Picture it: A body is discovered behind a door locked from the inside, the victim of murder, but the perpetrator is nowhere to be found and there’s no way they could have entered or left without being noticed.

What could have happened here? Can you solve this crime?

This is a premise for a locked-room mystery, also known as an impossible crime mystery. If you love escape rooms, the movie Knives Out, or Agatha Christie novels, then you’ll probably enjoy locked room mysteries for their perplexing puzzles in confined settings.

Locked-room mysteries are defined by their gothic atmosphere coupled with a crime that ostensibly could have only been committed by something not of this world.

But like a magician, what seems to be a supernatural entity is really an individual with a talent for misdirection and sleight of hand (and in this case, a penchant for crime). It’s up to the detective to sift through the evidence and red herrings to solve the case. The “ah-ha” moment when the solution is finally revealed, the “howdunit” of everything, is what makes a locked-room mystery so entertaining.

We’ve compiled a list of some great locked-room mysteries that will have you playing the detective and asking yourself: “Just who among them is the culprit?”


Always the First to Die

Written by R.J. Jacobs, narrated by Petrea Burchard

After her husband’s death, Lexi has refused to return to the Pinecrest Estate on the Florida Keys because there are too many hard memories on that strip of land, including the memories of meeting her husband on the set of an iconic horror movie, being cast as an extra, watching herself get killed on screen, and scoffing at the rumors of the Pinecrest Estate “curse”…until she witnessed a cast member die that very summer. But when her daughter sneaks away to visit her grandfather, legendary horror-movie director Rick Plummer, Lexi is forced to face her past. That’s when a Category Four hurricane changes course and hits the southern coast.

Unable to get through to her daughter, Lexi drives to the Keys in the wake of the storm. What she finds is an island without cell service, without power, and with limited police presence. The land is desolate, with only a few remaining behind: the horror director, the starlet once cast as the final girl, the young teenager searching for clues about her father, the mother determined to get off the island, and the person picking them off one-by-one.

Soon enough, Lexi’s life begins to resemble Rick’s most famous horror film, and she must risk her life to save her daughter before someone, or something, destroys them all.

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The Christmas Murder Game

Written by Alexandra Benedict, narrated by Ana Clements

Lily Armitage never intended to return to Endgame House—the grand family home where her mother died twenty-one Christmases ago—until she receives a letter from her aunt, asking her to return to take part in an annual tradition: the Christmas Game. The challenge? Solve twelve clues to find twelve keys. The prize? The deeds to the manor house.

Lily has no desire to win the house. But her aunt makes one more promise: The clues will also reveal who really killed Lily’s mother all those years ago.

So for the twelve days of Christmas Lily must stay at Endgame House with her estranged cousins and unravel the riddles that hold the key not just to the family home but to its darkest secrets. However, it soon becomes clear that her cousins all have their own reasons for wanting to win the house—and not all of them are playing fair.

As a snowstorm cuts them off from the village, the game turns deadly. Soon Lily realizes she’s no longer fighting for an inheritance, but for her life.

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The Dinner Guests

Written by Kiersten Modglin, narrated by Carly Robins

When a group of friends receives unexpected invitations to a dinner party, they see it as a chance to finally meet the bizarre and reclusive new neighbor whose home is enshrouded in layers of security.

As the drinks are poured and dinner is served, the group begins to realize things are not what they seem. What starts out as an innocent night of fun soon becomes a seemingly calculated game filled with cryptic messages and chilling revelations.

With no way out, the guests are forced to play along in hopes of escaping. Friendships fray, loyalties are tested, and the secrets they’ve kept from each other are revealed one by one.

Six friends walk into the house that night. Will six friends make it out?

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Invitation to a Killer

Written by G. M. Malliet, narrated by Erin Dion

Callie Morgan is no ordinary aspiring writer. A notorious wife of a Washington lobbyist, Callie believes no publicity is bad publicity and that publishing her scandalous memoirs will help her achieve her heart’s desire: a diplomatic posting. She just needs crime novelist Augusta Hawke to be her ghostwriter.

It’s hard to say no to Callie, but Augusta does agree to attend her dinner party. The guest list is impressive, and it’s Augusta’s chance to meet celebrity doctor Doc Burke. But before Augusta really gets a chance to chat with the famous humanitarian, the evening ends in his untimely death.

Signs point to a heart-attack, but Augusta isn’t convinced—especially when his niece tells her about the mystery woman who claimed the doctor’s remains.

Augusta decides to host a writer’s retreat and invite all the suspects, most of whom are connected in some way with writing. Isn’t that what Agatha Christie would do? But the remote lodge soon becomes snowed in, and the group starts to crack when it becomes clear the killer may not be finished killing. Can Augusta flush out the culprit before anyone else gets hurt?

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Written by Agatha Christie, narrated by Charles Armstrong

Hercule Poirot thought that retiring to a small village to do some gardening would bring his detective career to a halt. But when Roger Ackroyd’s body is found in his study with a knife stabbed into him, Poirot takes on the case. Ackroyd, whose wealthy fiancée had just recently committed suicide, is hosting a dinner party for a swathe of guests one night when a friend comes to him in confidence and reveals that someone had been blackmailing his late fiancée. That is the last time anyone saw Mr. Ackroyd alive. Join one of Agatha Christie’s most notable characters in this entertaining and surprising murder mystery.

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A Quiet Retreat

Written by Kiersten Modglin, narrated by Carly Robins

It all begins with a simple invitation. For five authors, it’s meant to be the start of a restful week, filled with free food, drinks, and like-minded company. But shortly after their arrival, things take an unsettling turn. Broken property, missing items, and strange noises are just some of the odd occurrences that have each member questioning their companions. As suspicions mount, the authors are pitted against each other. Whom can they trust in a house full of strangers?

With tensions rising, the writers find themselves in the middle of their own mystery. Death, terror, and despair are common elements in their books, but at Black Hills Manor, the murders being plotted are their own…

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The Woman in the Library

Written by Sulari Gentill, narrated by Katherine Littrell

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet—until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation, and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling listen with this unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and reveals that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

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