20 Best Mystery Audiobooks to Entertain Your Inner Sleuth

20 Best Mystery Audiobooks to Entertain Your Inner Sleuth


December 16, 2019
Looking for the perfect audiobook to keep you engrossed and engaged during your next long drive, weekend chores, or a long work day? Look no further than this list of puzzling, mind-bending mysteries that will have you holding on to every word as the narrator pulls you in on the search for clues. There’s certainly no shortage of excellent mystery audiobooks for the picking, but we’ve narrowed this wide-spanning genre down to 20 of the best mystery audiobooks we’ve ever heard so you can get listening and start searching for answers.
    • The Millennium Series, Book 1
    • By: Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland - translator
    • Narrated by: Simon Vance
    • Series: Millennium Series, Book 1
    • Length: 16 hrs and 19 mins
    • Release date: 09-16-08
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 36,971 ratings
    • If you haven’t yet heard of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you’re seriously missing out. When Lisbeth Salander, a rebellious and withdrawn (though genius) hacker, pairs with journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is still reeling from a libel trial, to crack a decades-old cold case involving the disappearance of a young heiress, the pair begins to pull the threads on a deeper mystery involving corruption within the Swedish state. To this day, Dragon Tattoo remains a favorite of mystery lovers, and it’s not hard to see why. Author Stieg Larsson crafts a meticulous, tightly-woven world rich with questions of justice, sexuality, trauma, and morality. Hall of Fame Narrator Simon Vance is arguably the only person suited to narrate a story that brings to life such a tangle of unique, dark characters—so it’s lucky for us that he does.
    • By: Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
    • Series: Cormoran Strike , Book 1
    • Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
    • Release date: 12-30-12
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 30,250 ratings
    • By now, most of the world knows that Robert Galbraith is actually the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, mastermind behind the Harry Potter universe. But don’t be skeptical of listening to an adult mystery from your favorite childhood author—Rowling’s knack for world-building and character creation aids in developing this mystery, which is at once fresh and modern while acting as a well-crafted love letter to classic mysteries. Narrated spectacularly by BBC regular Robert Glenister, this is a mystery that takes its time, allowing the listener to savor the details rather than rushing them through for a thrill. Detective Cormoran Strike is in a downward spiral after returning to London from Afghanistan, where he lost one of his legs to a land mine. To make matters worse, Strike is in debt, living out of his office, and hurting from a fresh breakup—when someone walks into his office with a new case. Lula Landry, world-famous supermodel, plunged to her death months ago in what the police wrote off as a suicide...but what if there was something far more insidious at play? As Strike is thrown into the world of the rich and famous, listeners will be hanging on to every word, just as intrigued as the detective himself.
    • Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 1
    • By: Louise Penny
    • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
    • Series: Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines, Book 1
    • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
    • Release date: 05-06-14
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 8,739 ratings
    • Meet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache—a good-hearted, smart inspector, passionate about his work and beloved by his community. When Gamache and his team are called to the scene of a suspicious death in Three Pines, a tiny hamlet south of Montreal, they learn that the victim is Jane Neal, a schoolteacher and artist who is a fixture of the small village. While locals assume it’s the result of a hunting trip gone awry, Gamache senses something far more sinister afoot. In this first installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Ralph Cosham’s steady voice guides you carefully through the mystery while capturing the ambiance of the quaint setting. If your favorite mysteries are classic whodunits, this listen, featuring a dashing modern hero, should definitely be on your list.
    • By: Ruth Ware
    • Narrated by: Imogen Church
    • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
    • Release date: 07-19-16
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 13,227 ratings
    • This mystery starts out in paradise, on a luxury, all-expenses-paid cruise surrounded by sparkling blue ocean. But soon, things start to take a turn for travel journalist Lo Blacklock after she witnesses a woman being thrown overboard. With all the passengers still accounted for and no one to believe her, Lo begins an investigation that will make you glad to be safe on land. Ruth Ware’s lush descriptions of an opulent at-sea vacation pairs with the mind-boggler she’s invented, crafting an irresistible world that’s all too easy to get lost in. And with performer Imogen Church at the helm, deftly maneuvering through each twist and turn with her well-practice accents and honed narrative style, this listen is certifiably pause-resistant.
    • By: Michael Connelly
    • Narrated by: Dick Hill
    • Series: Harry Bosch, Book 1
    • Length: 13 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 06-17-08
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 15,178 ratings
    • Michael Connelly’s gritty hero, veteran and LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, is so entertaining that he’s now the star of an Amazon Prime show. But before he was brought to life on screen, Bosch lived in the pages of Connelly’s Edgar Award-winning series of novels. In the first installment, the detective dives into the dangerous underworld of Los Angeles to solve the murder of Billy Meadows, his former brother-in-arms. Plunging into the belly of the beast, Bosch must relive the horrors of his time spent in war-torn Vietnam while facing his most personal case yet. As if the story weren’t compelling enough on its own, narrator Dick Hill, fan-favorite winner of three Audie Awards, delivers a performance that brings this engrossing tale to its shocking end with perfect pacing and tone.
    • By: Agatha Christie
    • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
    • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
    • Release date: 09-10-13
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 11,284 ratings
    • Agatha Christie is a legend of the mystery genre—and her stories just so happen to lay the perfect foundation for a truly exceptional audio experience. In And Then There Were None, 10 strangers are invited to an isolated island off the coast of England, lured by promises ranging from job offers to a complimentary summer vacation. But soon, it seems something more ominous is at play, as they’re slowly picked off in the cruelest fashion, one-by-one.You may know narrator Dan Stevens as Downton Abbey’s Matthew or the latter titular character in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. But the actor is also a prolific audiobook narrator, and his expertise is evident in his performance of Agatha Christie’s classic. It’s a story that already holds a position among the best mysteries of all time, and Stevens’s performance is on par with the tale’s reputation.
    • By: Donna Tartt
    • Narrated by: Donna Tartt
    • Length: 22 hrs and 3 mins
    • Release date: 12-31-06
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 4,817 ratings
    • Working-class Richard Papen becomes enraptured with five of his fellow students at his Hampden College, a group of young elites known for their wealth, intellectual confidence, and exclusivity. But once Richard finally falls in with the clique, he learns about the terrible secret that holds them together...and threatens to ruin the world they’ve built for themselves. Donna Tartt, author of the Pulitzer-winning The Goldfinch, narrates her own best selling debut novel. Her knowledge of the characters shines through each word, making this intricate and alluring story all the more engrossing. The result is a listen that is as brilliant a character study as it is an enrapturing tale of intrigue.
    • By: Caleb Carr
    • Narrated by: George Guidall
    • Series: Laszlo Kreizler and John Schuyler Moore, Book 1
    • Length: 20 hrs
    • Release date: 11-06-12
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 5,520 ratings
    • The Alienist is a mystery with big characters and an evocative setting: New York City in the Gilded Age, perhaps one of the most luxurious places and times in history. In an era when psychologists are greeted with derision, one such alienist is secretly enlisted by the police commissioner to work with a respected reporter and determined police secretary to investigate the brutal murder of a young male prostitute.

      The chase takes them into NYC’s flashy criminal underground, replete with gin mills and sharp-dressed gangsters, toward a killer more sinister than any of them could have imagined. The rich narration of three-time Audie award-winner George Guidall is paced and dramatic (without being over-the-top), ensuring listeners sink right into the plot and stay there without interruption. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, The Alienist will scratch your every itch: psychological profiling, immaculate characterizations, and of course, a sick and twisted murderer at the heart of it all.
    • By: Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry - introductions
    • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
    • Length: 62 hrs and 52 mins
    • Release date: 02-27-17
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 10,372 ratings
    • It just wouldn’t be a best mystery list without the inclusion of legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. Ever since his first appearance in 1887, the detective has been a favorite of sleuth-enthusiasts. This comprehensive collection of the detective’s exploits, featuring classic tales from A Study in Scarlet to His Last Bow, is performed by the singularly talented English actor, writer, director, and comedian, Stephen Fry. His narration accentuates the wry humor of Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing while maintaining the suspense that’s integral to each plot. Even if you’ve heard these stories a million times before, Fry’s performance makes them feel entirely new. And since the collection is broken up by each individual mystery, it’s perfect for a long night in or satisfying listening in short spurts.
    • By: Dervla McTiernan
    • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
    • Series: The Cormac Reilly Series, Book 1
    • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
    • Release date: 07-03-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 7,041 ratings
    • Detective Cormac Reilly closed the case on the drug overdose of Hilaria Blake more than 20 years ago. But when Blake’s son Jack is found dead in the river that flows through Galway, he starts to realize that maybe not everything is as it first appeared. When Jack’s sister Maude shows up, matters only complicate further, leaving Reilly to sort out a tangled web of deception, corruption, and lies. An Irish narrator—the excellent Aoife McMahon—helps bring the novel’s setting to life, immersing listeners in the Irish landscape and in a story as enthralling and unique as the city in which it takes place.
    • By: Raymond Chandler
    • Narrated by: Ray Porter
    • Series: Philip Marlowe, Book 1
    • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
    • Release date: 12-09-14
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 3,495 ratings
    • A pulp hit from the late 1930s, The Big Sleep introduced the world to private eye Philip Marlowe, a shrewd, heroic figure who knows his way around the backstreets of Los Angeles. When Marlowe is hired by the Sternwood family to put an end to some nasty blackmail, he stumbles over a corpse and finds himself in the middle of a murder plot that keeps getting more complicated. The Big Sleep was turned into a classic noir film in 1946, and narrator Ray Porter is the perfect performer to capture the same hard-drinking, wise-cracking presence that Humphrey Bogart brought to the character of Philip Marlowe. A staple of the genre, Chandler’s classic packs a wholly captivating mystery inside deliciously-written layers of LA history and character, all of which make for an altogether engrossing experience.
    • By: Marlon James
    • Narrated by: Robin Miles
    • Length: 15 hrs and 45 mins
    • Release date: 02-24-09
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,196 ratings
    • Marlon James became the first Jamaican author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2015. His debut novel, The Book of Night Women, tells the story of Lilith, a girl born into slavery on a sugar plantation, who challenges her lot in life with a group called the Night Women—and in the process, gradually discovers her own dark power.

      Driven by dangerous secrets, jealous rivalries, and inhuman violence, The Book of Night Women is difficult to listen to at times. Yet Robin Miles’s performance brings the characters and their world vividly to life. Deftly switching between voices and accents for each character, her narration sounds more like a performing cast on a radio serial than one person, making it ideal for scenes with the full crew of Night Women.
    • An Easy Rawlins Mystery
    • By: Walter Mosley
    • Narrated by: Michael Boatman
    • Series: Easy Rawlins, Book 1
    • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 10-28-09
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 2,416 ratings
    • Devil in a Blue Dress is author Walter Mosley’s debut novel and the first in the Easy Rawlins mystery series. Set in late 1940s Los Angeles, war veteran Easy Rawlins’s first case is to search for Daphne Monet, the mistress of a wealthy politician who is shrouded in mystery. Desperate to pay his mortgage after losing his job, Rawlins sets off on his new quest as a detective, searching for the blonde beauty in the world of jazz clubs and gangsters. This sharp, simmering mystery is only further enhanced the performance of accomplished actor Michael Boatman, who voices Easy’s character with a relaxed, genial tone, making him immediately likable.
    • By: Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
    • Series: Royal Spyness, Book 1
    • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 08-03-10
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 11,529 ratings
    • Rhys Bowen, a prolific author with both an Agatha and an Edgar, among numerous awards, to her name, is known for her cozy, romantic, tongue-in-cheek mysteries. Her Royal Spyness tells the story of Georgie, a woman 34th in line to the throne whose royal connections extend to both having tea with and spying for Her Majesty the Queen. But when Georgie finds a body in her bathtub, her life is totally upended, sending her on a charming tale of intrigue. This colorful tale is an absolute stand out thanks to the narration by Katherine Kellgren. An Audie Award winner and a member of Narrator Hall of Fame, Kellgreen seamlessly takes on various accents, from British to Scottish, in a clear but expressive style. The collaboration of Bowen and Kellgren has been described as magic, their award-winning skillsets combining to craft an electric and charming tale.
    • A Jackman and Evans Thriller
    • By: Joy Ellis
    • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
    • Series: Jackman & Evans (Published Order), Book 2, Jackman & Evans (Recommended Listening Order), Book 1
    • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
    • Release date: 06-14-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,158 ratings
    • Joy Ellis’s Their Lost Daughters begins with the shocking, perplexing discovery of a wandering teenage girl, lost on a beach. Nearby, a drowned girl surfaces on the shore. What’s more? This isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s up to detectives Rowan Jackman and Marie Evans to unearth the secrets behind this unsettling mystery and ensure justice is served. Richard Armitage, best known for his roles in the British television series North & South and The Hobbit franchise as well as his robust career as a narrator, brings his experience from the screen to effortlessly voice the cast of characters as they set out to connect the past to the present. His varying dialects support this rich narrative by making each character unique and easy to distinguish, so you can stay on top of each twist and turn.
    • By: Daphne du Maurier
    • Narrated by: Anna Massey
    • Length: 14 hrs and 48 mins
    • Release date: 12-29-13
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,895 ratings
    • Rebecca, a classic mystery by Daphne du Maurier, listens like a mix between Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein. Though published 1938, this story has never gone out of print, and was an immediate best seller upon its release, with nearly three million copies sold between its first and second publication. Du Maurier’s story starts off as a sweeping, lovely romance in Monte Carlo, but the honeymoon abruptly ends when the heroine arrives at her new home: she is haunted by her husband’s widow. From foreboding housemaids to an enormous, eerie mansion, this classic hits all the right notes to draw you in and keep your attention until the very last word. The tension mounts with the aid of Anna Massey, whose English accent helps you immerse yourself in the gothic setting. Her voice adapts seamlessly to each twisted scenario, crafting a tense and unsettling tone perfect for this longtime favorite mystery.
    • A Novel
    • By: Greg Iles
    • Narrated by: Scott Brick
    • Series: Penn Cage, Book 6
    • Length: 28 hrs and 9 mins
    • Release date: 03-21-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,767 ratings
    • Mississippi Blood is the final chapter in Greg Illes’s Penn Cage series, picking up as Cage is at his lowest. With his father on trial for murder, Cage begins to learn long-buried family secrets of unfathomable violence and racism. Hall of Fame Narrator Scott Brick is the fifth to lend his talents to the series and certainly amongst the best. Brick’s voice quivers with fear and experience, encapsulating the mystery genre with its eerie, unsettling pace. His narration makes you eager to fly through the rest of the story, turning up your audio speed to hear more. But Brick’s skilled performance makes it worth the thorough, methodical delivery of the final act in this trilogy.
    • A Novel
    • By: Tana French
    • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
    • Series: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 1
    • Length: 20 hrs and 24 mins
    • Release date: 04-20-07
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 13,667 ratings
    • For fans of Stephen King or Lee Child, In the Woods by Tana French tells a tale of three children lost in the woods, and only one returns. Two decades later, that child becomes a detective in Dublin, keeping his shadowy past behind him—that is, until he is forced to address it head on when another child is found murdered in the same woods. His journey back in time as he looks for answers in the present is brought to conflicted, thoughtful life by the performance of veteran narrator Steven Crossley, whose crisp English accent and background in drama craft a rich, immersive experience. Tana French’s striking debut novel, In the Woods, won an Edgar Award and launched her acclaimed Dublin Murder Squad series.
    • A Flavia de Luce Mystery
    • By: Alan Bradley
    • Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
    • Series: Flavia de Luce Mysteries, Book 1
    • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
    • Release date: 04-28-09
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 4,463 ratings
    • What makes The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley so unique is the detective on the case: an 11-year-old girl named Flavia de Luce. In the summer of 1950, de Luce is enthralled in a youthful fascination regarding chemistry...particularly as it applies to poison. When a man falls dead on the grounds of her family estate, the precocious, brilliant young sleuth is the first one on the case. A character so surprising and different for the genre, de Luce is enlivened by Odyssey Award winner Jayne Entwistle, who perfectly encapsulates the spirit of an 11-year-old girl in her narration, while keeping her voice sounding natural and genuine. Her inflections mark the curiosity of the child telling the story, but she remains serious as de Luce ponders the case. Together, Bradley and Entwistle tell the story of a young detective’s first case as she sets out to prove her father’s innocence in the wake of accusations of murder.
    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: David Lansbury
    • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 01-19-01
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,658 ratings
    • Best selling author John Grisham is well-known for his legal thrillers, so A Painted House, which is a mystery set in rural Arkansas, is a nice departure from his norm. Told from the perspective of seven-year-old Luke Chandler, the story takes listeners on a journey to a quaint little house on a rented cotton field. When harvest season arrives, the Chandlers hire a truckload of migrant workers and a family of hill people to help them haul in the season’s bales.

      What starts as a simple month of harvesting turns into something much more sinister as the workers battle rain, the heat, and each other—and Luke keeps more and more secrets to himself. This story is complemented by David Landsbury’s easygoing, relaxed performance. His voice encapsulates life on the farm as a young boy, charged with the emotion and curiosity of our young protagonist and narrator, Luke.


Inclusion in Audible’s “best audiobooks” series is based on a number of factors, including presence on Audible best seller lists,
listener ratings and reviews, Goodreads ratings, and input from the Audible Editors. All audiobooks featured here have a minimum
of 500 reviews averaging at least 4.5 stars, with some exceptions made for outstanding stories and performances.





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