July 29, 2020 Maria Firkaly
Did you binge Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix recently? I did! I love a good mystery both in true crime and as fiction. We’ve put together these True/Crime and Fiction mysteries reading selections. We hope you find your next good read.
Young Adult Mysteries
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (Young Adult)
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Young Adult)
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (Young Adult)
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
General/Adult Unsolved Mysteries
Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.
Each of the dozen stories in this collection reveals a hidden and often dangerous world and, like Into Thin Air and The Orchid Thief, pivots around the gravitational pull of obsession and the captivating personalities of those caught in its grip. There is the world’s foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes who is found dead in mysterious circumstances; an arson sleuth trying to prove that a man about to be executed is innocent, and sandhogs racing to complete the brutally dangerous job of building New York City’s water tunnels before the old system collapses. Throughout, Grann’s hypnotic accounts display the power-and often the willful perversity-of the human spirit.
Compulsively readable, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant mosaic of ambition, madness, passion, and folly.
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar
In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers’ own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author’s retracing of the hikers’ fateful journey in the Russian winter. A fascinating portrait of the young hikers in the Soviet era, and a skillful interweaving of the hikers narrative, the investigators’ efforts, and the author’s investigations, here for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain.
Lost Girls by Robert Kolker
Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real. Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them.
Ghost Ship by Brian Hicks
Written with the suspense of a thriller and the vivid accuracy of the best popular history, Ghost Ship tells the unforgettable true story of the most famous and most fascinating maritime mystery of all time.
The Shadow Of Death : The Hunt For A Serial Killer by Philip E Ginsburg
In the mid-1980s, someone stabbed six women to death in the Connecticut River Valley on the border between New Hampshire and Vermont. The murderer remains at large and the total number of his victims is unknown. In this brilliant work of true crime reportage, New York Times–bestselling author Philip E. Ginsburg provides fascinating insights into the groundbreaking forensic methods used to track the killer and paints indelible portraits of the lives he cut so tragically short. The Shadow of Death re-creates the fear that consumed the idyllic region when young women began to disappear with horrifying regularity. Neighbors used to leaving their doors unlocked suddenly wondered who among them was a sadistic serial killer. Friends and family of the victims were left to endure the bottomless pain of imagining their loved ones’ terrifying last moments. Desperate to stop the slayings, local police and FBI investigators used exotic new techniques to try to unmask the murderer. In some of the book’s most harrowing sections, Ginsburg documents the extraordinary efforts of psychologist John Philpin as he risks his own emotional stability to get inside the mind of a madman. Law enforcement officials identified several suspects and came tantalizingly close to putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, but it was only after a pregnant woman survived a brutal attack that the killings appeared to stop. The question remains: Could they start again?