Three whodunnits to stay up late reading
Plus, the books to fill the Succession-shaped hole in your life
Anyone who knows me will know how much I value sleep. I’m not always particularly good at it, but my god, I love it. So if a book can keep me up late reading, it must be tremendous - and no genre is better at this than mystery. The below are some of my favourites whodunnits. Please read them and tell me yours!
The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
Rhys Lloyd is the man behind the new luxury lakeside holiday homes which many in the small community in North Wales were against him building. Still, they are a resounding success, and one New Year’s Eve, he celebrates with a party. By the morning, he is found dead. The Last Party is a brilliant, multi-layered, Agatha Christie-esque story with an excellent detective - DC Ffion Morgan - at its centre.
Also, side note: here’s a fun fact about the author Clare Mackintosh. Many moons ago, I interned at her publisher Little, Brown, and one of my tasks was to help Clare sign an enormous pile of books by opening them to the right page and passing them along to her. By then she was already a bestseller and could have more or less ignored me. And yet I will never forget how kind she was - speaking to me with genuine interest, asking questions about where I wanted to go in life and sharing invaluable advice. I think you can tell a huge amount about a person by how they speak to people who are “beneath” them, meaning I can confirm Clare is a true gem.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Speaking of Agatha Christie, it would be a sin to do this roundup without including the unrivalled queen of whodunnits. I think And Then There Were None is her best book: it is immersive, gripping, genre-defining and completely mind-blowing.
After receiving an enigmatic invitation, a group of ten strangers arrive at a mansion on a remote island off the coast of Devon. Here, one by one, they die - and it becomes clear the killer is amongst them. I changed my mind about who I thought the murderer was every ten seconds and it is one of those books that warrants several re-reads just to understand how devilishly clever it is.
The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson
As a teenager, Jude’s life changed irrevocably when she and her best friend Nell came across the body of a woman on a beach Brighton. Not only was the Brighton Mermaid, as she became known, never claimed by a family member, but Nell then disappeared days after.
Now, several decades later, Jude is determined to find out what really happened in this wonderfully enrapturing story about secrets and lies, family and friendship. Tense and fast-paced, I completely devoured The Brighton Mermaid.
All I can think about right now is Succession drawing to a close this weekend. From the characterisation to the plot and that script, I think it’s one of the finest examples of contemporary writing there is. I am going to be completely bereft when it’s over - so, is it any surprise I have gobbled up these pieces about the books to read to fill the Succession-shaped hole in your life, here, here, and here?