Books with secrets

Your fix of fictional mysteries you’ll be eager to unravel.

The withholding of the truth and telling of lies makes for compelling storytelling that we find irresistible. As readers, we can be the observer of untold truths between characters and at other times, we’re as oblivious as the protagonist to the real sequence of events, waiting with bated breath until the secret is revealed to us pages later. Whether you adore dark family secrets, false identities or forbidden romances, here’s a list of the very best fictional mysteries for you to unravel. We promise, no spoilers!


Book cover for Homecoming

Kate Morton’s latest novel, Homecoming, is a must-read mystery brimming with family secrets. On  Christmas Eve, 1959, the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia. Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story and discovers a shocking connection between her own family and the once-infamous, unsolved Turner Family Tragedy. Your breath will be taken away as Jess digs into the shocking secrets of her family’s past.

Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

The finale you have been waiting for. . . Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt is the epic conclusion to the stunning Seven Sisters series, co-authored by Lucinda Riley’s son, Harry Whittaker. If you know and love the series, you’ve followed seven sisters, each with a tantalising clue to their heritage trying to trace their origins across the world. But this eagerly awaited eighth story is about to reveal every truth, as the seven sisters gather for the first time to say a final goodbye to their father. But to their surprise, it is the missing sister who Pa Salt has chosen to entrust with the clue to their pasts. . .

The Stolen Hours

by Karen Swan

Book cover for The Stolen Hours

If last summer, you read the Sunday Times bestselling The Last Summer by Karen Swan, you’ll want to get your hands on book two in her new Wild Isle series, The Stolen Hours. Set in 1929 on the Scottish island of St. Kilda, Mhairi MacKinnon is in need of a husband, but her options are limited. Soon to be sent away from home to become a stranger's wife, Mhairi and her forbidden lover enjoy their last few months of stolen hours together. But when a dead body is found, it becomes an island full of secrets and suspicion. This gripping love story will leave you simultaneously satisfied but longing for more.

Dirt Town

by Hayley Scrivenor

Book cover for Dirt Town

Oozing with secrets is Hayley Scrivenor’s atmospheric crime novel and heart-wrenching mystery set in rural Australia. In Dirt Town, a community is thrown into a state of grief and suspicion at the disappearance of twelve year-old Esther Bianchi on her way home from school. Detective Sarah Michaels begins her investigation questioning those who knew the girl, attempting to unpick the secrets which bind them together. But the truth will not come easily. This book will have you turning the pages to find out who holds the truth about the young girl’s disappearance – the detective, the young girl’s mother, or her teenage friends? 

The Christie Affair

by Nina de Gramont

Book cover for The Christie Affair

If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie’s whodunit mysteries, Nina De Gramont’s novel is the perfect read for you, almost out-doing Agatha herself with every twist and turn! The Christie Affair reimagines the real-life unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie that captivated the world. The story is told from the perspective of Agatha’s husband’s mistress who holds the key to a dark secret about her disappearance. This perplexing story is sure to satisfy your curiosity about what really happened.

The Miniaturist

by Jessie Burton

Book cover for The Miniaturist

Set in the golden city of Amsterdam, The Miniaturist is a historical novel with a strange secret at its heart. It’s 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brant, who gifts her a cabinet-sized replica of their home. As she engages the services of a miniaturist, an elusive and enigmatic artist, his tiny creations start to mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways. You’ll already know the secret if you’ve watched the BBC TV series, but this intoxicating story is still well worth the read.

When I Was Ten

by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for When I Was Ten

This thriller full of dark family secrets will keep you up all night. . . A ten year old, nicknamed the Angel of Death, spent eight years in a children's secure unit accused of murdering both her parents. Twenty-one years later, she now lives quietly under a fake name with a family of her own. But a documentary team tracks down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence, to try and reveal what really happened the night of the double murder. When I Was Ten is a jaw-dropping story that'll surprise you with twists and turns all the way to the very end.

Kololo Hill

by Neema Shah

Book cover for Kololo Hill

What’s it like for a family to be forced to leave everything behind and start again? This is the alarming question at the heart of Kololo Hill. Set during the 1972 expulsion of Ugandan Asians from Uganda, it follows the experience of one family forced to seek refuge in Britain and for each family member, what it means to leave home. But all the while, a terrible secret about the expulsion threatens to tear the family apart. A poignant debut that explores the theme of home that’ll have you absorbed by its terrifying, but moving events.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

by Baroness Orczy

Book cover for The Scarlet Pimpernel

The very first hero with a secret identity, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a worthy precursor to Zorro and Batman. Set during the Reign of Terror, a period in the French Revolution with many sentenced to the guillotine, our protagonist Sir Peter Blakeney is living a double life. An English dandy by all appearances, but truly a skilled master of disguise and escape, he spends his time rescuing the condemned out of prison and leaving his symbolic calling card, a red flower, behind to taunt the French authorities. This delightful, adventurous classic will leave you honoured to be clued in on the secret.