After a stunning read of Seni Glaister’s Museum of Things Left Behind, we couldn’t wait to get together a list to reminisce about all of the other fantastic novels featuring museums. We’ve put together a culmination of our top choices below, from intense thrillers to deep romances and imaginary worlds. We’d love to hear your suggestions, if you can think of more!
1. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
A bestseller and hit film, The Da Vinci Code explores Christianity and the bloodline of Christ in the romantic setting of Paris and is an obvious choice for our list. Featuring the Louvre, with is iconic glass pyramid, Robert Langdon searches for the killer of the curator and finds himself deep in religious history, searching for the Holy Grail and the descendent of Jesus. A pacey read, taking you through twists and turns in a realm many authors fear to explore, it’s a unique and original mystery-detective which has earned its well-known status.
2. The Murder Room – P D James
A much darker, thrilling addition to the museum collection is the twelfth of P D James’ Adam Dalgliesh series set in the Dupayne Museum on the edge of Hampstead Heath. One of Britain’s most esteemed detective authors, James creates a brilliant detective novel, presenting a dead body in the Muder Room – holding relics of murders that occurred in the first and second World Wars. Bringing past and present together with a very similar death, you’ll find yourself swept away with the mystery of both the room and the story itself.
3. The British Museum is Falling Down – David Lodge
One of our own which we felt just couldn’t be left off the list is David Lodge. One of his earliest novels, The British Museum is Falling Down is a charming, hilarious and honestly written novel about a young man called Adam Appleby who works in the Reading Room at the British Museum. Both a great insight into the stunning history of the museum, as well as a genuinely heart-warming and relatable story of a struggling young student coming to terms with his domesticated life and his own misadventures.
4. The Fifth Elephant– Terry Pratchett
Much loved and missed, Terry Pratchett was a magician with words and worlds. His museum differs a little from the more serious types by being a Dwarf Bread Museum. This book is his 24th in the Discworld series, focusing around the stolen Scone of Stone from said museum. Pratchett’s worlds are some of the most creative and magical you’ll find in literature: unique characters, bustling cities and a world of fantasy so different from our own. He creates a perfect escape from every day life, taking you on the most sensational adventures.
5. Posession – AS Byatt
Winner of the 1990 Booker prize, this is set in a library – which we felt was close enough to a museum to justify a position on our list. On discovering handwritten drafts of from a Victorian poet, Randolph Henry Ash, Roland Michell begins to investigate a long forgotten unknown romance between the poet and his contemporary, leading him to meet Maud Bailey, who learns to find her human side again through these past lovers. Indulge yourself in a story of heart-wrenching love and tragedy as Michell delves deeper into the past, uncovering secrets that may have been better left alone.