Crime Fiction Based on Fact
Bury Me Deep by Megan AbbottBased on the story of Winnie Judd, also known as the “Trunk Murderess” in 1931 Arizona.
Wicked City by Ace AtkinsAtkins brings readers back to a nearly real, very corrupted Phenix City, Alabama in the 1950s.
Alias Grace by Margaret AtwoodYears after the trial and conviction of Grace Marks in 1843, a doctor seeks to study her.
by John BoyneBoyne draws on the murder of Cora Crippen by her husband in 1910.
by Peter CareyNed Kelly was an outlaw in 19th century Australia.
The Alienist by Caleb CarrAlthough the serial killer in this book is fictional, Carr’s 1890s feature real political, criminal, and financial figures.
by Agatha ChristieChristie traveled multiple times on the actual Orient Express, and loosely based this book on two events: the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son and a blizzard that delayed the train for six days in Turkey (information from agathachristie.com).
by Patricia D. CornwellInspiration for this book comes from the Colonial Parkway Killer, a murderer in 1980s Virginia.
The Yard by Alex CrecianCrecian writes a story set in late Victorian England, just after Jack the Ripper.
Girl A by Abigail DeanThe protagonist of this story grew up in a House of Horrors, which was the name used to refer to the home of the Turpins.
Room by Emma DonoghueDonoghue’s writing was inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl.
by Dominick DunneThis is a fictionalized version of the murder of Martha Moxley by Michael Skakel.
by Thomas HarrisIn creating the serial killer in his book, Harris drew on multiple actual murderers.
Q is for Quarry by Sue GraftonBased on an unsolved murder case from 1969. Because of this book, the case was re-opened.
The Black Dahlia by James EllroyThe real Black Dahlia was Elizabeth Short, who was found murdered in Los Angeles in 1947.
Burial Rites by Hannah KentKent writes about the life of Agnes Magnusdottir, an Icelandic woman executed in 1830 for murder.
by Norman MailerMailer tells the story of criminal Gary Gilmore.
The Book of Lies by Brad MeltzerThis book was inspired by the murder of Mitchell Siegel, which remains unsolved.
The Long Drop by Denise MinaBased on a true 1957 crime in Glasgow, Scotland.
Sutton by J.R. MoehringerThis is a fictionalized biography of Willie Sutton, who repeatedly robbed banks and broke out of prisons in the first half of the 20th century.
Black Water by Joyce Carol OatesThe story of the Chappaquiddick incident.
The Weight of Water by Anita ShreveHalf of the story was inspired by the Smuttynose Island murders in 1873.
The Perfect Nanny by Leila SlimaniLoosely based on the murders of the Krim children in 2012.
by Josephine TeyTey goes back to the 1480s in this fictionalized investigation of Richard III and the Princess in the Tower murder.
Dream of Ding Village by Lianke YanBased on unregulated blood-selling in Eastern China.