With the advent of a new year, it’s time to take one last look at 2018 and the most popular mysteries that readers picked up. Based on circulation figures at the library where I work, these were the most checked out mysteries in 2018. Not surprisingly women authors ranked supreme taking all top ten slots!
10. And, for at least the third year in a row, there’s a tie for tenth place! Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb & Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by P.D. James — In the 45th entry of J.D. Robb’s long-running series, Lt. Eve Dallas must solve the murder of a woman who traded other people’s secrets. Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales brings together six previously uncollected stories by P.D. James that explore the “emotional machinations, the rationalizations, the dreams and desires behind murderous cause and effect.”
9. Claws for Concern by Miranda James—Librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, embark on a new case in this 9th book in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series. Charlie helps a kind, elderly man with genealogical research that leads to a member of his own family and may be connected to a cold case of murder.
8. Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich—Last year’s number two most-read mystery remained popular in 2018. A bounty case leads bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to an ice cream factory where one of the workers ended up frozen dead on a trailer truck.
7. The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen— From the bestselling author of the Royal Spyness, Molly Murphy, and Constable Evans mystery series comes this standalone title about a daughter returning to the English countryside for her father’s funeral only to discover an unopened letter that leads her on a journey to Tuscany and her father’s long-buried secret past.
6. Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton—Published in 2017, the very last Sue Grafton mystery featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone makes a bittersweet appearance on the list. Kinsey’s last case is a retrospective one. The past has come back to haunt four men who attended an elite private school and were involved in a sexual assault case twenty years prior.
5. A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert—In this debut mystery, first in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, Amy Webber begins a new life in Virginia managing a small public library. She’s drawn into helping Richard Muir re-investigate a sensational 1925 murder trail that reveals a cruel conspiracy someone would do anything to keep buried.
4. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny—In his 12th case, Inspector Armand Gamache is given an old map that leads to four cadets in the Sûreté du Québec academy and a dead professor.
3. A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart—Britt Ickles hires private investigator Jane Lawless to find out what happened to her cousin Timmy. A cousin her family tells her never existed. The 25th book in the long-running series.
2. Glass Houses by Louise Penny—Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, and his fellow residents of Three Pines witness the arrival of a mysterious figure in November. When the figure vanishes and a body is discovered, Gamache wonders if a debt has been paid. Months later, the trial for the accused begins…
And the Number One Mystery of the Year is …
- Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich — Evanovich wins back the number one slot. Last year, Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 edged out Evanovich to top 2017’s list. This year, Stephanie Plum 24th case was back on top. This time Stephanie takes on a case involving grave robbers, headless corpses, and a boa constrictor named Ethel.
And there you have it, the most popular reads of 2018. Janet Evanovich is back at number one, and there are a fair number of new names on the list that I haven’t seen before. In particular, Louise Penny has gained traction locally as more readers have discovered her engaging characters and the environs of Three Pines. And mysteries involving libraries seem to be increasing in popularity as well.
In case you’re wondering, the most read mystery by a male author was Macbeth by Jo Nesbø. It’s a re-telling of Shakepeare’s Macbeth set against the backdrop of 1970s Iceland and involving a manipulative drug lord named Hecate, an idealistic chief of police named Duncan, and Inspector Macbeth, “a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies.”
So are you delighted or disappointed by the top reads of 2018? How many have you read? Which books would make your 2018 top ten list? What are your speculations for 2019 and mystery reading resolutions for the new year?