Mystery manga is essentially curling up by the fireplace with a good mystery novel, except it has visual representations of the story. These classic whodunit stories with a twist take readers into a whole new level of mystery. Some of the stories feature gruesome murders while other focus on a more supernatural mystique. Regardless of what you want from your mystery manga, there is a little something for every, all packaged up in some world class artwork as well. These aren't your dry old mystery novels that you dug out of your parent's basement, these are new and action packed.
I have also provided recommendations for mystery animes as well, most of which have very decent mangas as well. However, for the sake of variety, I have left them off this particular list.
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro focuses on the detective Neuro Nougami. He is not your ordinary detective though, he is a demon who feeds on mysteries and puzzles. He comes to Earth purposely to do so, however he must not let his identity be known as it is the law the rules demons who enter the human world. To keep himself a secret, he makes a deal with a human girl named Yako Katsuragi who is working to solve her own mystery. Together Yako helps him solve mysteries so her can feed upon them.
Neuro likes to play with the line between mystery and horror manga like it is playing jump rope with it. The demon Neuro is charming, horrifying, and hilarious all bound into a schizophrenic ball that just works. However, what makes this manga so unique is that it is charmingly unique. Uniqueness is something that the mystery genre can lack of time, but not here.
Kanazaki Nao has always lived up to her name, which means "honesty", so much so she is seen as a fool. However, out in the world a game is played called Liar Game. The objective is to deceive your opponent out of large sums of money or be left with massive debt. Nao is perhaps the most unlikely opponent to play this game, but that doesn't stop and invitation and a huge sum of cash from rolling onto her doorstep. Because of her crippling honesty, she is quickly tricked out of the sum, however she hears of a genius swindler who has just been released from jail. The swindler, Shinichi Akiyama, tricked a large corporation out of their entire fortune. She enlists his aid into retrieving the money she has lost so that she will not be thrust into debt by the Liar Game.
This manga, which also has a live action adaption, will kick you to your knees and leave you needing more. This is a particularly good read if you love the plots within plots of Death Note. The manga draws you in so viciously that you will find it hard to stop reading. You sit there thinking about how on Earth the main characters will win a battle, but when the plan unravels it is so deliciously complicated that you just know the author has to be some kind of diabolical genius.
Amano Yukiteru is a lonely middle school boy with no friends. he has always considered himself more of an observer, merely writing down everything he sees in his cell phone diary. However, solitude plays tricks on the mind. Yukiteru begins to imagine himself a friend called Deus Ex Machina who is apparently the Lord of Time and Space. After seeing the miserable state Yukiteru is in, Deus gives him the ability to record events that will happen in the near future in his diary. In exchange, he is forced to participate in a game in which the winner will be Deus' successor.
As innocent as the story sounds, they have no reservations about using gratuitous violence of every kind. It is quite brutal, but it also has some romance in it as well. Which for a romance and violence junkie like me, is a potent mixture for a good time. Another note is that the main character is kind of bland as far as personality goes, but everyone around him literally makes up for what he is lacking. All the other characters are so disturbingly intriguing that sometimes I wish they were the main characters.
Ten years ago he was taken in, unsure of by who. However, they placed him in a cell in a private prison. For ten years all he had was a television set and the distance voices of other prisoners. He lost who he was before and trained himself into a lethal hard bodied fighter. One day, his incarceration ends without explanation, this man is drugged and tossed in a trunk where he is later dumped in a park. When he awakes, he seeks to claim his life, identity and get his revenge.
Many people will recognize this from the live action movie that adapted this manga. However, much is the case with many manga to live action adaptations, the manga version is much more badass! This short little story is wrought with mystery and intrigue. I really loved the premise of a man imprisoned for no reason and to see his escapades once he got out. Like real life prisoners, he finds and beds himself a woman right off the bat, I just found that tidbit hilarious.
20th Century Boys
This is the story of a group of boys who try to save the world.
For Kenji, a simple convenience store manager who once dreamed of becoming a rock 'n' roll musician, a host of memories from his past come rushing back when one of his childhood friends mysteriously commits suicide. Could this new death be related to the rise of a bizarre new cult that's been implicated in several other murders and disappearances? Determined to dig deeper, Kenji reunites with some of his old buddies in the hope of learning the truth behind it all.
20th Century Boys bears a striking resemblance to the book/movie "It" by Stephen King, but thankfully with less terrifying clowns. It is a great read, like It, it really digs deep into each individuals storyline while still maintaining an overall mystery. It is great if you love character back story.
These are just a few of the best selected from my personal manga library. If you have been fortunate to see all of these or have a specific sort of manga in mind, leave a comment. I can give more suggestions if you want them!