16 Books Like Knives Out

Books Like Knives Out

Have you ever found yourself engrossed in a gripping mystery, trying to piece together clues alongside a cast of intriguing characters? 

If so, you’re likely familiar with the exhilarating experience of watching or reading “Knives Out,” the modern whodunit masterpiece that keeps you guessing until the very end. 

But what if you’ve already devoured every twist and turn of this clever tale and are left craving more? 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into a selection of books that share the same irresistible charm, intricate plots, and unforgettable characters that made “Knives Out” a cinematic gem. 

So, prepare to sharpen your sleuthing skills and join us on a literary journey filled with secrets, surprises, and perhaps even a few red herrings along the way.

Books Like Knives Out

1. “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin

This award-winning mystery novel revolves around the death of Samuel W. Westing and the bizarre will he leaves behind, which leads sixteen seemingly unrelated heirs to solve the puzzle of his death. 

Set in a grand mansion, the story unfolds with clever twists and turns, engaging the reader in a complex game of clues and strategies. The characters are diverse and well-developed, each with their own secrets and motives, making the plot even more intriguing.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Knives Out,” “The Westing Game” combines a mysterious death with a wealthy patriarch’s will that sets off a competitive puzzle-solving challenge among the heirs. 

The story is filled with humor, clever clues, and a cast of eccentric characters, all trying to outwit one another for their own ends. The engaging and twisty plot will appeal to fans of “Knives Out” who enjoy seeing a group of disparate characters unravel a mystery together.

2. “The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton

This novel presents a unique blend of mystery, thriller, and speculative fiction, where the protagonist wakes up in a different host body each day to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle at a decaying estate. The narrative is complex, with a multitude of characters, each with their own secrets and connections to the murder. 

Turton crafts a dense, atmospheric setting and a plot with time loops, giving the story an almost labyrinthine complexity that demands the reader’s attention.

Major Similarities: 

“The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” shares the intricate plotting and the grand, isolated setting of the “Knives Out” films. Both stories involve a large cast of characters, each with hidden motives, and a central mystery that is deeply personal and tied to family dynamics. 

Fans of the film will appreciate the novel’s clever twists, the emphasis on detective work, and the inventive narrative structure that keeps readers guessing until the end.

3. “Magpie Murders” by Anthony Horowitz

“Magpie Murders” is a novel within a novel, blending contemporary mystery with classic detective fiction. The story begins with editor Susan Ryeland receiving a manuscript that contains a murder mystery set in the 1950s English countryside, but it’s missing the last chapter. As Susan investigates the abrupt ending, she uncovers a real-life murder mystery intertwined with the manuscript. Horowitz pays homage to the golden age of detective fiction while adding his own modern twist.

Major Similarities: 

Much like “Knives Out,” “Magpie Murders” offers a layered narrative that combines a keen observation of human nature with a complex puzzle to be solved. 

The story weaves together multiple mysteries, requiring readers to pay close attention to detail and piece together clues from different narratives. This book will appeal to those who enjoy the meta-commentary on the mystery genre and the clever, unexpected twists that are a hallmark of the “Knives Out” series.

4. “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” by Ruth Ware

In this suspenseful novel, Hal receives a letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance from a grandmother she never knew she had. When she arrives at the grand, decrepit Trepassen House, it quickly becomes apparent that something is very wrong. 

The family and the house itself hold dark secrets, and Hal must use her wits to uncover the truth. Ware crafts a tense atmosphere with rich, Gothic overtones, making the setting itself a character in the story.

Major Similarities: 

Fans of “Knives Out” will find familiar ground in “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” with its focus on family secrets, inheritance, and a protagonist who finds herself out of her depth yet determined to uncover the truth. 

The novel’s atmospheric setting, complex family dynamics, and the central mystery tied to a will are elements that resonate well with the themes explored in the “Knives Out” films. The suspense and the unraveling of secrets through clever deduction will satisfy fans looking for a similar experience.

5. “An Instance of the Fingerpost” by Iain Pears

Set in 17th-century England, “An Instance of the Fingerpost” is a historical mystery that unfolds from the perspectives of four narrators, each with their own version of the events surrounding a murder. 

The novel is rich in historical detail, weaving in real historical figures and events with a complex plot of political intrigue, betrayal, and secrets. Pears masterfully creates a world of suspicion and mystery, where truth is elusive and perspectives shift the narrative.

Major Similarities: 

Like the “Knives Out” films, “An Instance of the Fingerpost” engages the reader with its intricate plot and the depth of its characterizations. The shifting perspectives offer a puzzle that requires piecing together different accounts to uncover the truth, reminiscent of the layered storytelling and ensemble cast in “Knives Out.” 

Both the novel and the films excel in creating a compelling narrative that keeps the audience guessing, making this book a must-read for fans of cleverly constructed mysteries.

6. “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)

This is the first book in the Cormoran Strike series, featuring the war veteran turned private detective, Cormoran Strike, who investigates the supposed suicide of a famous model. 

Rowling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, crafts a compelling narrative that delves into the glamorous yet treacherous world of fame, while also exploring the gritty streets of London. The novel is characterized by its intricate plotting, deep character development, and a keen insight into the complexities of human nature.

Major Similarities: 

Fans of “Knives Out” will appreciate “The Cuckoo’s Calling” for its detective-led investigation that unravels a complex web of secrets and lies within a seemingly glamorous world. Both stories combine a sharp social commentary with a deeply personal story of discovery. 

The emphasis on character-driven narrative and the uncovering of truth through diligent investigation mirror the engaging detective work and the thematic depth found in “Knives Out.”

7. “A Fatal Inversion” by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell)

Written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine by the acclaimed Ruth Rendell, “A Fatal Inversion” creates a haunting narrative around a chilling discovery made at Wyvis Hall, a country estate in England. Years after a group of young people spent a summer there, their idyllic season is shattered by the uncovering of a grave containing the bodies of a woman and a child. The story is told through flashbacks, slowly revealing the events of that summer and the devastating secrets that have been buried.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Knives Out,” “A Fatal Inversion” deals with themes of privilege, family, and the dark secrets that can lurk beneath the surface of seemingly respectable lives. 

The narrative structure, which peels away layers of the past to reveal the truth, will appeal to fans of “Knives Out” who enjoy the combination of mystery, suspense, and the exploration of human psychology. The atmospheric setting and the focus on how past actions impact the present resonate well with the film’s themes.

8. “In the Woods” by Tana French

“In the Woods” is the first novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. The story follows Detective Rob Ryan and his partner Cassie Maddox as they investigate the murder of a young girl in a small Irish town, a case that eerily mirrors a traumatic event from Ryan’s own childhood. 

French excels at creating a moody, immersive world filled with complex characters and psychological depth, blending the police procedural with a profound exploration of memory and identity.

Major Similarities: 

Fans of “Knives Out” will be drawn to “In the Woods” for its intricate plot, rich character development, and the way the past interweaves with the present. The novel, like the film, combines a compelling mystery with deep psychological insights, offering a nuanced look at the effects of trauma and the nature of truth. 

The blend of suspense, emotional depth, and the unraveling of secrets makes this a captivating read for those who appreciate the thoughtful storytelling found in “Knives Out.”

9. “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield

“The Thirteenth Tale” is a gothic suspense novel that revolves around the mysterious and reclusive author Vida Winter, who decides to finally tell the truth about her life to biographer Margaret Lea. 

The story that unfolds is one of twins, family secrets, and a haunted past, set against the backdrop of a crumbling English estate. Setterfield’s novel is a tribute to the power of storytelling, blending mystery, tragedy, and a touch of the supernatural.

Major Similarities: 

This novel shares with “Knives Out” a fascination with storytelling, the uncovering of family secrets, and a complex narrative structure that keeps the reader guessing. 

The emphasis on the past’s impact on the present and the exploration of themes such as identity and memory are central to both stories. Fans of “Knives Out” will enjoy the atmospheric setting, the intricate plot, and the depth of character exploration in “The Thirteenth Tale.”

10. “The Lake House” by Kate Morton

“The Lake House” weaves together the stories of a detective in 2003 and a family in 1933, centered around an abandoned estate in Cornwall. Detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles upon the old estate and becomes engrossed in the decades-old mystery of a missing child from the Edevane family. 

Morton masterfully blends history, mystery, and family saga, revealing secrets buried over decades through a dual timeline that keeps the reader engaged until the very end.

Major Similarities: 

“The Lake House” and “Knives Out” both delight in the unraveling of long-held family secrets and the intricate connections between past and present. 

The novel’s lush descriptions, complex characters, and the gradual revelation of truth will appeal to fans of the film’s detailed storytelling and rich narrative layers. 

Both stories showcase a keen understanding of human emotions and motivations, wrapped in a compelling mystery that demands solving.

11. “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

This novel delves into the lives of a group of classics students at an elite college in Vermont, who explore morality beyond the boundaries of the law under the influence of their charismatic professor. 

The story is narrated by Richard Papen, a newcomer to the group, and unfolds the events leading to and following a murder within the group. 

Tartt’s writing is rich and atmospheric, creating a world of intellectual exploration, moral ambiguity, and the consequences of living in a self-created echo chamber.

Major Similarities: 

The Secret History” shares with “Knives Out” a fascination with a close-knit group of people bound by a secret and the exploration of complex moral questions. 

Both narratives are driven by a strong sense of intrigue and the gradual unraveling of character secrets, set against a backdrop of wealth and privilege. 

Fans of the films will appreciate the detailed character studies and the tension between the intellectual and moral choices the characters face.

12. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

In this psychological thriller, the disappearance of Amy Dunne sparks a media frenzy and leads to suspicions about her husband Nick. Told from alternating perspectives between Nick and Amy, the novel reveals the complexities of their marriage and the dark secrets they hide. 

Flynn crafts a narrative filled with twists and turns, exploring themes of media influence, the façade of the perfect marriage, and the depths of manipulation.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Knives Out,” “Gone Girl” captivates with its clever plot twists and deep dive into the psychology of its characters. Both stories challenge the viewer’s perceptions and expectations, masterfully weaving together suspense and social commentary. 

The exploration of family dynamics, secrets, and the facade of societal appearances will resonate with fans of the intricately plotted and character-driven mystery of “Knives Out.”

13. “The Guest List” by Lucy Foley

Set on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, “The Guest List” unfolds during the wedding of a magazine publisher and a television star. The celebration brings together a mix of old friends, family, and hidden resentments, leading up to a murder that occurs during the festivities. 

Foley employs multiple perspectives to gradually reveal the tensions and secrets among the guests, creating a suspenseful atmosphere that keeps the reader guessing.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Knives Out,” “The Guest List” combines a secluded setting with a gathering of individuals, each with their own secrets and motives. The suspenseful build-up to the revelation of the murderer, alongside the exploration of complex relationships and past grievances, mirrors the engaging and dynamic storytelling of “Knives Out.” 

Fans will appreciate the ensemble cast, the intricate plot, and the tension of a mystery where everyone has something to hide.

14. “The Eight” by Katherine Neville

“The Eight” is a thrilling blend of historical fiction and adventure, centering around a mystical chess set that has been sought after for centuries. The story moves between two timelines: one during the French Revolution and the other in the 1970s, as characters from both eras try to solve the puzzle of the chess set’s power.

Neville combines history, science, and mystery to create a compelling narrative that spans continents and centuries.

Major Similarities: 

Fans of “Knives Out” will be drawn to “The Eight” for its complex narrative structure, the intertwining of different timelines, and the central mystery that drives the plot. Both stories involve puzzles that require solving, with a cast of characters whose fates are intricately linked to the unraveling of the mystery. 

The blend of historical depth, adventure, and the intellectual challenge of piecing together clues will appeal to those who enjoy the clever and thought-provoking aspects of “Knives Out.”

15. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty

This novel explores the lives of several mothers in a small Australian community, whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. 

Told through multiple points of view and flashing between past and present, Moriarty weaves a tale of friendship, secrets, and lies, leading up to the pivotal moment of death revealed at a school trivia night. The book skillfully combines humor with suspense and a keen insight into human behavior.

Major Similarities: 

Big Little Lies” and “Knives Out” share a focus on a tight-knit community, the exploration of secrets behind closed doors, and a central mystery that binds the characters together. 

Both stories are characterized by their sharp wit, engaging narrative style, and the ability to maintain suspense while exploring deeper themes of family, societal expectations, and the facades people maintain. Fans of the layered storytelling and character-driven drama in “Knives Out” will find much to appreciate in Moriarty’s novel.

16. “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie

This classic detective novel features one of Hercule Poirot’s most famous cases, revolving around the murder of a wealthy man in a small English village. 

Christie’s ingenious plot, characterized by its surprising twist and the meticulous deduction skills of Poirot, has been praised as one of the greatest mystery novels ever written. The narrative explores themes of deception, the nature of truth, and the detective’s role as an observer of human nature.

Major Similarities: 

“The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” shares with “Knives Out” the classic elements of a murder mystery set in a close community, where everyone is a suspect and secrets abound. Both stories are driven by an intelligent detective figure who uses keen observation and deduction to unravel the mystery. 

Fans of “Knives Out” will appreciate Christie’s masterful plot construction, her twist ending, and the exploration of moral ambiguity, all of which are central to the enjoyment of a well-crafted mystery.

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