Crime and Mystery fiction that is in the Public Domain

What is Public Domain?

The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply.

A public-domain book is a book with no copyright, a book that was created without a license, or a book where its copyrights expired or have been forfeited.

In the United States, every book and tale published prior to 1926 is in the public domain; American copyrights last for 95 years for books originally published between 1925 and 1978 if the copyright was properly registered and maintained.

In Canada, the copyright period for works is 50 years after the year the author has died.

In the United Kingdom copyright protection for published works can last up to 70 years after the author’s death. After copyright expires, the work is in the public domain.

The works of Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, and Edgar Allan Poe are in the public domain worldwide as they all died over 100 years ago.

Technically, books under public domain should be FREE. However, many are not. You can however, read them for free in digital format via the Project Gutenberg site.

Many crime/mystery fiction titles are under Public Domain! Here are a few examples:

Whose Body?” by Dorothy L. Sayers

The Thirty-Nine Steps” by John Buchan

The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins

The Man in the Brown Suit” by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles” by Agatha Christie

The Innocence of Father Brown” by G.K. Chesterton

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Mystery of Edwin Drood” by Charles Dickens

The Red House Mystery” by A.A. Milne

The Circular Staircase” by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Works of Edgar Allan Poe“: the Raven edition

If you have never taken advantage of the books available via Project Gutenberg, you should really check out the site. They have over 60,000 free eBooks!  Happy Reading!



About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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10 Responses to Crime and Mystery fiction that is in the Public Domain

  1. Yes, the project is amazing, especially if you want to read some really good vintage fiction!

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. Ellen says:

    I’ve been using Gutenburg for years and am so glad you posted about it! I get a some daily e-mails with alerts on ebooks available at reduced rates or free; it’s amazing how many of the free books are available for $1 or less — when you can get them free. Okay, I confess…. sometimes I pay the dollar just because it’s easy… but others might prefer to get the free files. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carla says:

    Great post Lynne. I have taken advantage of Project Gutenberg, but it has been awhile. Good information to share. I love the new look of your blog. It is fresh and bright!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pink Roses says:

    Thanks for that information. That’s good news!

    Liked by 2 people

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