Mystery Books To Read if You Love Only Murders in the Building
by Maria Couto
Over the last two seasons of the Hulu TV series Only Murders in the Building, we’ve learned to love crime-solving pals and true crime podcasters Oliver, Charles, and Mabel as they solve murders that have happened in their beloved New York City apartment building — the Arconia. Nothing grabs your attention quite like elderly, amateur detectives, true crime podcasts that hit close to home, and nosy neighbors who disregard each and every police protocol. Check out these 10 to-die-for novels with all the same quirky, and criminally funny vibes.
When widowed 60-year-old Vera Wong begins another mundane morning by opening up her failing tea shop, she finds her first new customer in years — dead. After calling the police, she takes it upon herself to draw an outline of the body and slip the USB drive that the late Marshall Chen was holding into evidence for herself. Vera starts sleuthing, and after narrowing down her list of suspects — which includes Marshall’s emotionally abused wife and scorned twin brother. Vera calls upon all four suspects to get to the truth. But as Vera pries into their lives, they become much like the family she had been missing all along. How could she ever send one of them to prison now?
Lila Macapagal’s godmothers, April, Mae, and June, have a not-so-grand-opening of their new laundromat when they not only find it vandalized with April’s niece dead inside. With an eerie message beside her body, we must figure out if the message was aimed at the niece who had just arrived from the Philippines or the godmothers who are notorious for their gossiping ways. But when the police’s investigation turns up no suspects, Lila must take the lead. Now it’s the gossipy Calendar Crew’s turn to have their lives pried into, and see what dirty laundry they aired that could have driven someone to create such a bloody mess.
Like Oliver and Charles, this group of retirees pairs up with their own version of Mabel — the young Police Chief Donna De Freitas — to solve mysteries. Every Thursday, Elizabeth, Ron, Ibrahim, and Joyce meet in the Jigsaw Room of their retirement home to work on unsolved crimes. When a property developer dies at the retirement village, the Thursday Murder Club is on the case — but they need some help. Recovering from a gunshot wound, PC De Freitas gets a little more excitement back in her life once she starts feeding the group insider information. With her help, the club might be able to solve the case before the rest of the police department — but not before another person dies.
When crime novel enthusiasts from K University travel to Tsunojima island for a murder-mystery-themed trip, they didn’t anticipate the stories they’ve read would come to life. While the mainland has become infamous for an unsolved murder case, the seven students never thought that the murderer would follow them to the isolated island. Without any phone or internet connection, there’s no way for them to call for help once the students start getting picked off one by one. Shifting between timelines that follow the students’ deadly trip and the mainland massacre from the year before, the murders in the Decagon House give the ones in the Arconia a run for its money.
In this collection of five connected short stories, this elderly lady isn’t the one solving murders — she’s committing them. But she always has a good reason — well, good-ish. Between meddling neighbors, gold diggers, antique swindlers, and abusive partners, Maud certainly knows how to put a stop to any trouble that comes her way. And despite the bodies that pile up in her vicinity, who would ever suspect a little old lady? That is until one officer sees straight through her sneaky geriatric tricks. Will Maud finally get caught, or will her walker, hearing aids, and sweet demeanor get her off once again?
Keaton Rutledge’s life changed when her long-lost brother came knocking on her door. Separated at an orphanage as infants, Keaton was adopted while Koby stayed in the foster care system. In celebration of their reunion, they combine their skills and open up Books & Biscuits — a café and bookstore. But just as Keaton gains a sibling, Koby loses his foster brother when they find him dead on the subway. Although he was surrounded by other commuters, no one seems to have seen any signs of foul play — or so they say. Taking the slow-paced investigation into their own hands, Keaton and Koby will see just how the cookie crumbles.
As a moral philosopher and the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie leads a life of order, not Law and Order. This changes when she attends a concert, and a man falls to his death from the upper balcony. Despite being ruled an accident, Isabel isn’t so sure that the man was up there alone — or that he wasn’t pushed. Reopening the investigation off the record, Isabel must follow her moral compass to not only lead her to the killer but, once knowing their reasons, decide whether or not it is morally correct to turn them in.
When Hollywoof’s pet groomer Mimi Lee discovers that Russ Nolan, a local breeder, is harming his Chihuahuas, she loses it on him — loudly. The next day, when Russ is found dead, Mimi’s showdown marks her as the prime suspect. And seriously, how is Mimi supposed to tell the police that she found out about Russ’s abusive ways through none other than Marshmallow — her telepathic cat? With the help of her neighbor Josh — lawyer and total dreamboat — Mimi might be able to clear her name and help the dogs that Russ had left behind. But the investigation certainly won’t be a walk in the park.
While the OMITB trio runs their podcast, the widowed countess Lady Amelia Amesbury writes for an advice column as Lady Agony. Spending her days giving advice on simpler situations, things get tough when a maid asks for help — her mistress is dead, and she suspects it was murder. But just as Amelia is set to meet the maid at St. James’s Park, Amelia finds the woman dead herself. Now that the possibility of murder has become certain, Amelia enlists the help of Simon, the Marquis of Bainbridge. Using the clues left on the maid, they might be able to figure out who the murderer is — and if they stand a chance at romance.
Much like Mabel’s teenage friend group — the Hardy Boys — Ivy, Mateo, and Cal have a mischievous friendship that’s embroiled in murder. Despite once being thick as thieves, by senior year the three are estranged. When the three unexpectedly run into each other, they decide to ditch class, just like in the good old days. As they cross the parking lot, they decide to follow another student who is also playing hooky. Trailing innocently behind, they don’t realize that he’s leading them straight to the scene of his own murder. Unsure if they’re somehow connected to his death, Ivy, Mateo, and Cal must explore every detail they remember from that day in order to bring the killer to justice — unless the killer finds them first.