5 Novels Set in Hotels (and One Cheat)

A couple of weeks ago, a BookMatch reader had a very specific request: she wanted a list of books set in hotels. It was such a fun list to put together I thought I'd share it here too!

A Share in Death is a series-opener featuring Scotland Yard Detective Duncan Kincaid. Duncan's technically on vacation, but when a body is found in the hot tub of the Yorkshire timeshare where he's staying, he's drawn into the case. This series hits the sweet spot between dark and gritty mysteries and comforting cozies. The characters are flawed but doing their best. The consequences of crime are real, but the violence is mostly off screen. The author is from Texas, but she's definitely done her research, and the Yorkshire setting is vivid and authentic.

Setting's also important in Nevada Barr's Anna Pidgeon series, all set in US National Parks. In High Country, Anna goes undercover as a waitress at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite after four employees disappear. This one is the from the middle of the series, but you don't need to have read the earlier books to enjoy it.

After Atlas is a genre-bending mystery set in the future; when a cult leader is found murdered in his hotel room, the government assigns detective Carlos Moreno to the case, despite the fact that he's a former member of the cult. Emma Newman uses sci-fi settings to explore themes of social injustice and her books are super compelling and hard to put down. 

Security is a horror title with a darkly playful side. Just before the luxurious Manderley Resort's opening day, a killer stalks the hotel's halls and picks off staff members increasingly gruesome ways. The author uses a sort of "split-screen" technique with multiple columns of text to depict things that are happening in different parts of the hotel at the same time. 

The Dollhouse takes places at the Barbizon Hotel in New York, where young, unmarried women lived under chaperones' watchful eyes in the 1950s. The story moves back and forth between 1952, when a young woman from Ohio moves into the Barbizon, and 2016, when a journalist living in the condos that now occupy the building researches a story about the hotel's glory days. 

This last title is a little bit of a cheat, but I couldn't resist including it, especially because the reader asked for books that will get in your head. Bel Canto will stay with you long after you finish it. A group of armed terrorists interrupts the birthday party for a Japanese diplomat, held at the embassy (almost a hotel!) in an unnamed South American country. They take the diplomat and his guests, including a famous opera singer, hostage for months. Over the course of the siege, unlikely relationships develop and the strange situation begins to seem almost normal. Patchett is a gorgeous writer and this book is surprising, moving, and wonderful.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of King County Library System