Image of Sam Blake

Sam Blake

The Essential Reading List

Sam Blake is a multiple No 1 bestselling crime writer, who has been shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year three times. Her 7th bestseller, The Mystery of Four, and her recently published YA debut, Something Terrible Happened Last Night, are both in shops now. Follow her on social @samblakebooks and find out more at, where you can join her Reader's Club and get a free book. Sam is the founder of Ireland's International Crime Writing Festival, Murder One, and is the coordinator for National Crime Reading Month in the UK and Ireland (June 2023). She is a board member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers Association.

Photo credit: Alice-Rose Jordan.

Books by me

Something Terrible Happened Last Night by Sam Blake

Something Terrible Happened Last Night

"This is my first step into YA and my first teen thriller, so I'm delighted that it is receiving incredible reviews. I loved writing this school story with its cast of fabulous, independent girls - I hope it will be the start of something!! "

Buy this book

The Mystery of Four by Sam Blake

The Mystery of Four

"Every one of my adult books is a little different, but all feature strong female characters. This is a twisty Agatha Christie inspired story set in a fictional country house estate and the neighbouring village, high in the Wicklow Mountains. It features a retired actress called Clarissa Westmacott and a very strong-willed black cat called Merlin (who is in fact my son's cat!)."

Buy this book

Books that influenced me

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


Daphne du Maurier

"Rebecca is quite brilliant in every possible way – it’s multi layered, a thriller, a romance, and it has some incredible twists you do NOT see coming. Reading it was a seminal moment for me in realising that you could write a perfectly formed story that layered crime and romance with literary imagery, and how important location could be as a character in its own right. It sets the gold standard, bringing unforgettable characters to the page as well as a gripping, twisty plot. It's essentially about a dead character and we never learn the protagonist's name (genius on every level) but it's also about desire and deceit and every line is packed with imagery that underpins the text to reveal something new every time I read it."

Buy this book

Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Little White Horse

Elizabeth Goudge

"This is a book that once read is never forgotten. It’s a fabulous fairytale of a book that I read when I was very young and can still vividly remember scenes from. The descriptions are just mesmerising - the images of Maria Merriweather’s round starry ceilinged bedroom with its tiny fireplace, the huge shaggy dog, Wrolf, lying in front of the fire in the grand hall, and of the glass house with its riot of pink geraniums will live with me forever, it’s a masterpiece of storytelling. The cover reveals that the little white horse is in fact a unicorn..."

Buy this book

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Agatha Christie

"If you don’t know where to start with Agatha Christie, start here! Acclaimed as one of the most influential crime novels ever written, with its innovative approach and major twist, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is narrated by Dr James Sheppard, and plays brilliantly with the readers’ assumptions. With its classic country house setting, and ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ cast who all have their own stories, Christie had a gift for the locked room mystery and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of her finest. "

Buy this book

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King

"The absolute best book every written on the craft of writing. When you've read this part memoir, part craft book you'll understand what voice is, and feel you know Stephen King personally. On every single successful writer's shelf!"

Buy this book

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert

"This is life coaching in book form - it's witty and perceptive and opens up the world of creativity showing readers new ways of thinking, how to approach challenges and achieve their dreams - as it says on the cover, it's Big Magic."

Buy this book

Personal favourites

The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe

The Girls I've Been

Tess Sharpe

"Gripping, brilliantly structured, I was hooked from the first page. A masterclass in keeping dual timelines as engaging as each other and weaving stories. I loved the characters and voice in this book - you won't be able to put it down. It uses brilliant literary devices to propel the story forwards to an incredibly dramatic ending. The Girls I've Been is aimed at a YA readership but I'm definitely not 17! My first Tess Sharpe but it won't be my last. "

Buy this book

Grave Expectations by Alice Bell

Grave Expectations

Alice Bell

"Grave Expectations is Alice Bell’s hilarious crime debut. Claire Hendricks is a directionless 30-something true crime fan who works as a freelance medium, assisted by the ghost of her best friend, Sophie, who was murdered when she was seventeen. Sophie is a classic, deeply sarcastic teen who regularly points put Claire’s failings as, assisted by the living and the dead, they race against misunderstanding and disaster to find the truth. I loved it!"

Buy this book

Freckles by Cecilia Ahern


Cecilia Ahern

"I'm a crime writer but I believe you need to read widely to grow as a writer - and I love a brilliant concept. Cecelia Ahern’s Freckles is based on Jim Rohn’s quote about how you are shaped by the five people closest to you. I’m always quoting it to business colleagues and there it was in a book! I love the freshness of Cecilia's writing and how she brings such wonderful characters to the page."

Buy this book