Each room inside a hotel holds a history separate from the bigger building. People leave impressions on spaces, even if they’re just shuffling through a travel version of their normal routine.
But sometimes those impressions are inedible. Not every person who checks into a hotel checks out, and sometimes pieces of them, whether it be blood or energy, can linger. So it’s no surprise that writers use hotels, resorts, bed-and-breakfasts, and other isolated destinations as the settings for their mysteries.
If you’re dying for a good book to read, here are 8 mysteries that take place in hotels.
1. The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James
This “Instant New York Times Bestseller” is split between two timelines. In 1982, Viv Delaney is working as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. In 2017, Carly Kirk, Viv’s niece, is trying to piece together what happened to her aunt, and figure out why they could never find Viv’s body.
2. The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun
If you’re in the mood for a feminist eco-thriller with major dystopian vibes, The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun should be your next read.
This South Korean book-in-translation follows Yona, a top representative for a travel agency specializing in climate disaster tourism. But she discovers the darker sides of disaster tourism during a “paid vacation” to assess why one of the company’s former top destinations is now the least profitable.
3. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
When a hotel guest dies, it’s shocking but not necessarily suspicious, depending on the circumstances. If a second guest dies, however, panic can start to set in. At least it does in Shari Lapena’s An Unwanted Guest when guests start dying at the Michell’s Inn, a cozy lodge in the snowy Catskills.
In their recommendation, one Redditor wrote that An Unwanted Guest was a “fast-paced read” with the same “closed-circle of suspects” vibe that Agatha Christy novels have.
4. White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
A favorite of BookTok, many including La Book Geek, included White is for Witching in their roundups of LGBTQ+ friendly books to read during spooky season.
An award-winning novel, White is for Witching is set at a manor-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Dover, England. The Silver House has been in the Silver family for generations, and, as the house is passed down, so is the burden of its history and secrets.
5. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
When a billion-dollar fraud scheme finally collapses in New York City, the shock waves are felt even out on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island inside the glass walls of the Hotel Caiette.
6. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
What do you get when you put old friends together on an isolated island, take away their cell service, and add alcohol? For the characters in Lucy Foley’s The Guest List, it’s a dead body.
An ambitious magazine publisher and a rising television star are getting married on a private island off the coast of Ireland, and while everything looks bridal magazine-worthy.
For TikTok user rkbooktok, The Guest List is a thriller they would “kill to read again for the first time.” Another reader described the thriller as a “sexy, scary…page-turner,” and rated the book 10/10.
7. The Shining by Stephen King
Even if you’ve seen the movie The Shining, you should read the eponymous book it was adapted from. First published in 1977, The Shining is Stephen King’s third book and is famously based on his own experiences staying at The Stanley Hotel, a hotel known to be haunted in Colorado.
Just like in the movie, the book follows Jack Torrance and his family as they spend a winter taking care of the Overlook Hotel. Tucked deep in the mountains, the hotel is too difficult for guests to get to in the winter, leaving Jack and his family cut off from civilization.
8. The Maid by Nita Prose
Named one of the best books of 2022, The Maid by Nita Prose comes recommended by many Reddit readers.
The Maid follows Molly Gray, a socially-awkward woman who finds comfort in restoring cleanliness and order in the hotel rooms of the Regency Grand Hotel. When a guest is murdered, Molly is the lead suspect.
Suddenly, it’s a race to find the real killer — not just to clear Molly’s name, but to stop them before they can strike again.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Featured Image Credit: George Dolgikh/Shutterstock.
Nicole Tommasulo is a Boston-based and Buffalo-born writer and editor. Typically covering all things lifestyle, her beat spans from food, to breaking news to travel, mental health, and everything in between.
She has an MFA in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design and has been previously published by The List, Heels Down Magazine, Hello Giggles, and several now-dead but not forgotten websites like xoJane and Femsplain.
Besides working at Wealth of Geeks, Nicole founded and runs a travel and food magazine, savor+roam. You can follow Nicole on Instagram (@nicoletommasulo or @savor_roam) for more.