May 22, 2023
Mysteries of the 1920s

Mysteries of the 1920s

The best mysteries set in the 1920s and why it was a great decade for detectives

The 1920s, known as the “Roaring Twenties,” were a decade of decadence, jazz, flappers, and prohibition. It was also a time of mystery and intrigue, which is why the era has been popularized in countless detective novels, movies, and TV shows.

 If you’re a fan of mystery novels set in the 1920s, you’re in luck because there are plenty of excellent books to choose from. Here are some of the best mysteries set in the 1920s:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – This classic novel isn’t strictly a mystery, but it has plenty of mysterious elements. The narrator, Nick Carraway, becomes drawn into the world of his wealthy neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and is soon caught up in a web of lies, deception, and murder.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective, is traveling on the luxurious Orient Express when one of the passengers is found dead. With the train stuck in a snowdrift, Poirot has plenty of time to investigate and unravel the mystery.

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – This hard-boiled detective novel is set in San Francisco in the late 1920s. Private investigator Sam Spade becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse when he is hired to find a priceless statue of a falcon.

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett – This novel follows the adventures of Nick and Nora Charles, a wealthy and witty couple who solve mysteries for fun. In this book, they investigate a disappearance that leads to murder.

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie – This novel is the first to feature Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, a charming and adventurous couple who set up a detective agency in post-World War I London. They become embroiled in a mystery involving secret documents and a dangerous international conspiracy.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a wealthy family to investigate a case of blackmail, which leads him into a tangled web of deceit, murder, and corruption.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins – This classic novel is set in the 1840s, but it has a timeless quality that makes it just as enjoyable to read today. It follows the theft of a valuable diamond, the eponymous Moonstone, and the attempts of various characters to recover it.

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers – Lord Peter Wimsey is called to a small English village to investigate a case of missing jewels, but the case soon becomes more complicated when a corpse is found in the bell tower of the local church.

These are just a few of the best mysteries set in the 1920s. Whether you’re a fan of classic detective novels or more modern thrillers, there’s something for everyone in this exciting and intriguing era.


The 1920s were a golden age for mystery fiction, and it’s not hard to see why. With the rise of crime and corruption, the public’s fascination with detective stories was at an all-time high. And the fictional detectives of the era, with their sharp wit, strong morals, and razor-sharp deduction skills, were some of the best to ever grace the page.

So why were the fictional detectives of the 1920s so great? Here are a few reasons:

They were relatable

The 1920s were a time of great social upheaval, with women’s rights, racial equality, and the struggle for workers’ rights all coming to the forefront. Fictional detectives of the era often reflected these societal changes, with characters like Miss Marple and Lord Peter Wimsey challenging traditional gender roles and class structures. They were often outsiders themselves, with their own personal struggles, making them more relatable to readers.


They were incredibly smart

The detectives of the 1920s were known for their intellect and keen observation skills. They didn’t rely on brute force or guns to solve a case, but rather used their minds to piece together clues and solve puzzles. Characters like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot were renowned for their ability to solve even the most complex cases.


They had strong moral codes

The detectives of the 1920s were often portrayed as having a strong sense of right and wrong, and were willing to go to great lengths to uphold justice. This made them not only compelling characters, but also role models for readers. They were not afraid to take on corrupt politicians, wealthy criminals, or other forces of evil, even if it meant putting themselves in danger.


They had distinct personalities

Each detective of the 1920s had their own unique personality and quirks, making them stand out from one another. From Miss Marple’s unassuming exterior to Lord Peter Wimsey’s aristocratic wit, readers were drawn to the distinct personalities of these characters.


They were part of a larger cultural moment

The 1920s were a time of great cultural change, and detective fiction played an important role in that. These stories not only provided entertainment, but also reflected the societal anxieties of the era. The rise of crime and corruption, the changing roles of women and minorities, and the struggle for justice all found their way into the pages of detective fiction.


The fictional detectives of the 1920s were some of the best to ever grace the page. They were relatable, incredibly smart, had strong moral codes, had distinct personalities, and were part of a larger cultural moment. These characters continue to inspire and entertain readers today, and their legacy will continue to live on for generations to come.

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