Early crime fiction and historic true crime


  • Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • The Father Brown stories – GK Chesterton
  • The Club of Queer Trades – GK Chesterton
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Charles Dickens
  • Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  • Hunted Down (short story) – Charles Dickens
  • The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes – Hugh Greene (ed.) (suggested by @melindahaunton)
  • The Turn of the Screw – Henry James (debatable as to whether this is a mystery or a horror/ghost story – read it and decide)
  • Martin Hewitt, Investigator – Arthur Morrison
  • The Chronicles of Martin Hewitt – Arthur Morrison
  • A Child of the Jago – Arthur Morrison
  • Tales of Mean Streets – Arthur Morrison
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Tell-Tale Heart – Edgar Allan Poe


  • The Cock Lane Ghost: Murder, Sex and Haunting in Dr. Johnson’s London – Paul Chambers
  • Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed – Patricia Cornwell
  • Confessions of an English Opium Eater – Thomas de Quincey (autobiography)
  • Selected Journalism 1850-1870 – Charles Dickens (edited by David Pascoe)
  • Newgate: London’s prototype of hell – Stephen Halliday
  • The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders of 1811 – PD James and TA Critchley
  • The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, or the Murder at Road Hill House – Kate Summerscale
  • The Blackest Streets: The life and death of a Victorian slum – Sarah Wise
  • Dockers and Detectives: Twentieth-century working class reading and writing in Britain – Ken Worpole