We like to test your London know-how by getting you to help solve weekly mysteries from around the city. In the run up to our upcoming Time Out London Mysteries special, we will be bringing you some of the capital’s finest conundrums and asking for your additions.
Here we have London’s top five literary mysteries. Have we missed any? Comment below with your favourite London literary mysteries.
‘London Fields’ by Martin Amis
Who will be the murderer? Who will be the murderee? Why is Nicola Six? And when? What is Amis up to? His first really experimental novel is like the city: messy, multi-layered, malevolent.
‘Edwin Drood’ by Charles Dickens
Dickens’s last novel was subtitled ‘A Mystery’ and was still unfinished when he died in 1870; a detective story with a dream sequence – the opening lines are often linked to opium use – it’s Dickens’s darkest tale.
‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’ by Kate Summerscale
A beautifully written Victorian ’tec story built around a horrific 1860 real-life murder mystery, Summerscale’s popular novel is a great primer on the origins of professional detection.
‘King Death’ by Toby Litt
A human heart sliding slimily down the roof of Borough Market kicks off Litt’s fast-paced pop-bizarro-thriller, which doubles as a homage to the legendary (probably) dissector of Guy’s Hospital of Keats’ era.
‘The Secret Agent’ by Joseph Conrad
Mr Verloc is an anarcho-terroristic spy who sells porn, contraceptives and, cutely, bric-a-brac at his Soho shop – and he’s one of the more straightforward characters in Conrad’s magnificent, multi-faceted novel about murky 1880s London.