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Top 10 Mysteries of 2020?

Welcome 2021! So glad you’re here.

But… Let’s take one last look at the most unusual of years, 2020. What were the most popular mysteries read? Based on circulation figures at my local library, these were the most checked out mysteries in 2020.


10. Vendetta in Death by J.D. Robb — Eve Dallas in on the trail of a killer who targets men and has dubbed herself Lady Justice. 48th in the long-running series.

9. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith—While in Cornwall visiting family, Cormoran Strike meets a woman who asks him to find her mother who disappeared in 1974. 5th book in the series under the pseudonym for author J.K. Rowling.

8. A Cruel Deception by Charles Todd—In the aftermath of World War I, an English nurse “attempts to save a trouble officer from a mysterious killer.” 11th book in the Bess Crawford mystery series.

7. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich— The sixth book in the Fox & O’Hare series involves a missing Silicon Valley bigshot known as the Big Kahuna. The only lead takes the duo to Hawaii to find the missing man’s surfer dude son.

6. Hell Bay by Will Thomas—Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn are on assignment on a remote island off the Cornwall coast where an important treaty is in jeopardy after the host and an ambassador’s head of security are killed. Published in 2016, this is the 8th book in the historical mystery series.

5. Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs—Theodosia Browning and Drayton Conneley attend a genteel bird hunt that ends with a shooting, a fire, and missing daughter-in-law. 12th book in the Tea Shop Mystery series.

4. The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny—Inspector Gamache investigates the mysterious death of a psychic following a seance in a reputedly haunted house. Published in 2008, this is the third book in the series.

3. Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich—Stephanie Plum’s grandmother gets married! But the groom drops dead and his “business partners” are after granny to get the deceased presumed millions.

2. Golden in Death by J.D. Robb—A pediatrician receives a seemingly innocent gift that poisons him. Then another victim suffers the same fate. It’s up to Eve to hunt for the killer sending such deadly packages in this 50th entry in the long-running series.

And the Number One Mystery of the Year is …

  1. A Better Man by Louise Penny — This 2018 release remained a popular pick, the #1 checked out book for 2020 from my library. 15th in the series, Chief Inspector Gamache searches for a man’s missing daughter as flood water rise across the province of Quebec.


And there you have it, the most popular reads of 2020!

Well, sort of…  It’s interesting to note that several titles on this list were published prior to 2020. Access to the library was limited this year due to the pandemic, and many of these books are by well-known authors in the genre and part of long-running series. I would not be at all surprised that many readers may have been trying to catch up on these popular authors/series in 2020. Although to be fair, many of these same authors have ranked in previous years’ top ten lists.

Honorable mentions: Some other popular reads of the year that just missed the top ten, included: Peter Robinson’s Many Rivers to Cross, Val McDermid’s How the Dead Speak, and Rex Stout’s Fer-de-Lance. Again, all well-known names in the mystery genre. Stout’s appearance near the top of the most check out list speaks volumes!

It was much harder for newer and lesser known authors to find an audience when browsing titles indoors wasn’t an option for much of the year. But there were other options. Stay tuned for a look at what the top read digital titles were in 2020.

So are you delighted or disappointed by the top reads of 2020? How many have you read? Which books made your 2020 top ten list? What are your speculations for 2021 and mystery reading resolutions for the new year?

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Categorised in: Mystery, Reviews

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