Seven Great Crime Reads for Winter

Seven Great Crime Reads for Winter - The Willoughby Book Club

If your reading habits are influenced by the changing of the seasons, you might be finding yourself drawn to the more darker books on your bookshelves, to match the darker, gloomier nights!

For half the Willoughby team, crime, mysteries, and thrillers all certainly get more attention during the autumn and winter months. There's something about drawing the curtains and shutting out the cold dark world outside that lends itself to getting cosy with a crime read. We’ve decided to give you some different recommendations that we think you should add to your bedside stack.


The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor


CJ Tudor is one of the most widely read thriller writers at the moment. Her new book, The Drift,  is a fantastic post-apocalyptic thriller that you should definitely make a note of. But if  you’re new to the author, you’d do well starting with The Burning Girls, a gripping horror thriller, which begins with the arrival of a new vicar and her daughter to the small community of Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Then thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared. Just two months prior to her arrival, the vicar before him killed himself. Such horrible and strange occurrences haunt the town and as the two become acquainted with their new neighbours, they very soon become drawn into the mysteries that plague Chapel Croft. It’s a fantastic, creepy read that you’ll want to read it one sitting. And once you’ve read it, make sure to check out the TV adaptation!


Bluebird Bluebird Attica Locke book coverBluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke


If you want a solid police procedural, you can’t go wrong with Attica Locke. Her Highway 59 series, featuring Texas ranger Darren Mathews is a great addition to the crime genre. The Deep South rural setting, the noir vibes,

Bluebird, Bluebird is an intriguing mystery, with Darren Mathews caught up in the smalltown murders of a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman. Exploring racial tensions, justice and a cast of interesting, sometimes ambivalent characters, you’ll be guessing the culprit until the very end.


Adventure of the Christmas Pudding book coverThe Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie


Agatha Christie is a must if you want to spend a cosy evening reading a classic crime mystery story or two. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is a perfect festive instalment of Christie’s Hercule Poirot series, with an extra Miss Marple story, too! Poirot has five different murders to solve, you’ll get swept up in the festive investigation. First comes a note on Poirot’s pillow, warning him to avoid eating the plum pudding. Then a corpse is discovered in a chest... Need any more persuading? You have everything in these short mysteries that you would hope for from a Christie: an English country house, a cast of wonderful, eccentric characters, and genuinely entertaining ‘whodunnits’.


Death in the Parish book coverA Death in the Parish by Rev. Richard Coles


Richard Coles is a breath of fresh air in the cosy crime genre. If you like Christie, but would prefer to read something by a contemporary author, Coles’ Canon Clement series would be a great choice. A Death in the Parish is the second in the series, and is every bit as good as the first. Set in the 1980s in the parish of Champton, before the ordination of women priests, the central mystery of the book is wrapped up in the rural conservatism of the time, as Rector Daniel Clement finds himself trying to solve yet another murder, while juggling his mother and the Champton parishioners. If you like your murder mysteries with a side of Anglican politics, you’ll love this one. It’s a thoroughly entertaining read, with characters to root for and others to do just the opposite!


Mill House MurdersThe Mill House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji


This Japanese ‘locked room’ classic has been given cult status for good reason. Fujinuma Kiichi leads a reclusive existence, having suffered a horrific accident that has forced him to wear a rubber mask. But when a murder, disappearance and theft all descend on Mill House, the detective Shimada Kiyoshi is tasked with solving the crimes. When more and more murders occur, it becomes a race against time to stop the killer. Set over a two day period and featuring characters such as a ‘handsome surgeon’ and ‘bespectacled professor’, the books feels like Cluedo in novel form (in the best possible way!).


True Crime Story book coverTrue Crime Story by Joseph Knox


True Crime Story is a really exciting and original approach to the idea of true crime as a genre. Inserting himself into the narrative, the author is drawn into investigating the disappearance of a Manchester University student, Zoe Nolan, who disappeared from a party in 2011. Seven years after, the writer and friend of Knox, Evelyn Mitchell, is trying to get to the bottom of her sudden vanishing. She interviews Zoe’s friends and flatmates and develops her own insights and theories. When she asks Knox to help her with her investigation, it soon becomes clear that they are getting closer and closer to the truth, especially when Evelyn realises she might be being followed. This is probably one of the creepiest crime novels I’ve read and is perfect if you’re a true crime fan. You’ll be locking your doors and checking behind the curtains as you read.


Palace of Shadows book coverPalace of Shadows by Ray Celestin


If you enjoy gothic, historical fiction, Ray Celestin’s new book is the one for you. Palace of Shadows follows the story of struggling artist, Samuel Etherstone, who has been commissioned by an heiress, named Mrs. Chesterfield, to work on a house on the bleak Yorkshire coast. But when he stops off at a local pub beforehand, he is repeatedly urged to avoid the house for his own good, referencing tales of disappearances, ghosts, and madness. Despite their warnings, Etherstone continues on, arriving to a house that gradually reveals its secrets in a spooky, gripping way. Atmospheric, richly depicted and genuinely scary, Palace of Shadows is one for lovers of The Essex Serpent and Piranesi.


What are your favourite mystery novels to read on these colder evenings? Let us know!
If you would like to read any of these books, you can purchase them via our affiliate link on that supports small independent bookshops.
If you buy books from our affiliate links, we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published