Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was an American novelist and “one of the greatest psychological thriller writers of all time,” according to David Baldacci. Her first book, Strangers on a Train, was published in 1950 and turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Most frequently recommended on Five Books is The Talented Mr Ripley (1955), the first of five books featuring Tom Ripley, an amoral killer you nonetheless find yourself rooting for. The others are: Ripley Under Ground (1970), Ripley’s Game (1974), The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980) and Ripley Under Water (1991).
Books by Patricia Highsmith
Interviews where books by Patricia Highsmith were recommended
The best psychological thrillers are books that draw you into the lives of seemingly ordinary people, keep you turning the pages and then (often) floor you with an unexpected twist. British thriller writer JS Monroe, author of No Place to Hide, recommends some of the best ones out there, including the 1955 book that inspired the modern genre.
Since the early stories of the 18th and 19th centuries, crime fiction has been an incredibly popular and enduring genre, the investigation of murder somehow capturing the imagination of millions of readers around the globe. Here, Sophie Roell, editor of Five Books, uses strict but simple criteria to pick out the best classic crime fiction, from the Victorian age through to the 1950s.
Every week, dozens of new thrillers appear in bookshops. But, often, the classic ones are the best of all. If you haven’t read any of these five yet, you have a treat in store.
When it comes to whodunnits, the latest ones aren’t always the best. Veteran crime writer Simon Brett talks us through some of his all-time favourites, of which the most recent was published nearly four decades ago.
The best mystery books are completely unputdownable and addictive, the entertainment they provide more portable than watching TV and so much more satisfying than looking at your phone. Bestselling author David Baldacci, one of the masters of the genre and a passionate advocate for literacy and reading, talks us through some of the best mystery books ever written—as well as the contemporary authors he most admires.