Only Murders in the Building: Readalikes

Done watching Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building and are craving for  something similar as you wait for Season 3? This popular Hulu TV series is led by the dynamic trio of Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez). They play three neighbors in a Manhattan apartment complex who become unlikely friends/podcast hosts/amateur sleuths, as they try to solve a murder that took place in their fancy apartment building while starting a true crime podcast along the way. I found the show made for a very cozy and engaging watch with characters that are funny, quirky and endearing; there are funny moments and twists and turns throughout the show.

Here are some books in a similar vein to the show involving murder mysteries, mystery-comedies, amateur sleuths, murder clubs and true crime podcasts, all available to borrow with your Livingston Library card.

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman

This title in the Thursday Murder Club series, which is set in an upscale English retirement community. The four septuagenarian members of the club—former MI6 agent Elizabeth, chatty Joyce, psychiatrist Ibrahim, and everyman Ron—try to defrost cold cases that have confounded police. Their third adventure, which centers on the long-ago disappearance of a television journalist who was investigating a money-laundering scheme, comes with a bit of glamor and some well-known media personalities, who impact the investigation. But old dangers also resurface, as Viktor, Elizabeth’s onetime KGB adversary who still dabbles in money laundering, becomes a suspect, and a new kid on the crime block, known only as the Viking, attempts to blackmail Elizabeth into shooting Viktor to get the Russian off his turf.

Conviction by Denise Mina

An upper-class Edinburgh housewife who enjoys listening to the sordid details of true-crime podcasts has her world turned upside down when a new podcast turns out to have connections to her own dark past.

Dark Circles : A Novel by Caite Dolan-Leach

Former starlet Olivia Reed has outlived her days as a Hollywood darling and faces the reality of becoming a has-been disgrace. Checking into an upscale retreat, she hopes to reclaim her peace and reform her image, but instead witnesses authorities retrieving from the scenic lakeshore the body of someone who apparently died by suicide. Discovering that this is only the latest in a string of suspicious deaths linked to the retreat, she launches an investigation, bringing her fans along in real-time via podcast.

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan, a single mother, mystery writer, and erstwhile contract killer (it was an accident!), thinks that things might finally be looking up. Sure, she’s got writer’s block again and a novel due, but her nanny and partner-in-crime, Vero, has invested the money from their last, uh, excursion outside the law, and Finlay has both a hot cop and a young lawyer vying for her affections. Then she stumbles across a message board where someone has put out a hit on her ex-husband. Finlay may not want a life with Stephen anymore, but she can’t just sit by while someone takes his away. And so she finds herself once again venturing into a seedy underworld, dodging the Russian mob (and that hot, way-too-interested cop) as she poses as a hired assassin in an attempt to thwart actual attempts on Stephen’s life.

Grave Reservations : A Novel by Cherie Priest

This frothy blend of paranormal cozy and off-the-books police procedural from Priest stars travel agent Leda Foley, the owner of Foley’s Far-Fetched Flights of Fancy in Seattle, Wash., who also moonlights at a local bar, where she divines meaningful songs for the customers by means of psychometry. Her life changes when she acts on an overwhelming urge to change the flight plan of a client, Det. Grady Merritt of the Seattle PD. Her decision saves his life and leads Grady to hire her out of his own pocket to help him with a cold case. As Leda follows Grady to the scene of the crime and to interviews with persons of interest, she begins to sense that the case is connected to an even colder one: her fiancé’s unsolved murder from 18 months earlier. 

If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

Sera loves true crime podcasts. They make her feel empowered in a world where women just like her disappear daily. She’s sure they are preparing her for something. So when Rachel, her favorite podcast host, goes missing, Sera knows it’s time to act. Rachel has always taught her to trust her instincts. Sera follows the clues hidden in the episodes to an isolated ranch outside Rachel’s small hometown to begin her search. She’s convinced her investigation will make Rachel so proud. But the more Sera digs into this unfamiliar world, the more off things start to feel.

Killer Content by Olivia Blacke

Bayou transplant Odessa Dean scored a rent-free apartment in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and has a new job working at Untapped Books & Cafe. Hand-selling books and craft beers is easy, but then things turn sourer than an IPA when the death of a fellow waitress goes viral. Nothing about Bethany’s death feels right to Odessa. As an up-and-coming YouTube star, Bethany had more than one viewer waiting for her to fall from grace. Determined to prove there’s a killer on the loose, Odessa takes matters into her own hands. 

Marion Lane And The Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg

Set in 1958 London, Willberg’s debut, which is equal parts mystery and whimsical fantasy, plunges Marion Lane, a first-year apprentice at the shadow spy agency Miss Brickett’s Investigations and Inquiries, into the case of Michelle White, a much-loathed filing assistant, who was stabbed to death with one of the agency’s futuristic spy gadgets. The nature of the murder weapon leads Marion to believe that Michelle had incriminating information on her murderer. But when Marion’s mentor and protector, Frank Stone, comes under suspicion, Marion has to muster her investigative skills and those of her fellow apprentices to prove Frank’s innocence before Frank is sent to live out his days in the Holding Chambers, a forbidding prison for inquirers who have gone rogue.

Renovated To Death by Frank Anthony Polito

Real-life domestic partners and stars and producers of the new hit reality home renovation show Domestic Partners, bestselling mystery author Peter “PJ” Penwell and actor JP Broadway are enjoying work and life in their sleepy Detroit suburb of Pleasant Woods — until a suspicious death makes an unscripted appearance. When they take on a renovation of a local Tudor Revival inherited by identical twin brothers Terry and Tom Cash, linoleum floors and a pink-tiled bathroom aren’t the only unwelcome surprises awaiting inside the house!

Round Up The Usual Peacocks by Donna Andrews

Andrews’s enjoyable 31st Meg Langslow mystery finds blacksmith Meg, a bridesmaid at her brother Rob’s upcoming wedding, tasked with, among many other things, obtaining non molting peacocks to grace the reception. Meg’s relieved to delegate bridal chores when she gets the opportunity to revert to her amateur sleuth role and focus on why a Virginia Crime Time podcaster was almost the victim of a hit-and-run after discussing two local cold cases: a 26-year-old cheating scandal at Caerphilly College’s business school that led to a professor’s death by suicide and a talented singer’s decades-old disappearance. Unsure which case triggered the attack, Meg investigates both.

Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette

This new mystery series features Callie Padget, a former reporter turned bookshop clerk in the Outer Banks who is pulled into a deadly web of secrets when a mysterious fall at a lighthouse echoes a tragedy from her past. The ex-journalist soon realizes you cannot simply run away from mystery. Can Callie wrestle her past and forge a new future? Or will the mysteries of the Outer Banks draw her back into jeopardy?

The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain. Three years later while interning at the Medical Examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested. Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. New tips come in – then one of the podcast callers turns up dead. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast – before the killer silences him forever.

The Verifiers by Jane Pek

A cool, cerebral, and very funny novel about a young woman who works for Veracity,  an agency that investigates potential online dating partners and who has relationship questions—and quests—of her own.   When a new client wants Veracity to investigate a recent online flirt who’s ghosted said client—and when this request is followed in quick succession by another verification request—Claudia is all in, ably abetted by Finders Keepers, a proprietary app that can track people’s whereabout through their cellphones.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

One Reply to “Only Murders in the Building: Readalikes”

  1. Thank you thank you for the book list. I miss the Mystery Book Group at the library since I prefer the fictional version to the non-fiction reads. Will enjoy and appreciate these suggestions.

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