A few of the most popular examples of famous British mystery novels are "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Man Who Was Thursday" by G.K. Chesterton, and "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie. Literature professor Helene Androski argues that British mystery writers have set the standard for the genre.Continue Reading
In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles," Sherlock Holmes solves a murder that appears to have been committed by a seemingly supernatural dog. Published in 1902, this novel led to the popular revival of Holmes' character after his death in Doyle's 1893 short story "The Final Problem."
G.K. Chesterton, a contemporary of Doyle, published "The Man Who Was Thursday" in 1908. Its protagonist, Gabriel Syme, is both a police investigator and a poet, leading Scotland Yard to select him as an undercover agent to infiltrate a group of anarchist poets. After Syme learns that there is another spy in the group, the mystery expands to include, according to Dale Ahlquist, "the mystery of creation itself."
Agatha Christie's 1939 novel "And Then There Were None" is the world's best-selling mystery novel according to the author's website. This popularity has led the novel's basic plot device, known as the "Locked Room," to become a cliche on both page and screen. Ten strangers, each having been secretly involved in murder, are invited to visit an island for various reasons and killed off one by one. The nature of these murders is explained at the end of the novel in a postscript written by the killer.Learn more about Fiction