10 Best Authors Like Agatha Christie for Detective Novel Fans

Agatha Christie is the Queen of Crime. Check out our list of the best authors like Agatha Christie, and get your chance to guess “whodunit” while you read.

Known as the best-selling novelist of all time, Agatha Christie revolutionized British literature with her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. She also wrote many famous plays, including The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the world. She was best known for her detective novels that were known to keep the reader guessing through red herrings until the very last page when the guilty party was revealed.

Christie was one of four “Queens of Crime” authors responsible for England’s Golden Age of Detective Fiction. If you are a fan of Christie’s work, you might also enjoy the best Mickey Spillane books!

Here Are The Best Authors Like Agatha Christie You Must Read

1. Dorothy L. Sayers, 1893-1957

Dorothy L. Sayers
Black and white portrait of Dorothy L Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers was born in Oxford, England, and wrote mysteries, short stories, and poems. She wrote during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction and was considered one of the four “Queens of Crime.” Her books feature Lord Peter Wimsey, an amateur sleuth from England’s aristocracy. The Nine Tailors, book number nine of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, was considered her finest work by literary critics, but she also was well-known for her advocacy for women’s rights. Her novel Gaudy Night is considered the first feminist mystery novel in history.

“Bells are like cats and mirrors—they’re always queer, and it doesn’t do to think too much about them.”

Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors
The Nine Tailors
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 424 Pages - 09/09/2021 (Publication Date) - Hassell Street Press (Publisher)

2. Louise Penny, 1958 – present

Color portrait of Louise Penny

Louise Penny is a modern writer of detective novels who lives in Montreal. Before becoming an author, Louise Penny worked as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She didn’t start writing until she was in her 40s, and her most popular works are the Three Pines books which feature Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the fictional head of a Quebec homicide department. Still Life was her first Gamache series book, and it won the New Blood Dagger Award, the Anthony Award, and the Barry Award. Her books have also earned five Agatha Awards for Best Mystery Book.

“Life is change. If you aren’t growing and evolving, you’re standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead.”

Louise Penny, Still Life
Still Life
  • Great product!
  • Penny, Louise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 312 Pages - 09/30/2008 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Minotaur (Publisher)

3. Ngaio Marsh, 1895-1982

A black-and-white photo of Ngaio Marsh

Another author from the Gold Age of Detective Fiction, Ngaio Marsh, was from New Zealand and was known for her crime fiction. A contemporary of Christie and Sayers, she was one of the “Queens of Crime” and wrote over 30 detective novels published between 1934 and 1982. Her main character was British CID detective Roderick Alleyn who solved a number of crimes, many of which took place in the theater.

The first of his books, A Man Lay Dead, was published in 1934. In addition to her novels, she wrote several short stories. Her work earned her the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, which she was awarded in 1966, and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

“I quite appreciate your scruples, but they are not worth much when they are used to screen a murderer or to cast suspicion on an innocent person.”

Ngaio Marsh, A Man Lay Dead
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A Man Lay Dead (Inspector Roderick Alleyn, 1) (Volume 1)
  • Marsh, Ngaio (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/16/2011 (Publication Date) - Felony & Mayhem Press (Publisher)

4. Jacqueline Winspear, 1955-present

A photo of Jacqueline Winspear standing at a podium with a microphone

Jacqueline Winspear is a New York Times bestselling author who wrote the Maisie Dobbs detective series. These historical mystery books explore what happened after World War I and center on the skills and knowledge of the female detective. These novels are notable for their historical accuracy as they follow Dobbs through her lifetime. Her work has won several awards, including Agatha and Edgar awards. The first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, was an international bestseller named Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.

“Shame, isn’t it? That we only like our heroes out in the street when they are looking their best and their uniforms are ‘spit and polished,’ and not when they’re showing us the wounds they suffered on our behalf.”

Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs
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Maisie Dobbs
  • This is the 10th printing of the 2003 first paperback edition of this Edgar and multiple-award-winning historical mystery by Jacqueline Winstead.
  • Winspear, Jacqueline (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 06/03/2014 (Publication Date) - Soho Crime (Publisher)

5. P.D. James, 1920-2014

A photo of P.D. James sitting at a table

Phyllis Dorothy James, better known as P.D. James, is the author of the Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray mystery series and several stand-alone novels. Born in Oxford, she started her career working for the National Health Service and then police departments. Those experiences came to play out in her detective stories and novels. As a result of her work, she was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of the Arts. Death Comes to Pemberley, a book set in the time after Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is one of her more popular works.

“If this were fiction, could even the most brilliant novelist contrive to make credible so short a period in which pride had been subdued and prejudice overcome?”

P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley
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Death Comes to Pemberley
  • James, P. D. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 01/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

6. Ruth Rendell, 1930-2015

A photo of Ruth Rendell

Ruth Rendell was an English mystery author who wrote the 24-book series that included Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford. Her police procedurals helped develop the thriller genre of literature. She claimed she was not a fan of Agatha Christie, yet is often cited as an author with a similar style. The Girl Next Door was the last novel she published in her lifetime. She also wrote several novels under the pen name Barbara Vine, including A Dark-Adapted Eye, which won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award in 1987.

“Don’t hate anyone,” she had said. “It’s quite useless and harms the hater while it does nothing at all to the hated.”

Ruth Rendell, The Girl Next Door
The Girl Next Door
  • Ruth Rendell (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 01/01/2015 (Publication Date) - Random House (Publisher)

7. Margery Allingham, 1904-1966

A black-and-white portrait of author Margery Allingham

Margery Allingham was born in London and lived in England throughout her life. She was another of the “Queens of Crime” and part of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, and she is best known for Albert Campion, the sleuth and main character of 18 of her books. The Crime at Black Dudley was the first Campion book, and in the second book, Mystery Mile, he became a central character.

“His name is Albert Campion,” she said. “He came down in Anne Edgeware’s car and the first thing he did when he introduced himself was to show me a conjuring trick with a two-headed penny—he’s quite inoffensive.”

Margery Allingham, The Crime at Black Dudley
The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion)
  • Allingham, Margery (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages - 07/07/2016 (Publication Date) - Bloomsbury Reader (Publisher)

8. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859-1930

A black-and-white photo of Arthur Conan Doyle

A list of detective stories and fiction would not be complete without discussing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes of Scotland Yard fame. Before introducing the world to Sherlock, Doyle went to medical school. He began writing short stories while in medical school, then became a successful doctor and author. His first Sherlock Holmes book was A Study in Scarlet, and he wrote it in just three weeks. It was nearly instantly popular. Though Doyle was not a fan of the Sherlock books, they won him a spot on this list.

“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
  • Doyle, Arthur Conan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 158 Pages - 11/21/2020 (Publication Date) - East India Publishing Company (Publisher)

9. Anthony Horowitz, 1955-present

A photograph of Anthony Horowitz wearing smiling at the camera

Anthony Horowitz is a modern British author known for the Alex Rider spy novels for children, which have sold over 19 million copies worldwide. However, his books for adult readers include two Sherlock Holmes books, The House of Silk and Moriarty, and four books in the Hawthorne and Horowitz series, which feature himself as a character who works alongside Detective Daniel Hawthorne to solve crimes. These books land him a spot in the list of the best detective writers like Christie.

“Robert Pinkerton used to say that a lie was like a dead coyote. The longer you leave it, the more it smells.”

Anthony Horowitz, Moriarty
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Moriarty: A Novel
  • Horowitz, Anthony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 09/01/2015 (Publication Date) - Harper Perennial (Publisher)

10. Patricia Wentworth, 1877-1961

Patricia Wentworth was the pen name for Dora Amy Turnbull, an English whodunnit writer who published 32 crime novels in the early 1900s, starting with Grey Mask in 1928. Her books featured Miss Maud Silver, a retired teacher who becomes a private detective in London. Silver is often compared to Jane Marple, so Wentworth earns a spot on the list of writers like Christie. She published 34 additional books. Looking for more reading material? Check out the best J.K. Rowling books!

“I shall want heaps and heaps of tea. The blow has driven me to drink.”

Patricia Wentworth, Grey Mask
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Grey Mask (The Miss Silver Mysteries)
  • Wentworth, Patricia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 332 Pages - 10/10/2017 (Publication Date) - Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (Publisher)

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