The 8 Best Crime Books from the Thriller Queens

At the Baileys Prize Book Bar, at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road, we brought together a line-up of internationally bestselling writers to talk about what makes a great thriller. The wonderful panel, hosted by Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction co-founder Kate Mosse, included celebrated Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, Nicci Gerrard, author of the gripping Frieda Klein series, internationally bestselling author Diane Wei Liang and Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard.

Read on to find out which two books each of the panelists picked as their favourite thrillers by women, plus a chance to win all eight incredible reads!


Nicci Gerrard


Nicci’s choices were:

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

‘A kind, forgiving portrayal of what it is to have dementia, what it is to be overlooked, forgotten.’

The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay

‘A book about not having a voice, I urge you to read it… However assertive strong women are, we’re still seen to be on the outside – people who are marginal.’


Diane Wei Liang


Diane’s choices were:

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

‘I found myself wanting Ripley to get away with it’

Out by Natsuo Kirino

‘This is the book that let me walk inside a Japanese house.’


Val McDermid


Val’s choices were:

The Franchise by Josephine Tey

‘Genuine throat-closing suspense’

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is a great read but has flaws, this book doesn’t have those flaws’


Louise Doughty 

Louise’s choices were:

The Crooked House by Christobel Kent

‘[In this book] there’s a distant shore of normality and you’re a long way from it’

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

‘Arguably the first of what we now call domestic noir’


For a chance to win all 8 brilliant books, as chosen by our Queens of Comedy panelists, head to the @BaileysPrize Instagram now!

The Women's Prize Podcast

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