MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Top 10 All-Time Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers for Book Clubs

This is the third in a series of four posts. See also overall favorites, nonfiction, and most popular books of 2019.


In the previous two posts we shared the results of our survey of book club members to find out their all-time favorite book club books, and their favorite nonfiction books. Here we look at mysteries and thrillers. Once again, respondents were given the opportunity to nominate up to three books and reminded that they should only name books that they had discussed in a book club setting, because there are many excellent mysteries and thrillers but not all have the substance to make for great discussion; 920 responded to this question.


Book Clubs' All-Time Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

2020 Rank Book % of Respondents
1 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012, Crown) 11.8%
2 The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (2019, Celedon) 7.9%
3 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015, Riverhead) 7.2%
4 The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn (2018, William Morrow) 4.5%
5 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2008, Knopf) 4.3%
6 The Dry by Jane Harper (2017, Flatiron) 3.4%
7 Still Life by Louise Penny (2007, St Martin's Press) 3.2%
8 Defending Jacob by William Landay (2012, Delacorte Press) 2.3%
9= Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (2013, Atria) 2.0%
9= And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939, Harper Collins) 2.0%
Jan 2020 Survey: 920 responded, option to name up to 3 books, 1,891 total responses, average 2.1 titles per respondent.

This is the only Top 10 list to include a title published before the 21st century: Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Louise Penny's debut, Still Life, comes in at #7, but her true popularity with book clubs becomes apparent when we add together votes for all her different titles plus the couple of dozen respondents who, despite being asked to name specific titles not authors, wrote in answers such as "anything by Louise Penny." When we added all those together (as we did for other authors who received similar "anything by" votes) we found that Louise Penny is a perennial book club favorite with 11% of respondents naming her in their top three favorite mysteries or thrillers.

Please do share your favorite book club mysteries and thrillers by posting below.

More Survey Results:

Overall All-Time Favorites
All-Time Nonfiction Favorites
Most Popular Books of 2019
About the Survey

Davina Morgan-Witts

Anything by Louise Penny I'm always going to buy...and I like William Kent Krueger and Linda Castello too .
# Posted By Ginger | 2/18/20 3:38 PM
I just finished A Better Man by Louise Penny. As always, she doesn't disappoint. This one had many layers, relationships and characters.
# Posted By Sharon | 2/24/20 1:56 PM
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