
The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci
Suited more to action-thriller fans, The 6:20 Man is set deep in the financial world – fast-paced, ever-changing, and politically motivated.
Travis Devine is swept up in the stressful, monotonous financial world until a woman, his colleague and ex-girlfriend, is found hanging in his work building. Their turbulent history makes Travis suspect number 1 and he must uncover his dangerous past to find whoever’s responsible.
The Family Next Door by Fiona Cummins
Garrick and Olivia move into a house enveloped in crime and mystery. The investigation that concerns the bodies found in the woods will soon be over and after a quick renovation, they’ll be ready to sell.
But secrets will emerge and the family will be plunged into destruction. The Family Next Door is unpredictable and suspenseful – worth every minute.
Babes in the Wood by Graham Bartlett and Peter James
This story tells of the 32 years spent fighting for justice. Two 9-year-olds were found dead in a park but the investigation led nowhere. 3 years later, a 7-year-old girl disappears but survives, providing a suspect at last.
Babes in the Wood is a true crime, written by a real detective who worked on the case. It’s gritty, intense, and completely true.
Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver
This bestseller tells one extraordinary story of lies, murder, and the unusual trial that followed. Anatomy of a Murder sheds light on the legal system, the psychology of criminals, and suspenseful cross-examinations. It’s a classic must-read.
With any luck, this list will provide you with some inspiration. Remember that reading a book and listening to the audiobook are two completely different experiences, so if you have a favorite mystery and haven’t found anything else that quite reaches the same standard, why not enjoy the story in a totally different way?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most popular audiobook?
Becoming by Michele Obama is often noted as the best-selling audiobook on popular sites like Audible and Speechify.
What is the world’s best-selling mystery book of all time?
It’s difficult to say because older books have had years worth of sales compared to some of the equally good new publications, but Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is frequently labeled as the best-selling mystery of all time.
Are mysteries suitable for kids?
Many of these mysteries include adult themes such as violence, hard-hitting crime, sex, substance use, and even explicit language, so be careful when recommending mystery books to your kids. There are, however, mystery books written specifically for children, so it may be an idea to look into them instead.
How can I listen to audiobooks?
Apps such as Spotify and Audible are two of the most common and trusted ways of listening to audiobooks, but other apps are available too and might be more suited to you and your device, so have a look around before making purchases.
Are mysteries fiction?
Most mysteries are fictionalized, however, some are based on real investigations and crimes. If you’re keen to read something real, search for ‘true crime mystery books’.