A truly great mystery that can keep you guessing until the last page is tough to create but very satisfying to read. While this genre isn’t particularly common in recent comics, there are some great examples of mystery stories and a biography of one of the most famous authors in this genre that will appeal to mystery fans who also love comics.
Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie by Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau with art by Alexandre Franc – In addition to writing a long list of famous mystery novels, Agatha Christie led a fascinating life that involved world travel, a stint as a wartime nurse, and multiple archeological trips. This graphic novel tells the story of her life with her most famous creation, Hercule Poirot, popping in several times to provide commentary on her choices and life events. This is a great read for those interested in an introduction to Christie’s life, though at some points the book jumps through time in an abrupt manner that leaves the reader wanting more. The book includes a timeline of Christie’s life and a bibliography of her books.
Goldie Vance by Hope Larson with art by Brittney Williams – Goldie Vance is a teen detective who is ready to join the ranks of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a classic of the mystery genre. Goldie lives at a fancy Florida resort managed by her father, where she is determined to become the resident detective. To achieve her goal she helps the resort’s current detective, whether he wants her help or not. In this first volume, that means uncovering a plot of massive proportions and running down the solutions no matter how many problems that might cause. Fans of mystery stories will adore this new series, which combines a truly compelling investigation with colorful artwork that brings these new characters to life.
Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson with art by Brianne Drouhard – This new all-ages comic is a great option for both young readers who are just starting to read mysteries and long-time mystery enthusiasts. In it, Princess Maxine is a young girl who is about to receive her special gift of princessly powers from her fairy godmother on her tenth birthday. Unfortunately, she’d really rather be a detective than a princess. But, when her younger brother is kidnapped, she has a chance to try out her investigative power for real. This fun series from BOOM! Studios, the same publisher that brought us Goldie Vance, is sure to be a hit.
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy by Chynna Clugston-Flores with illustrations by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell – Two of the most popular all-ages titles from the last several years are Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy, so it is no surprise that fans were excited when a crossover title was announced. While either of these comics could have made this list of mystery comics on their own, this team-up mystery makes an even more perfect addition to the pantheon of recent mystery comics. In this story, the characters from each of the series are looking for missing people. In the case of the Gotham Academy crew, their search for a missing teacher leads them to the woods where they run into the Lumberjanes who are looking for their Camp Director. This book will appeal to existing fans of Lumberjanes or Gotham Academy, but can also serve as a great introduction to these characters for new readers. Overall, it is a perfect read for any mystery fan!
Bandette Vol. 3: The House of the Green Mask by Paul Tobin with art by Colleen Coover – With its focus on a fun young thief and her exploits, any volume of Bandette could probably be included in a list of mystery comics, but the latest volume is particularly perfect since it follows Bandette on the search for a mystery location that has become the stuff of legends. Packed with the typical humor and visual appeal of this series, this volume adds in the hunt for the House of the Green Mask and Bandette’s quest for revenge. There is a reason this series has won an Eisner and this volume is a great point of entry for new readers as well as a wonderful continuation for existing fans.
Monstress Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu with art by Sana Takeda – While this may not be a traditional investigation, Monstress nonetheless has a mystery at its center throughout the first volume. Set in a world where humans exist side-by-side with mystical creatures, this is a gorgeous, brutal, and complex story of the aftermath of war and trauma. The story follows Maika, an Arcanic, as she allows herself to be captured by the humans in an attempt to solve the mysteries left by her mother while saving the other prisoners. Along the way, she must determine who to believe and how to open up and trust others to achieve her goals. The art deco-style art provides a breathtaking and fantastical backdrop for this tale that weaves together diverse elements of myth and fantasy. This book is definitely one for older readers given the intensity of the story and the art, but for those readers it is likely to become an immediate favorite.
If you are fan of mysteries, hopefully this list will help you to find a new favorite, but if I’ve missed any of your existing favorites, be sure to let me know in the comments!