Public Domain Mystery Fiction

This page is a catalog of all of the books I have read which are in the public domain according to US law. These are works where the copyright has expired based on the age of the book or, less commonly, a failure to include a copyright notice or renew the copyright on the title by the author’s estate.

At the time of writing works written before 1925 are deemed out of copyright under US law. That means that some of the earliest Christie and Sayers novels are now in the public domain along with a wealth of lesser known works.

On this page I will be listing the works I have reviewed which I know are in the public domain in the United States based on the year of publication. I will include links to my reviews as well as to places where you can read and download free copies (usually Project Gutenberg).

I am definitely not saying that you shouldn’t buy copies of these public domain works. While a free digitized copy is great to have access to, there are benefits to owning (or borrowing from a public library) a properly, professionally proofread edition. For instance more and more publishers are asking experts in crime fiction to provide introductory essays and materials to enrich your reading experience.

Be aware though that for every publisher treating a book with care there are usually three or four less scrupulous publishers who will just run a book through a digitizing scan or even reformat the Gutenberg text file. I strongly suggest if you are planning to buy that you use the page preview or sample functions in your ebook store of choice to make sure you are getting a professional product. It is usually pretty easy to spot the worst offenders within a few pages.


Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Hercule Poirot #1
Originally published 1919
Available on Project Gutenberg
My review is available here

Poirot Investigates

Hercule Poirot #2
Originally published 1924
Available on Project Gutenberg
My review is available here

The Man in the Brown Suit

Originally published 1924
Available on Project Gutenberg
My review is available here

Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet

Sherlock Holmes #1
Originally published 1887
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

The Sign of Four

Sherlock Holmes #2
Originally published 1890
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes #3
Originally published 1892
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes #4
Originally published 1893
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

Richard Harding Davis

In the Fog

Originally published 1901
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

R. Austin Freeman

The Singing Bone

Dr. Thorndyke #5
Originally published 1912
Available on Wikisource
My review is available here

Anna K. Green

The Leavenworth Case

Ebenezer Gryce #1
Originally published 1878
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

Edgar Allan Poe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Dupin #1
Originally published 1841
Available on Project Gutenberg (contained in The Works of Edgar Allan Poe volume one) and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

The Mystery of Marie Rogêt

Dupin #2
Originally published 1842
Available on Project Gutenberg (contained in The Works of Edgar Allan Poe volume one) and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

The Purloined Letter

Dupin #3
Originally published 1844
Available on Project Gutenberg (contained in The Works of Edgar Allan Poe volume two) and on audio with Librivox

Dorothy L Sayers

Whose Body?

Lord Peter Wimsey #1
Originally published 1924
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here

Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Originally published 1886
Available on Project Gutenberg and on audio with Librivox
My review is available here