With Halloween season just around the corner, you might be on the hunt for some good mystery short stories.
While there are so many out there, we found ones you can read right now to get in the spooky season mood right away.
Let’s dive into the stories.
This collection of mystery short stories includes:
- Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
- The Boogeyman by Stephen King
- An Anonymous Guest by Mary Roberts Rinehart
- Padlocks! by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes
- While the Light Lasts and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
- The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick
- The Black Pumpkin by Dean Koontz
- The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
- Spider The Artist by Nnedi Okorafor
- In The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
What Makes A Good Mystery Short Story?
The best part about mysteries and horror stories is that what will scare one person will not scare another. It can be a personal experience depending on what gives you the chills.
However, a lot of mystery short stories have a few things in common:
- They can evoke a sense of unease and discomfort throughout the story.
- A delicate balance of suspense, atmosphere, and the uncanny.
- Strong characters that pull readers in and create an emotional connection.
- Good pacing to keep tension throughout the story.
- Some kind of unexpected twist or revelation, sometimes leaving the ending up to interpretation.
11 Mystery Short Stories
Let’s dive into some mystery stories you can read right now.
1. Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Would any horror story be complete without an Edgar Allen Poe recommendation?
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer who was most famous for his poetry and short stories. His stories are mostly categorized under Romanticism and Gothic fiction.
Originally published in 1841, Murders in the Rue Morgue has been called one of the first detective stories.
It is about C. Auguste Dupin, a regular man who studies crimes and solves the mystery of the gruesome murder of two women.
You can read the full Murders in the Rue Morgue story: here.
2. The Boogeyman by Stephen King
Along with Edgar Allen Poe, is there another horror writer more iconic than Stephen King? King is the source of many of our nightmares and has written some of the creepiest stories of all time.
Some of his most famous books include It, The Shining, Misery, Carrie, The Mist, and Pet Sematary along with many others.
The Boogeyman is a short story about a man with mental health problems who blames a monster from his childhood for the death of his three children.
You can read the full story of The Boogeyman: here.
3. An Anonymous Guest by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Sometimes referred to as the “American Agatha Christie”, Mary Roberts Rinehart was known for her mystery books.
An Anonymous Guest is pretty much what the title suggests it is, a guest that is not originally expected. The story is about a family who goes on vacation to stay in a home, but there is an unexpected guest in the home. Mystery ensues!
You can read An Anonymous Guest for free: here.
4. Padlocks! by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes
Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes’ most famous work is her novel, The Lodger, which is based on the Jack the Ripper murders. It is so famous that it has been adapted for the screen five different times since its original publication date in 1913.
Padlocks! is a short story is just a glimpse into the kind of stories she can tell and was one of her many short stories originally published in The Windsor Magazine.
More than anything, Padlocks! plays on the idea of secrets kept within families and between people.
You can read Padlocks! for free: here.
5. While the Light Lasts and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
As one of the other most famous mystery authors of all time, Agatha Christie has told stories that most of us know such as Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, and And Then There Were None.
While the Light Lasts is about a woman having to face her husband who was presumed dead.
You can read While the Light Lasts: here.
6. The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick was the writer of many famous novels including The Man In The High Castle. He wrote 44 novels and 121 short stories in his career as an author.
The story of The Hanging Stranger is about a man who finds someone hanging in the street of his town, and quickly realizes that everything in his town is not what he imagined.
Read The Hanging Stranger for free: here.
7. The Black Pumpkin by Dean Koontz
Dean Koontz is a writer of many suspense thrillers that can include mystery, horror, science fiction, and satire.
The Black Pumpkin is a story about a monstrous-looking pumpkin that has a deeper truth that is discovered later on in the story.
Read The Black Pumpkin and a few other of Dean Koontz short stories: here.
8. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
As the author behind The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson wrote six novels, two memoirs, and over 200 short stories for you to enjoy.
The Lottery is one of those stories that you will not forget after you read it. It has to do with a lottery in a small town that purges the town of bad omens.
You can read (or listen to!) The Lottery: here.
9. Spider The Artist by Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American author and she writes science fiction stories for children and adults. If you enjoy this short story, you will enjoy her other stories.
In Spider The Artist we are met with the dilemma of wondering if technology is good or bad for humans. It has some fun twists you will enjoy as you read.
Read Spider The Artist for free: here.
10. In The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a writer based in Prague who was a great writer at being able to articulate the stresses felt by people of his time period.
In The Penal Colony tells a story of a person who encounters a brutal execution machine for the first time.
You can read In The Penal Colony: here.
11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle was not only a writer but he was also a physician and is most known for his Sherlock Holmes character.
The original Sherlock Holmes stories span over four novels and 58 short stories. They were all originally published between 1887 and 1927.
If you want to dive into the short stories and read them all, you can: here.
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