book magic beyond the EDAs a busy Emergency Physician, I find that I am always happier when I have a mystery novel to read during my free time. I’ve been a mystery fan since I was a kid, growing up on Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. Below I’d like to share some of my favorites. These authors are chosen for quality and readability with a preference for the prolific. If you like one of their books, you will likely find ten more.

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes

imgresI think most Emergency Physicians aspire to be a little bit like Sherlock, with his keen eye for detailed observation and renowned deductive reasoning power. Conan Doyle, a physician himself, based the character on one of his medical school professors. Most of these mysteries are in short-story format. Even better, most of Conan Doyle’s writings are available to download for free. [Link for Free eBook]

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None

and_then_there_were_none_agatha_chrisiteThis 1939 novel is Christie’s masterpiece, and the all time best selling mystery novel ever. Ten strangers are invited to an island where a recorded message charges that each individual had a role in an someone’s death for which they avoided punishment. They are unable to escape the island as an unknown killer in their midst starts to enact revenge. This classic is a must read for any mystery fan. [Link for Free eBook]

P.D. James: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

imgres-1P.D. James gets creative with the basic mystery novel plot structure with intriguing results. She rarely stops with one murder and experiments with unique endings. I liked the Cordelia Gray series best, in which a young woman strikes out on her own as a private detective. [Amazon Link]

Louise Penny: The Inspector Gamache Series

1197955-gfAdmittedly, the Inspector Gamache series is one of my guilty pleasures. These character driven stories take place in a seemingly sweet and isolated small community in Quebec, where incidentally, someone is always getting killed off. There’s a delightful character development arc over the course of the series, and I enjoy the focus on themes related to family and relationships, recovery from trauma and addiction, and ultimately, forgiveness and redemption. [Amazon Link]

* Disclaimer: We have no affiliations financial or otherwise with the authors, references or hyperlinks listed, the books, or Amazon.

Shannon McNamara, MD

Shannon McNamara, MD

Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Mount Sinai St. Luke’s West;
Emergency Medicine Simulation Director
NYU Langone Health