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Dust off your detective’s cap and check out these engrossing, befuddling locked room mysteries
If the room was locked, how did the perpetrator get in and out? That’s the essence of a “locked room” mystery – how can a crime, seemingly simple, defy all possible explanation? The fun, as listeners, is navigating the twists and turns that lead you to an inevitable, mind-blowing conclusion.
One of the most interactive forms of listening, this content is like an escape room, only you can take it wherever you go. Whether you’re in your car, running on the treadmill, or just lounging in your room twirling your invisible mustache, you can play the twin roles of detective and unwitting bystander.
With your thinking cap firmly on, check out these six locked room mysteries, some of the finest current and classic examples of the subgenre. And once you’ve cracked these cases, we’ve got tons more mystery and thriller audiobooks to choose from at Audible.
Discover an Early Locked Room Classic with Agatha Christie
Discussing locked room mysteries without mentioning the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, would be a crime in its own right.
And Then There Were None is not only one of the most popular mystery titles of all time – it’s also one of the most celebrated. Ask any mystery writer (including a few on this list) and they’ll probably cite this Christie masterpiece as inspiration.
Ten strangers are lured to a mansion. Nine, eight, seven … one by one, they begin to die. As a brutal storm rages outside, it’s up to the remaining guests to figure out who the culprit is, not just for justice’s sake, but for their own.
If just this synopsis is enough to give you the chills, wait until you dive into this master class in mystery storytelling!
Travel to the Scottish Highlands with Lucy Foley
Another example of an archetypal locked room Murder Mystery audiobook – with a contemporary twist – is Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party. “Everyone’s invited. Everyone’s a suspect,” reads the tagline, a classic setup for some carefully wrought suspense.
In an idyllic cabin in the Scottish Highlands a group of old school chums gather for a hunting party. Only a day after they arrive, a blizzard seals them indoors. A couple days later one of them is dead. Similar in style to Agatha Christie, The Hunting Party is a richly detailed guessing game, narrated by an ensemble cast that breathe life – and motives – into the various suspects.
Brace for Stormy Weather with John Grisham
If the perfect crime is possible, it may take place during the perfect storm.
When a violent storm rocks Camino Island off the coast of Florida, most residents flee for safety to the mainland. But bookstore owner Bruce Cable stays behind. In the aftermath, Bruce discovers that his friend and thriller writer Nelson Kerr has perished – only, with multiple blows to the head, it doesn’t seem like Kerr’s death is the storm’s fault.
How do you solve a mystery when all the evidence is blown around, broken into smithereens, washed away at sea? When the police force is scrambling to restore order after a devastating event? This is why Grisham is one of the best – he takes the humble locked room mystery and asks, ‘how can we put a new spin on this?’
The* Camino Winds* audiobook hasn’t been released just yet, so you’ll have to wait to solve this one. In the meantime, check out these suspense titles and modern detective stories for some pre-release practice!
Discover the Ultimate “Trouble in Paradise” Tale with Rachel Howzell Hall
Not so much a “locked room mystery” as a “remote island mystery,” They All Fall Down still manages to remain faithful to the subgenre. Shipped under false pretences to a private island off the Mexican coast, Miriam and a group of strangers find themselves trapped in paradise.
Soon Miriam’s companions start dropping, one by one, under mysterious circumstances. Can she figure out what’s going on before it’s too late? Hall’s remote island mystery is a fine feat of mystery fiction, but if you’re craving something a little more real, get your true crime fix here.
Get a “Healthy” Dose of Whodunit with Liane Moriarty
Here, we trade the conventional locked room for a remote health resort. Nine strangers have arrived to the Tranquillum House – some to lose weight, others to find inner peace. Frances Welty, a famous romance author, has made the trek with an aching back and a broken heart. But it’s not long before the strange methods of the resort’s enigmatic owner have her questioning her decision.
The longer Frances stays at the Tranquillum House, the stranger things get. This title has more twists than a country road on a remote island, and to say anything further would be to spoil the fun. Who needs a spa day when you can spend the evening with Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers? Just visit Audible.ca to check in.
Laugh in the Face of Danger with Vaseem Khan
Who says a murder mystery can’t be funny? Not Vaseem Khan, the preternaturally gifted mystery writer behind the riotous locked room, Murder at the Grand Raj Palace.
The Grand Raj Palace Hotel is one of India’s most exclusive spots, a haven for international elites, from movie stars to politicians. But after an American Billionaire is found dead in his room – incidentally, after buying India’s most expensive painting – the hotel haven quickly becomes a crime scene. Let’s just label it a suicide, suggest the authorities, safeguarding the Grand’s spotless reputation – but Inspector Chopra isn’t so sure.
What follows is a locked room so utterly fun you’ll be clamouring to listen to more Inspector Chopra mysteries. Luckily, there are a few!
Locked room mystery writers have to pull off the impossible: they have to create an un-guessable setup with an inevitable payoff. They have to make the mystery difficult to parse, right up until it’s obvious. It’s not an easy thing to do. But when it’s done right – as in the six titles above – it’s about as thrilling as a listen gets.
Where do you listen to your mysteries – locked in a room or on the go? Let us know by joining the conversation on Facebook.