11 Must-Read Mysteries and Thrillers with a Wicked Sense of Humor

By Stephanie Brown
Three mystery novels laid out on a blue surface, offering a diverse range of intriguing stories for readers who love a good whodunit.

These novels are dangerously funny.

We love delving into a dead-serious whodunit, but sometimes you don’t want to choose between a gasp and a laugh. That’s why we rounded up a few of our favorite funny mystery books. The narratives below are packed with thrills, chills, and devilishly funny one-liners. They’re sure to keep you on the edge of your seat…and laughing in delight.

Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera with GMA Seal

Listen for the Lie

By Amy Tintera

In Listen for the Lie, Amy Tintera delivers a new thriller that’s “laugh-out-loud funny, thrilling, and twisty” (bestselling author Liane Moriarty). It’s also the perfect next read for crime podcast obsessives. Lucy Chase’s dark past is about to get the true crime treatment, and she’s not exactly thrilled about it. Five years ago, someone murdered Lucy’s close friend, Savvy. Lucy can’t remember a thing about what happened that night, though she was found covered in Savvy’s blood. As a result, everyone believes Lucy is a murderer, and sometimes even Lucy isn’t sure of her innocence. So when the hosts of a hit true crime podcast arrive in Lucy’s hometown to launch a new investigation into Savvy’s murder, Lucy must act fast — even if it means exposing herself as the killer. Packed with clever plot twists and told from Lucy’s whip-smart point of view, Listen for the Lie is an entertaining thrill ride.

A stylized book cover for "everyone in my family has killed someone" by benjamin stevenson, featuring an assortment of silhouetted murder mystery-related items—such as weapons and poison—arranged around a large fingerprint, with an endorsement by jane harper describing the novel as "exceptionally fresh, smart, funny.

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone

By Benjamin Stevenson

Mystery lovers with an acute dread of family gatherings will devour this clever murder mystery about a treacherous family reunion at a snowed-in mountain resort. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone introduces us to Ernie Cunningham and the members of the Cunningham family — loved ones who, if Ernie is to be trusted, have all killed (at least) one person at some point in the past. Featuring hilarious send-ups of the mystery genre courtesy of our fourth-wall-breaking narrator, Benjamin Stevenson’s wily black comedy is not just a funny mystery novel but a novel about mystery novels.

A colorful book cover entitled "vera wong's unsolicited advice for murderers" by jesse q. sutanto, featuring a pair of eyes peeking out from above the title, which is the predominant feature against a backdrop of dark and light stripes.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

By Jesse Q. Sutanto

At the center of this charming crime caper is Vera Wong, a kindly tea shop owner in San Francisco who finds a dead man in the middle of her store. Like any self-possessed “lady of a certain age,” Vera knows she’d do a better job than the cops at cracking this case. So she pockets a suspicious flash drive from the body and begins her own investigation. Vera’s sleuthing starts out great, but a creeping suspicion begins to gnaw at her that one of her beloved customers might be the killer, placing her in a sticky spot indeed. A USA Today bestseller, Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is a “compulsively readable story with intrigue, humor, and above all, heart” (Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All so Nice Here).

A stylish book cover for "finlay donovan is killing it," featuring an illustration of a woman with large blue sunglasses and the amusing tagline, "most moms are ready to kill someone by eight thirty a.m. on any given morning....

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

By Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in an ongoing new mystery series — which means if you love this book, you’ll have more to look forward to! A hilarious send-up of the suspense genre and the trials of motherhood, Elle Cosimano’s celebrated funny mystery introduces us to Finlay Donovan, a crime writer and single mom who feels like she’s failing at both. While discussing her newest writing project with her agent at lunch, Finlay is mistaken for a contract killer — and inadvertently takes on a job to do some contract killing. Soon this single-parent fabulist finds herself in the middle of a real-life crime novel.

Book cover for "one for the money" by janet evanovich featuring a pair of eyes with emphatic eyebrows and a lipstick tube, symbolizing elements of mystery and femininity.

One for the Money

By Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is a crime fiction superstar who excels at blending heart-stopping thrills with hilarious twists and turns. One for the Money is the first in the author’s fun, fast-paced series centered on intrepid New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. The novel begins with Stephanie down on her luck: She’s broke, unemployed, and in desperate need of work. So her bail-bondsman cousin offers her a shot as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows next to nothing about bounty hunting. Thankfully Stephanie’s experienced new partner, Ranger, is there to teach her a few tricks. Together they set out to hunt down a former New Jersey vice cop who’s wanted for murder. Unfortunately for her, however, the former vice cop and Stephanie have a...history.

Promotional poster for the television adaptation of elmore leonard's "get shorty," featuring the title in large lettering with a playful graphic of a person being flipped by a filmstrip, highlighting the show's connection to the film industry and its action-comedy elements.

Get Shorty

By Elmore Leonard

Get Shorty is a killer Hollywood crime story told by one of mystery fiction’s best writers. It was also made into a hit movie in 1995 starring John Travolta and Danny DeVito. The snappy narrative follows Ernesto “Chili” Palmer, a loan shark from Florida who chases his client to Los Angeles, only to stick around and make some movies. In addition to its finely calibrated plot, Elmore Leonard’s Get Shorty delivers a pitch-perfect satire of Tinseltown and celebrity culture, skewering the status-obsessed and riffing on the notion that every person in Hollywood is walking around with a movie idea in their head.

A colorful book cover illustration featuring a stylized woman adjusting her glasses, with bold typography announcing "counterfeit" by kirstin chen, along with critical acclaim from the new york times and vogue, as well as an endorsement from reese's book club. the cover hints at themes of fake identities and the pursuit of luxury.

Counterfeit

By Kisten Chen

At first glance, Counterfeit is a fun and zesty con artist caper about two friends — type-A Chinese American lawyer Ava Wong and her inscrutable college roommate Winnie — who get caught up in a scheme to import knockoff luxury purses. As the mystery unfolds, however, it reveals a shrewd critique of the so-called American Dream and the model minority myth. An ideal next read for fans of sharp comic mysteries and anyone who enjoys a splash of glamor to their intrigue, Chen’s bestselling novel is “fast-paced and fun, with smart commentary on the cultural differences between Asia and America” (TIME).

A mysterious and intriguing book cover for "pretty as a picture" - a novel by elizbeth little, with a stark contrast of red text over a black and white photograph featuring fragmented images of a person's face and film negatives.

Pretty as a Picture

By Elizabeth Little

Elizabeth Little’s Pretty as a Picture is a deliciously devious mystery thriller that’s sure to captivate the film buffs in the audience. The narrative follows Marissa Dahl, a successful film editor who sets off to a remote island to work with the notoriously difficult director Tony Rees. Marissa prepares herself for the inflated egos she’s sure to encounter on set. But what begins as a typically trying editing gig soon transforms into a real-life murder mystery that consumes the entire cast and crew. Come to think of it, Marissa never did find out what happened to the editor she was hired to replace....

A striking book cover featuring a woman in sunglasses with the title "my sister, the serial killer" by oyinkan braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

By Oyinkan Braithwaite

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s fiercely funny mystery book was originally published as an e-book in Nigeria in 2017 — and it went on to become an award-winning international bestseller and was named one of the best mystery and thriller books of all time by TIME magazine. My Sister, the Serial Killer centers on Korede and her younger sister, Ayoola. Korede leads a mostly quiet life as a nurse; she’s practical, focused, and good at what she does. Her one problem is that her younger sister is a drop-dead gorgeous serial killer. In between the demands of her day job and pining for a certain handsome doctor, Korede must find the time to clean up Ayoola’s gory messes and attempt to defuse her sister’s propensity for killing all her boyfriends.

The cover of a book titled "the thursday murder club" by richard osman, featuring a silhouette of a fox, with critical acclaim quotes calling the book a "beacon of pleasure" and "smart and funny.

The Thursday Murder Club

By Richard Osman

Hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “witty, endearing, and greatly entertaining,” Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club is the first in a wildly popular whodunit series set in a retirement community. Cooper’s Chase is a luxury 65-plus retirement village where four septuagenarian amateur sleuths decide to start a club in between art lectures and bingo nights. The purpose of their club? To crack all the unsolved murder cases that the incompetent local police force has failed to close. In their first investigation, the members of the club look into the mysterious demise of a loathsome real estate developer who tried to turn the retirement village’s former convent chapel and graveyard into eight new apartments.

The image shows the cover of a book titled "harlem shuffle," written by colson whitehead, the author of "the underground railroad" and "the nickel boys," which are highlighted as notable works. the cover features a bold, colorful design with various graphic elements such as a diamond, a manhole cover, and stylized typography with the book's title and author's name prominently displayed, suggesting themes of urban life and intrigue.

Harlem Shuffle

By Colson Whitehead

We conclude our list of funny mystery books with a powerhouse of a crime narrative: Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. In it, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author leads us back to 1960s Harlem and introduces us to Ray Carney, an upstanding family man and furniture salesman with a shadowy past who gets roped into a knotty criminal enterprise. Whitehead’s acclaimed literary mystery chronicles Ray’s often very funny misadventures as he grapples with his shifting double life, though it’s ultimately a touching family story and a love letter to Harlem and a long-gone era in New York City.

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