Mystery Books About Identity

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Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

This list of mystery books about identity was originally published in our mystery/thriller newsletter, Unusual Suspects. Sign up for it here to get mystery/thriller news, reviews, deals, and more!

Hello mystery fans! From three characters in a fake family to an anonymous author, both these awesome reads are rooted in identity and its theft or hiding.

Cover of Spy x Family

Spy x Family, Vol. 1 (SPY×FAMILY #1) by Tatsuya Endo, Translated by Casey Loe

Baby read her first manga. And loved it! I am kind of mad at myself that this whole time I just assumed manga wasn’t for me and was totally wrong and I have been missing out. If a part of your brain just asked anything about manga, this may help.

This is the first volume in a series about a spy, which is more than enough to keep me interested. But this is so much more. Loid is a spy and for his next mission to be successful he must get close to his target, and the best way to do that is through their kids at a private school. Easy peasy. Except Loid doesn’t have any kids. The obvious solution for him is to randomly adopt a kid and find a wife to fake a family with him, as one does (?). Here is where this gets fun-fun: unbeknownst to Loid, the child he adopts, Anya, is able to read people’s thoughts, and the fake wife, Yor, is actually an assassin. I know!

It makes for a lot of fun that none of them know this about each other while they form this fake family to get Anya enrolled into an elite school, where they need to get her accepted first for Loid to have any chance at accomplishing his mission. Nothing is going to go right! I inhaled the first two volumes and the only thing that has slowed down my reading from already being caught up is they seem to randomly go out of print (in paperback), and you have to wait a little for a new printing. Totally worth the wait. So if you want a fun read with laughs, spies, assassins, and action here you go! If you’re hesitant about reading a manga, you can read the opening on Amazon with the “preview.”

Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews

I recommend going into this with zero knowledge, as I did, to enjoy its unfolding. For readers who do not read that way, here you go: this is an unexpected crime story, with slow build suspense, and a bite. It’s about ambition, and identity, not being satisfied, and thinking why not take what you think is owed to you (as if the world owes anyone anything).

We start with Florence Darrow working in publishing who finds herself fired, rightfully so, but before long she has a dream job. A famously anonymous author is hiring an assistant. Not only will she get to work with her, but she’ll get to see her next book, and be one step closer to being an author herself. But after a voyage, and an accident, Florence starts to wonder if maybe it would just be easier if she herself became the anonymous author. I mean if only one other person really knows who she is, how hard could it be…

I really enjoyed this and it was a total page-turner for me. It took a thing I’ve read before and made it feel fresh, which is something I always appreciate. (TW mentions story of man obsessed with teen girl, doesn’t give details)