It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit…Antoine Rivarol
It’s this same dim haze that entices readers to this genre of literature: the pursuit to unravel the truth and the desire to know what happened in the end make readers fall in love with mystery-centric storytelling. To add on to this, is the never-ending list of timeless classics that continue to engross readers over the years. Here’s a list of my favorite five classic mystery reads that I’ve read, reread, and reread over and over time and again and those that I continue to love to this day.
This novel centers around a have-it-all kind of plot: a spider web of drama, suspense, thrill, romance, mystery, and twists at every turn of the story with every bit of literary juice packed in a single novel. The smallest of the details Daphne du Maurier resorts to while describing Manderley vs. the illusive narration style she prefers while describing Rebecca adds the spice of self-contradicting yet brilliant story telling to the plot. What I loved most about the book is its one-of-its-kind narration style: how on earth can you tell a story without revealing the narrator’s name even once ? Yes, the second Mrs. de Winter remains anonymous till the end although people around her never get tired of praising the uniqueness of her name. The way the story ends leaves a lingering feeling of unresolved suspense in your mind and makes you read the novel over and over again.
2. A Study in Scarlet:
We’re no strangers to talking about cold cases and solving age old mysteries with those brilliant touches of forensic science these days. Forensics today have the ability to even unravel the mystery of King Tut’s death. But imagine a similar scenario in 1886: no forensic technology, no concrete means of studying blood groups or foot prints or finger prints and yet the pressure to track a ruthless killer on the loose mounting day by day. What could’ve been a better time for Arthur Conan Doyle to introduce the versatile genius named Sherlock Holmes to the world: a brilliant investigator, an innovative chemist, an ardent student of human anatomy, a master forensic expert, a philosophical thinker, and the pioneer figure for all fictional detectives, Holmes proves in his very first case that he’ll be here for long charming readers across the barriers of time and space.
3. Poirot Investigates:
This riveting short story collection describing some of the incredible adventures of Agatha Christie’s super sleuth Hercule Poirot has been an all time favorite among readers. Three of the stories that I particularly like in this collection are
- The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
- The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
- The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
4. A Kiss Before Dying
Not a traditional who-dunnit type of mystery as Ira Levin tells you right at the beginning who the killer is. But the suavity with which he hand picks his victims and the sleekness with which he sends them to their graves, is so fantastically wicked that it’s surely going to be a blood-curdling read for one and all. The element of what-happens-next kind of suspense is gripping and the narration style brilliant: overall an intriguing tale of brutal betrayals and merciless killings that never gets old with time.
5. Byomkesh Bakshi Omnibus:
Translated in various languages across the globe, this early 1930s Bengali detective character can be credited for ushering in a new era of mystery writing in Indian literature and for lending a fresh lease of life to fictional detective genre of writing in pre-independence India. Byomkesh Bakshi to this day continues to be a big brand in India and even after being made into umpteen movies and television series, the stories, despite their now almost 90 year old social settings, never seem to tire or bore the modern day readers.