8 Locked Room Mysteries To Keep You Guessing

Puzzles and escape room challenges are more popular now than ever before. If you enjoy figuring out how to escape the seemingly inescapable, consider reading a locked room mystery. This subgenre of mysteries is also called impossible mysteries because while a murder’s been committed it appears that the potential suspects all have airtight alibis.

Think about the movie Knives Out – the sleuth has to puzzle out who committed the crime and how they managed it. Locked room mysteries or impossible mysteries take place in a locked room or an isolated area like a remote island with a very limited number of suspects. The suspects always have alibis. And sometimes, they become the next victims.

Locked room mystery suggestions

Book cover for And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None by
Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Mystery’s grand dame created one of the classic locked room mysteries and set the bar for all that follow. Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to an isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island, they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…

Who among them is the killer? Will any of them survive?

The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

The year is 2037, and on the tiny island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a forty-eight-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position with the totalitarian Union of Friendship. One of them is Anna Francis, a workaholic bureaucrat with a nine-year-old daughter she rarely sees and a secret that haunts her.

Her assignment: to stage her own death and then to observe, from her hiding place inside the walls of the house, how the six other candidates react to the news that a murderer is among them. Who will take control? Who will crack under pressure? But then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins.

An Unwanted Guest by Shari LaPena

An Unwanted Guest by Shari LaPena

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway. But when the storm hits, no one is getting away. It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing maybe even romantic weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So, when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity and all contact with the outside world the guests settle in for the long haul. Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead it looks like an accident.

But when a second guest dies, they start to panic. Within the snowed-in paradise, something or someone is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, and some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all.

But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. Delighted by a surprise invitation, Miriam Macy sails off to a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico, with six strangers–an ex-cop, a chef, a financial advisor, a nurse, a lawyer, and a young widow.

Surrounded by miles of open water in the gloriously green Sea of Cortez, Miriam is shocked to discover that she and the rest of her companions have been brought to the remote island under false pretenses–and all seven strangers harbor a secret.

Danger lurks in the lush forest and in the halls and bedrooms of the lonely mansion. Sporadic cell phone coverage and miles of ocean keep the group trapped in paradise. And strange accidents keep them suspicious of each other, as one by one . . . They all fall down.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea.

At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard.

The problem? All passengers remain accounted for–and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by
Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Tempest is a stage magician who lost her Las Vegas gig after a trick goes horribly awry (she suspects sabotage). Now she’s home to help out with the family business – a company that creates hidden rooms and secret staircases.

But bad luck seems to be following her when workers on the latest job discover a body in a room that’s been bricked up for decades. And it’s her former stage assistant, freshly murdered. But how did it get in the room? And was Tempest the intended victim?

Lots of fun with treehouses, secret libraries, hidden staircases, and delicious descriptions of Indian fusion dishes, this mystery is a delight.

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

If you want some science fiction with your locked room mystery, try Six Wakes. Six people wake up on a spaceship. They’re clones – usually, when you wake up, your first memory is of how your previous incarnation died. But not these clones. They all have memory gaps. And all of their previous incarnations appear to have been murdered. They’re alone in space so that means one of them did…or does it?

Told from multiple points of view with flashbacks, this one is sure to keep you guessing until the end. And also? Enjoy the cleverness of the title – six wakes meaning that each of the six crew members wakes up but also six wakes – funerals- for the six deaths.

In closing

If you enjoy trying to figure out who did it and how then give one of these mysteries a try.

If you’re looking for other book suggestions, explore our online resource, NoveList Plus. Or sign up for Recommends, our personalized reading suggestions via email service. Or ask Library staff during your next visit.

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