If you’re a fan of mystery novels, there’s nothing better than finding out ‘whodunnit’ in one. That’s why classics like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None remain popular 44 years after her death.
An unknown wealthy host who is nowhere to be found when they arrive on the private island off the Devon coast has unwittingly invited ten strangers to spend a long weekend there in And Then There Were None. There is an odd group of people; a doctor, an army general, an ex-govenore, and a pensioner… but it turns out they have more in common than they realize; deep, dark secrets in common with each other. Their shady pasts seal their doom as one by one they are wiped out by a sinister nursery rhyme until there are none left.
Murder mysteries can be enjoyed by people who aren’t fans of crime fiction, but beware: reading one might get you hooked on the genre, because figuring out whodunit can become addictive, and so can learning some of the detective lingo that comes from books like And Then There Were None.
1. A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle
First up on our list of books like And Then There Were None is none other than Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, the world’s most famous detective duo.
You’re saying it’s simple, right? (At least, that’s what I assumed)
Originally published in 1887 to lukewarm acclaim, A Study in Scarlet is their debut collaboration and the best place to begin their subsequent works if you’re determined to read them all. Introducing the genius of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet lays the groundwork for their working relationship and time spent together in that fabled Baker Street flat.
Using a magnifying glass, Sherlock Holmes must solve a murder mystery at Lauriston Gardens, which is the first time the magnifying glass has been used in detective fiction.
Despite the numerous adaptations, reading A Study in Scarlet is a real treat because it allows you to see Doyle’s brilliant Sherlock Holmes and his amazing deductive abilities up close and personal for the first time..
2. The Yellow Room, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
As an American Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, the author of the now infamous phrase “the butler did it,” is frequently referred to as such and her novel The Yellow Room is a welcome addition to this list of works like And Then There Were None.
An unidentified body is found in the linen closet of the Spencer family’s summer house in Maine, and Carol Spencer, who has just arrived with her elderly mother, is prime suspect. The mansion’s staff and phones have mysteriously vanished, and the doors and windows are locked, so who else could have left the body there?
In the midst of a global conflict and a murderer on the loose in the grounds of their mansion, Carol enlists the aid of Major Jerry Dane to help her solve the mystery and prove her innocence before it’s too late.
However, compared to some of Christie’s descriptions of her murdered characters, The Yellow Room manages to keep you invested in finding out the truth despite its poignant exploration of themes such as loss and premature mortality.
3. The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith
First in a series of Cormoran Strike mysteries written by Harry Potter author JK Rowling as Robert Galbraith under the pseudonym, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a modern crime novel influenced by the aforementioned literary giants while remaining classic in spirit.
He is a newly single private investigator, living in his office and barely scraping by after losing a limb to a landmine in Afghanistan when we first meet him. Things aren’t going well for Strike, but when a man named John Bristow asks him to look into the death of his sister, which police have ruled a suicide, things start to look up.
Finding out his sister is legendary supermodel Lula Landry, also known as “the Cuckoo,” makes Strike feel like he’s stepped into a world of multimillionaires where nothing is impossible for those who have money.
If Strike wants to find out what happened to the illustrious Cuckoo, he must ignore the many seductions, pleasures, and distractions of the wealthy. A gripping detective novel in the vein of And Then There Were None, The Cuckoo’s Calling is sure to captivate readers.
4. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
For this reason, I’ve included Daphne du Maurier’s haunting and mysterious gothic novel Rebecca on this list of books like And Then There Were None, which is full of psychological dramas and thrillers. A mystery novel’s perfect ingredients are love, obsession, and secrecy, and Rebecca, the title character, is at the center of this novel’s mystery.
We are introduced to the unnamed second wife of handsome, wealthy widower Maxim de Winter. After a whirlwind romance and a shocking marriage proposal, she finds herself living in the shadow of her first wife Rebecca, who died mysteriously. Rebecca’s ghost haunts the second Mrs. de Winter, slowly driving her insane and threatening her newlywed bliss from beyond the grave.
Rebecca showcases the genre’s breadth and offers Christie fans (as well as readers of crime fiction) a shocking secret to unravel.
5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Truman Capote’s original true-crime novel In Cold Blood is an excellent place to start if you enjoy books like And Then There Were None because you are an avid reader of crime fiction.
Four members of the beloved Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, were brutally murdered on November 15th, 1959. They were shackled to their beds and shot in the head. Cold-blooded murders are notoriously difficult to solve due to the lack of a clear motive and sparse evidence.
With his longtime friend Harper Lee, Capote went to Holcomb to begin reconstructing the crime and the investigation, which, inexplicably, resulted in the murderers’ capture and trial.
As the final novel that Truman Capote ever finished, In Cold Blood is a groundbreaking work of non-fiction that’s a must-read for anyone who loves a good murder mystery.
6. All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
When it comes to books, nothing beats reading one that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end, and Megan Miranda’s suspenseful novel All the Missing Girls fits the bill perfectly.
After her best friend Corinne vanished mysteriously, Nicolette Farell decided to leave her hometown. When Corinne returns to her hometown ten years after she left to take care of her ailing father, old wounds begin to reopen as she is reintroduced to characters from her past who are all somehow connected to her.
She can no longer avoid her demons when another young girl goes missing shortly after Nic’s return and begins investigating the new disappearance along with what occurred all those years ago. This 15-day backwards timeline keeps readers guessing as it slowly reveals connections between the two seemingly unrelated disappearances.
It’s everything fans of books like And Then There Were None want in a next read, with plenty of page-turning twists and turns and an imaginative plot.
7. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton
Stuart Turton, the author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, made an unexpectedly strong debut with his award-winning novel, another creative narrative like All The Missing Girls.
Aiden Bishop gets sucked into a game that he hasn’t realized he’s been playing for a long time, but he knows the rules: Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he solves her murder and identifies her killer, breaking the cycle. Aiden wakes up every day in the body of a different guest at the manor in this game of Cluedo on steroids to solve the murder, which is set in the lavish 1920s mansion Blackheath Manor.
With time loops and body swaps, this is a fascinating take on a murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Turton has kept all of the genre’s elements while also dissecting some of them to give readers new ideas to ponder. And Then There Were None-style fiction, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is fantastic.
8. Crooked House, by Agatha Christie
It would be impolite not to include one of Agatha Christie’s novels on this list of books like And Then There Were None, given the sheer volume of her work. Christie welcomes us to the Crooked House in this personal favorite of hers, with an ending that her publishers initially deemed too shocking. We’re there to figure out who poisoned Aristides, patriarch of the Leonides family, before he dies.
Aristides second wife Brenda, who is decades his junior and rumored to be having an affair with the grandchildren’s tutor, appears to be the prime suspect when suspicions start to circulate. As narrator Charles Hayward, betrothed to one of Aristides granddaughters, must find out ‘whodunnit’ in order to marry her, we get to investigate from the inside.
In the Crooked House, there are plenty of unexpected plot twists and turns, as well as a house full of interesting, curious characters and a rather sinister interpretation of a nursery rhyme.
9. A Judgement in Stone, by Ruth Rendell
Our list of books similar to And Then There Were None concludes with a book by Ruth Rendell, a well-known author of murder mysteries.
The reasons why someone would commit murder fascinate her, rather than the who, she once said. As a result, in her novel A Judgement in Stone, she chooses to focus on the ‘whytheydunnit’ rather than the who.
Housekeeper Eunice Parchman murdered the entire Coverdale family in the span of 15 minutes one Valentine’s Day, and it’s up to Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch to figure out why.
Rendell brilliantly demonstrates character, motive, and what can be done to a person by the strain of keeping a secret for a long time. One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read was A Judgement in Stone, written by a well-known author.
No matter how well books like And Then There Were None adapt to other media (stage, film, television, radio), there’s nothing quite like reading them in their original form.
As a fan of the crime genre, there’s nothing like revisiting old haunts and meeting new characters while learning about their enigmatic backstories and the heinous crimes they commit. However, despite the similarities between the books, they never fail to surprise and entertain us, which is why we keep returning to them.
Looking for a book that compares to And Then There Were None? Do you have any additional suggestions that weren’t included on the list? Tell us in the comments what you think!