BUT.... I realise a lot of people would beg to differ (I know at least one person who thinks Dickens is boring and if I were completely honest with myself--which I rarely am--I'd have to admit that he can drag stories to unnecessary lengths). Therefore I promise to only include thrilling and suspense-packed stories in this list. Those are my favourite kind, anyway.
And Autumn is the time for cosy mysteries, isn't it?
First of all, the title of this book is the embodiment of awesomeness. A club? For suicide?
Plus a courageous (and rather irresponsible) Bohemian prince who dares to take on the sinister club president and rescue the hopeless members who, through a ritualistic card game, are trapped into murdering each other.
This is possibly my favourite book and I annoy people by referring to it too much. I realise the hefty amount of philosophical banter (my favourite part, actually) can bog the story down a bit, but it's made up for with lots of action, suspense, and quirkiness.
A simple police detective has, with a stroke of brilliance, single-handedly penetrated the most secret anarchist (the Victorian version of terrorist) organisation in the world. Not only that, but he's convinced the anarchists to elect him as the newest member of their top council.
He's the only one who knows about the anarchists. One of the anarchists knows his true identity. Both are sworn to secrecy.
One disclaimer: The ending of this story was a let-down for me. Otherwise it was awesome (it's still one of my favourite books).
John Buchan is one of the earliest spy thriller authors, but his books are some of my favourites in the genre. They will probably seem a little slow and even naive to those who are used to modern spy thrillers where double agents lurk on every page, but they have plenty of plot twists, hairbreadth escapes, sinister villains, and even an explosion or two to keep things lively.
Also some code breaking...
And a chase involving an aeroplane...
Everything you really need for a good, solid spy story.
As much as I'd like to include The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on this list, Aimee already included them on hers and besides, I've only read a few of the Sherlock Holmes short stories. *hangs head in shame* So I'll include the Father Brown stories instead. They're not as well-known but they're really fun, quirky mysteries with plenty of the usual murders and jewel thefts.
How to read a short mystery:
1. Read the story (stopping if you need to to look for clues) up to the part where the detective is about to explain the mystery.
2. Stop and close the book.
3. Solve the mystery yourself.
4. Read on to see if you were correct in your surmise.
(Optional) 5. Feel like Sherlock Holmes if you got it right.
I don't know if this book counts as a classic, but it's been around for more than fifty years, is still quite popular, and has had a movie made of it with David Niven, so I think it's permissible to include it.
Warning: Don't try to read this book in one sitting. It's a novel, okay? You'll turn your brain into soup if you stay up late trying to finish the whole book in one night (like my brother did).
Besides, all that masterful suspense is wasted unless you dole the chapters out over several days, spending the hours when you're not reading wondering whether the characters are going to be okay until you get back.
Not to mention delaying the inevitable moment when you finish the book and have to come to grips with the pile of emotions you've amassed while reading it. Withdrawal periods can range from a few days to several weeks (over three in my case).
But that's all part of the experience.
Probably the only book that's ever given me nightmares. I mean, seriously--who gets nightmares from something you read? Well, I did.
You might want to try this one, if you like nightmares.