Spooky season reading is finally here! Even if you like to read about witches all year round, like me, there’s something special about curling up with a good witchy book in the month of October that feels magical. Whether it’s witches gathering together to save a town or a solo witch trying to hide their power and keep loved ones safe, the magic is everywhere. And what’s better than a good witchy book? A witchy mystery, of course!
Not only do witches have to deal with channeling their power correctly or learning they have magical powers in the first place in these reads, but there’s also some kind of mystery they are suddenly responsible for solving, whether they want to or not. The combination of the classic mystery and thriller setup — a complex investigation, intense challenges between good and evil, and high-stakes drama — with the magical ability of witches added in makes for the perfect fall reading.
Without further ado, here are 20 must-read witchy mystery and thriller books to add to your TBR stack for this fall season. Some are classified as mysteries while others have mystery elements. The list is divided by genre, ranging from lighthearted witchy cozy mysteries to dark and suspenseful witch thrillers, with everything in between!
Witchy Cozy Mysteries
Black Witch Magic by Mila Nicks
The town of Brimrock is judgmental and tight-knit — and they believe Selene and her family are a family of witches. Not only that, but that her grandmother, Luna, was an evil witch. Turns out, they’re kind of right. Selene mostly keeps to herself working at the library and tries to keep her head down to avoid being outed as a witch. When paranormal investigator Aiden comes to town to investigate an old mystery of a supposed evil witch Luna, he and Selene can’t help the sparks flying. But secrets can’t stay secrets for long, and Selene worries Aiden will soon uncover her grandmother’s mystery and her own secret.
Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry
Lee Barrett has returned to her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, after her husband’s death. There, she has family support and the familiarity of home. When she lands an interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV, it seems like things might be looking up for her, but when she arrives, she’s informed the position is actually for an on-air psychic. She doesn’t have much of a choice, so she takes the job, soon realizing some of the prop and set pieces seem to be working way too well to be fake, and maybe the previous psychic was actually a real witch. Then a murder takes place, and she’s plunged into the world of trying to solve a murder while balancing her seemingly newfound magic skills.
A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison
Alex hasn’t been to visit her family in North Carolina in 20 years — her mother passed away, and her father has long since forbidden her to see her aunt. But after receiving an invitation from them, she decides to finally return back to the bay, only to find her aunt and cousins need help running their family apothecary, known around town for its teas and remedies. Rumor around town is that the family is actually made up of magical healers, which is why their teas and herbs work so well. But Alex knows that can’t be true. But it does seem like something strange is going on, especially when someone is poisoned, and her aunt is arrested. She needs to prove her aunt’s innocence and solve the case before things get too out of hand.
In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace
Brynn Warren is the youngest in a long line of witches in her family, and after centuries of quietly living in their New England town, it all might come crashing down. Constance Graves, a local known for being not very nice, dies in the Warren family bed and breakfast, and Brynn’s aunt Nora is soon pinned as the prime suspect. Brynn now knows she needs to use her magic — speaking to the dead — to help solve the mystery of Constance’s death before it’s too late for her aunt Nora.
Bait and Witch by Angela M. Sanders
Josie is a librarian in a small Pacific Northwest town, staying hidden from a past life. But what should have been a quiet life under the radar becomes anything but when she stumbles across a body in the woods. Not only that, but she learns she comes from a long line of powerful witches, and her powers activate suddenly and without warning. She has no idea how to manage this new part of her life, but she needs to figure it out fast to learn who killed this person in the woods and to keep her true identity under wraps.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
In this witchy-adjacent read, The Montoya family’s matriarch never leaves her home in Four Rivers, and the Montoyas know better than to ask questions about it, or her. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral, questions arise anyway, and now the Montoyas have even more than they did before. Seven years later, they’re still wondering. So when something begins attacking the family, they know it’s time to finally get to the bottom of their family secrets and the secrets behind their inheritance.
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Penny Talbot grew up hearing the fable of her cursed town of Sparrow: Three sisters were sentenced to death for being witches, and they were drowned. Every summer, the sisters return to lure boys to the water and pull them down with them. Penny knows the town legend, but the new boy in town, Bo, doesn’t, and he arrives right before the sisters will return. She tries to warn him, but suddenly it seems like everyone is keeping secrets, and it will be a race to discover who is telling the truth and who is really a sister in disguise, ready to take someone back to the water.
The Cloisters by Katy Hays (November 1, 2022)
Ann Stilwell has secured a job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but instead of doing curation work as she expected, she’s assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum with a medieval art collection and a garden, and researchers obsessed with the history of divination. As researchers posit their theories to her, she’s at first entertained, but then becomes curious herself. And when she finds a 15th century tarot card deck, her casual interest becomes obsessive, just like the other researchers. Where did this deck come from, and why does it seem to have magical powers of its own? Ann finds herself in a race to find the answers before she runs out of time and before a higher power takes over for her.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Mila and Riley are inseparable BFFs, and with nothing much else to do in their small town, they like to practice amateur witchcraft — just for fun. But when the unthinkable happens and Riley and two other girls at school die under suspicious circumstances, Mila is heartbroken. And she knows she needs to get to the bottom of what happened to her best friend. So, using her limited knowledge of witchcraft, she brings Riley and the other girls back to life. They’ve only got seven days before the spell wears off, and they have no memory of what happened to them, so the four girls work together to untangle the mystery before anyone else is hurt.
In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker
The Haywood family of Yarrow, Kentucky, is known for their shadow garden. They grow food with magical flavors, that can cure illness and heartache, and can even make the local bourbon taste exceptional. But one summer, many years ago, tragedy struck. Residents of the town forgot the entire summer: the summer where one person died, and one person disappeared. And no one can remember a thing. Now, some secrets are beginning to reveal themselves, and suddenly it seems like they may finally be able to solve the mystery after all, and it’s all going to come down to Irene Haywood and a mysterious clue in her tea leaves.
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Arrah has no magical powers of her own, and she fears disappointing her family because of it. She’s the heir to powerful witchdoctors, yet she can’t summon her own bone magic. But when children in the kingdom begin to disappear — including her best friend — she knows she has to stop whatever is going on, magic or not. She’s heard of borrowing power in exchange for years taken from your life and knows this may be her only shot at finding her friend. As Arrah gets deeper into the magical world and the strange disappearances, she will also have to unravel her own family secrets to learn more about her own powers.
Witches by Brenda Lozano
More of a layered fiction with a secondary mystery inside, this tale follows Zoe, a young journalist reporting on the murder of Paloma. When Zoe travels to meet Paloma’s cousin, Feliciana, she discovers Paloma has taught her cousin her own healing practices, including passing on knowledge about the Language and the Book that carry all their secrets. The story is told in alternating chapters, and each story unravels as the women investigate the other’s life.
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith
Elena Boureanu has finally broken the spell that confined her to the marshland, and she is able to return home to the vineyard she was set to inherit. But without her magic and presence tending to the vines, it has fallen into the hands of a stranger. Jean-Paul is now in charge of the vineyard, and he doesn’t believe the locals’ stories about witches controlling the vines. Elena is determined to not only help the vines, but also uncover the truth behind who cast the spell that stole years of her life away and why.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel, reeling in the wake of his traditional Latine family struggling to accept his gender, is on a quest to prove that he is a real and true brujo. But when he performs a ritual to set the ghost of his murdered cousin free, he accidentally summons another boy instead: Julian Diaz, a boy from Yadriel’s school. Julian is determined to know once and for all what happened to him, and he needs Yadriel to help him in order to move on, so the two boys set off to learn the truth about Julian’s death.
The Hatak Witches by Devon A. Mihesuah
Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner are called to investigate a strange murder: a security guard has been found dead, along with another guard wounded, at the local children’s museum. There seem to be no clues at the crime scene, but when Monique finds that some parts of an ancient skeleton have also been taken, it seems the two have to be related. Soon she learns that the skeletal remains were those of Hatak haksi, a witch of the Crow family, known for shape-shifting abilities and plans to reign in power, by whatever means necessary, and it’s up to her to unravel it all before it’s too late.
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Mary is a young, married woman in 1662 Boston, but she knows she can’t stay married if she wants to survive. She is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, who is abusive when he’s drunk and sober, and Mary never knows which version will be upset with her. When he drives a fork into her hand, she knows she must seek separation to remain alive. But separating from a husband in the 1600s isn’t typical, and now, the townspeople are suspicious of her every move. It doesn’t help when they uncover strange objects buried in Mary’s garden, and when a local boy dies after being treated with herbs by Mary, they turn on her for good, claiming the witch must be killed.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
In this dark horror fantasy with mystery elements, The Prophet rules all, and whatever the Prophet says, goes. But he keeps a lot more secrets than he lets on, and when Immanuelle ends up in the forbidden Darkwood surrounding the town, she is given a gift: something that could unlock all the secrets the Prophet and the Church have been keeping. She’s given a journal that once belonged to her mother, now deceased, which leads Immanuelle to ask even more questions than she had before. And when the Plague begins sweeping through the town and the Prophet realizes someone knows his secrets, Immanuelle must move quickly to unravel everything before it’s too late.
Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling
Witches are hunted, and Alyce knows this better than anyone. Her mother has just been burned at the stake for being a witch, and now Alyce herself is on the run from a witch hunter. She barely knows anything about the witching world, but she teams up with a boy on a hunt of his own, and together, the two try to evade capture and learn more about their families’ pasts. But the farther they get, the more they realize this chase is bigger than the two of them: it’s a battle between good and evil and the living and the dead, and they’re both drawn into a much bigger web of secrets and dark magic than they ever thought possible.
The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
Natasha will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her sister after her car was found abandoned at the edge of a nature preserve. She’s furious no one has made any progress, and now, the case is going cold. So she turns to Della for help, who has a dark secret: Della’s family channels magic from the nature preserve, casting spells for locals who need help. So when Natasha turns up asking for help, it should be simple. But Della knows what really happened, and she can’t let Natasha discover who was behind her sister’s disappearance. The two team up — each with something to hide — to try to track down Natasha’s sister and both come out alive on the other end.
The Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce
Elena is an author and influencer ready to sell her family’s manor house. As she returns to the home, however, she feels a connection with Ilsbeth, a woman from centuries earlier who was accused of witchcraft and drowned in a well in the area. Elena feels compelled to write about Ilsbeth, but her childhood friend, Cathy, has been researching and writing about Ilsbeth for years. As the two former friends discover they’re researching the same subject, they begin getting more competitive about uncovering Ilsbeth’s true story and will stop at nothing for ownership of the story.
Witch mysteries not your thing? Check out some witch romance books instead for a guaranteed happy ending!