Four Must-Read Australian Mysteries for Crime Fiction Fans

Most mystery readers are familiar with at least some of the many mysteries series set in the United Kingdom, but what about criminals down under? These four compelling mysteries will introduce you to the world of Australian crime fiction.

Crimson Lake

Former police detective Ted Concaffey is hiding out and trying to put the pieces of his life back together after being accused but not convicted of a brutal crime. He forms an unlikely work partnership with Amanda Pharrell, herself a convicted murderer. Pharrell runs an unconventional investigative agency in a small town on the steamy northern coast of Australia. Together, they’re hired by the wife of a bestselling author who disappeared from his home in the middle of the night. Three compelling mysteries intertwine in this gritty, engrossing story. Ted and Amanda are complex and well-drawn characters that readers won’t soon forget. This one is excellent on audio!


In a small, rural community ravaged by the ongoing drought plaguing much of Australia, a young priest kills five members of his parish before being shot by a cop. A year after this tragedy, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives from Sydney, determined to uncover the priest’s motives. As he learns more about the town, he’s drawn into the community, becoming part of the mystery himself. Descriptive, atmospheric writing combines with a twist-filled plot in this gripping debut. 

The Lost Man

After the success of her debut novel The Dry and its sequel, Force of Nature, Jane Harper is almost synonymous with Australian mystery. The Lost Man is a standalone mystery about three brothers who share responsibility for a huge plot of land in the unforgiving Australian Outback. Middle brother Cam goes missing and is found a week later, just 9 kilometers from his truck, which is in working order and loaded with supplies. With no evidence of violence, the police decide that Cam chose to walk into the desert and not return, but his brothers are less convinced. Layers of family secrets unravel in this intense and heartbreaking mystery. 

Into the Night

This is the second book in author Sarah Bailey’s Gemma Woodstock series. It features a shocking crime: a famous actor is stabbed to death in broad daylight while filming a crowd scene in a zombie movie. Detective Woodstock notices a connection between the actor’s death and another recent murder, leading her down a surprising investigative path. Gemma has recently moved from her small town to Melbourne and left her five-year-old behind with her ex. She's a complicated and fascinating character, perfect for fans of smart but flawed detectives.