The Most Popular Mystery Book: A Ranking of the Best-selling Titles

Choose the mystery book you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 22, 2024 06:21
Are you a fan of unraveling the unknown, solving enigmatic puzzles, and experiencing the thrill of discovering hidden secrets? If so, you're in the right place! Welcome to StrawPoll, where we're on a mission to determine the most popular mystery book of all time. From gripping whodunits to mind-bending detective stories, our ever-expanding list of tantalizing tomes features some of the greatest literary masterpieces that have kept readers on the edge of their seats. Join thousands of fellow mystery enthusiasts in casting your vote for your ultimate favorite or suggest a missing gem that deserves to be part of this prestigious ranking. So, dust off your magnifying glass, put on your thinking cap, and dive into a world of intrigue and suspense as we embark on this exhilarating quest to uncover the mystery book that reigns supreme!

What Is the Most Popular Mystery Book?

  1. 1
    "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown
    Leonardo da Vinci · Public domain
    This bestselling novel combines mystery, conspiracy, and religious history to create a thrilling page-turner. With over 80 million copies sold, it is one of the most popular mystery books of all time.
    The Da Vinci Code is a mystery novel written by Dan Brown. It follows the story of Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology, as he gets caught up in a quest to uncover a hidden secret protected by a secret society for centuries. The novel is filled with religious and historical elements, intertwining art, cryptography, and conspiracy theories. The gripping plot and fast-paced narrative style have made it one of the most popular mystery books of all time.
    • Genre: Mystery
    • Publication Year: 2003
    • Setting: Paris, London, Scotland, Italy
    • Main Protagonist: Robert Langdon
    • Themes: Religion, History, Art, Conspiracy
    "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown in other rankings
  2. 2
    This twisted psychological thriller follows the disappearance of a young wife and the investigation into her husband's involvement. Its unexpected twists and turns have kept readers hooked since its release in 2012.
    Gone Girl is a psychological thriller novel written by Gillian Flynn. The story revolves around the mysterious disappearance of Amy Dunne on her wedding anniversary. As her husband, Nick, becomes the prime suspect, the book takes readers on a twisted journey of secrets, lies, and manipulation.
    • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
    • Published Year: 2012
    • Pages: 432
    • Setting: North Carthage, Missouri
    • Point of View: Alternates between Amy and Nick Dunne
    "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn in other rankings
  3. 3
    This gripping novel follows a troubled alcoholic who becomes entangled in a missing person case. Its unreliable narrator and complex plot have made it a favorite among mystery fans.
    The Girl on the Train is a bestselling mystery novel written by Paula Hawkins. It tells the story of Rachel Watson, a woman who becomes entangled in a missing person investigation after witnessing something shocking during her daily train commute. As she becomes more involved in the case, Rachel's own life starts to unravel, revealing secrets and lies.
    • Publication date: January 2015
    • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
    • Setting: London, England
    • Number of pages: 325
    • Point of view: Multiple perspectives
    "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins in other rankings
  4. 4
    This classic murder mystery features the beloved detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder on a luxurious train. Its clever plot and memorable characters have made it a staple of the genre since its publication in 1934.
    Murder on the Orient Express is a classic murder mystery novel written by Agatha Christie. Set in the 1930s, the story follows the famous detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder that takes place on the luxurious Orient Express train. The book is known for its intricate plot, well-drawn characters, and surprising twist ending.
    • Publication Date: 1934
    • Genre: Mystery
    • Setting: Orient Express train
    • Protagonist: Hercule Poirot
    • Number of Suspects: 13
  5. 5
    This chilling thriller follows FBI agent Clarice Starling as she seeks the help of notorious cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter to catch another killer on the loose. Its psychological depth and suspense have made it a classic.
    The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller novel written by Thomas Harris. It follows the story of Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee, as she interviews incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter in order to gain insight into the mind of another serial killer, known as Buffalo Bill, who is on the loose. The novel explores the dark and twisted psychology of its characters and their unsettling interactions.
    • Genre: Psychological thriller
    • Publication Year: 1988
    • Setting: Various locations in the United States
    • Main Characters: Clarice Starling, Hannibal Lecter, Buffalo Bill
    • Themes: Psychopathy, cannibalism, identity
    "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris in other rankings
  6. 6
    This Sherlock Holmes mystery is one of the most famous detective stories ever written. Its atmospheric setting, supernatural elements, and intricate plot make it a must-read for mystery fans.
    The Hound of the Baskervilles is a classic mystery novel written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It is a Sherlock Holmes detective story, first published in 1902. The novel follows the investigation of the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville and the curse that haunts the Baskerville family. The creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, is a renowned British author best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories.
    • Publication Year: 1902
    • Genre: Mystery
    • Setting: England, primarily Dartmoor
    • Main Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson
    • Detective Method: Deductive reasoning
  7. 7
    This true crime novel recounts the brutal murder of a Kansas family and the investigation and trial that followed. Its vivid writing and attention to detail make it a haunting and unforgettable read.
    In Cold Blood is a non-fiction book written by Truman Capote, first published in 1966. It is a true crime story that details the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. Capote conducted extensive interviews with the killers, Richard 'Dick' Hickock and Perry Smith, as well as with members of the community affected by the tragedy. The book is often considered one of the first examples of the true crime genre and is renowned for its atmospheric writing style and meticulous research.
    • Publication Year: 1966
    • Genre: True Crime
    • Setting: Holcomb, Kansas, USA
    • Main Characters: Richard 'Dick' Hickock, Perry Smith
    • Writing Style: Atmospheric, evocative
    "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote in other rankings
  8. 8
    This hard-boiled detective novel features the iconic private investigator Sam Spade as he searches for a priceless statue. Its tough, fast-paced style and memorable characters have made it a classic of the genre.
    The Maltese Falcon is a classic mystery novel written by Dashiell Hammett. It was first published in 1930 and has since become one of the most popular detective stories of all time. The story follows private detective Sam Spade as he gets entangled in a web of deceit and murder while searching for the elusive and valuable Maltese Falcon statue.
    • Publication Year: 1930
    • Genre: Mystery
    • Setting: San Francisco, California
    • Protagonist: Sam Spade (Private Detective)
    • Themes: Greed, betrayal, loyalty
  9. 9
    This gothic mystery follows a young boy in post-World War II Barcelona as he becomes obsessed with a mysterious book and its author. Its lush prose, intricate plot, and haunting atmosphere have made it a beloved modern classic.
    The Shadow of the Wind is a popular mystery book written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Set in Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War, the story revolves around a young boy named Daniel Sempere who discovers a hidden library called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. As he embarks on a quest to uncover the secrets behind the author of a book he chooses from the library, he becomes entangled in a dark and dangerous mystery involving love, betrayal, and the power of literature.
    • Genre: Mystery
    • Setting: Barcelona, Spain
    • Time Period: Post-Spanish Civil War
    • Protagonist: Daniel Sempere
    • Central Location: Cemetery of Forgotten Books
  10. 10
    This collection of short stories featuring the famous detective is a cornerstone of the mystery genre. Its ingenious plots, memorable characters, and witty writing have made it a perennial favorite.
    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve detective stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The book features the famous character Sherlock Holmes, a brilliant consulting detective, and his loyal companion Dr. John Watson. Together, they embark on thrilling adventures to solve mysteries and catch culprits. Each story presents a unique case with intricate plot twists and clever deductions, showcasing Holmes' exceptional skills of observation and reasoning. The book is widely regarded as one of the most popular and influential mystery series of all time.
    • Publication Year: 1892
    • Genre: Mystery, Detective Fiction
    • Setting: Victorian London, England
    • Protagonist: Sherlock Holmes
    • Narrator: Dr. John Watson

Missing your favorite mystery book?


Ranking factors for popular mystery book

  1. Sales figures
    The number of copies sold is a strong indicator of a book's popularity, as it reflects how many readers have purchased and engaged with the book.
  2. Online and offline ratings and reviews
    Reader reviews and ratings on platforms such as Amazon, Goodreads, and brick-and-mortar bookstores can provide insight into the general reception of the book by the reading public.
  3. Awards and honors
    Books that have won or been nominated for prestigious literary awards in the mystery genre, such as the Edgar Awards or the Agatha Awards, are often highly regarded and widely read.
  4. Impact on the genre and cultural significance
    Some mystery books have had a significant impact on the mystery genre, influencing other authors and books, or achieving a level of cultural significance that elevates their status among readers.
  5. Recommendations or endorsements
    Recommendations from prominent authors, critics, or authoritative sources in the mystery genre, as well as being included in prominent book lists, can help boost a book's popularity and reputation.
  6. Author's reputation and fanbase
    Popular mystery authors with a dedicated fanbase or a strong track record in the genre can contribute to a book's popularity, as readers are more likely to pick up and enjoy a book from an author they already know and trust.
  7. Adaptations
    If a mystery book has been adapted into a successful film or television series, its popularity may increase as more people are exposed to the story and characters.
  8. Longevity and staying power
    Books that continue to be popular and well-regarded years or even decades after their initial publication indicate a strong level of interest and engagement from readers.
  9. Word of mouth
    A book's popularity can also be determined by how frequently it's discussed or recommended among readers, both online and offline.
  10. Accessibility and availability
    A book's popularity can be affected by how easy it is to find and purchase in various formats, such as print, e-books, or audiobooks. Wider availability can lead to increased readership and popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular mystery book. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or mystery is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 180 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each mystery once every 24 hours. The rank of each mystery is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular mystery book

Mystery books have always been a popular genre among readers, with their intriguing storylines, suspenseful plot twists, and enigmatic characters. From classic whodunits like Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" to contemporary thrillers like Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl," the mystery genre has produced some of the most beloved and iconic books of all time. But what makes a mystery book truly great? Is it the cleverness of the plot, the complexity of the characters, or the skillful use of suspense and tension? Whatever the case, there's no denying that mystery books continue to captivate and engage readers of all ages and backgrounds. So, what is the most popular mystery book of all time? This is a question that has sparked much debate and discussion among fans of the genre. Some argue that it's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, while others swear by "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. Ultimately, the answer may be subjective, as every reader has their own personal favorite when it comes to mystery books.

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