Top 100 Mystery Books

I am actually aiming, being a traditionalist, to reach a list of 100 titles. Eagle-eyed readers will therefore spot that this is only three quarters of that and thus a work-in-progress. I have highlighted below authors or books already reviewed within the blog – I expect to reach 100 soon, thanks to suggestions and through additions of my 5-star reviews as they appear. There are some big gaps in the list (no Georges Simenon, no Patrick Quentin, virtually no authors in translation yet) but I’m sure I’ll manage eventually and find a single work by the likes of Simenon that can stand for such a titanic corpus.

For the moment, here are 82 of the great, the good and the nostalgic amongst my favourites – the list will undoubtedly change and evolve and I am very much open to suggestions and comments. Thank you, in advance.

And Jamus my friend, belatedly, this one’s for you …

  1. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  2. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  3. The Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  4. The Three Impostors by Arthur Machen
  5. The Amateur Cracksman by EW Hornung
  6. At the Villa Rose by AEW Mason
  7. The Thinking Machine by Jacques Futrelle
  8. The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
  9. The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton
  10. The Greene Murder Case by SS Van Dine
  11. The Poisoned Chocolate Case by Anthony Berkeley
  12. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  13. The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett
  14. *Before the Fact by Francis Iles (aka Anthony Berkeley)
  15. Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding
  16. The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen
  17. X v. Rex by Philip MacDonald
  18. #Fast One by Paul Cain
  19. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
  20. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
  21. Headed for a Hearse by Jonathan Latimer
  22. The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout
  23. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
  24. Obelists Fly High by C. Daly King
  25. The Face on the Cutting Room Floor by Cameron McCabe
  26. The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
  27. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
  28. The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake (aka Cecil Day Lewis)
  29. The Judas Window by Carter Dickson (aka John Dickson Carr)
  30. Night and the City by Gerald Kersh
  31. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  32. The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler
  33. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  34. *Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
  35. Phantom Lady by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich)
  36. The Red Right Hand by Joel Townsley Rogers
  37. The Horizontal Man by Helen Eustis
  38. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
  39. Deadly Weapon by Wade Miller
  40. The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin
  41. The Scarf by Robert Bloch
  42. Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner
  43. The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler
  44. Cat of Many Tails by Ellery Queen
  45. ***Through a Glass, Darkly by Helen McCloy
  46. The Judge and His Hangman by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
  47. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
  48. The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham
  49. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  50. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  51. A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin
  52. Mystery Stories by Stanley Ellin
  53. The Getaway by Jim Thompson
  54. The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown
  55. A Stranger in My Grave by Margaret Millar
  56. The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia
  57. Call for the Dead by John le Carre
  58. The Hunter by Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake)
  59. The Chill by Ross Macdonald
  60. Man Out of Nowhere by LP Davies
  61. Kinds of Love, Kinds of Death by Tucker Coe (aka Donald Westlake)
  62. A Queer Kind of Death by George Baxt
  63. The Abominable Man by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
  64. The Walter Syndrome by Richard Neely
  65. Mirror, Mirror by Stanley Ellin
  66. Sadie When She Died by Ed McBain
  67. The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
  68. Hazell Plays Solomon by PB Yuill
  69. Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald
  70. Magic by William Goldman
  71. Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl
  72. **Looking for Rachel Wallace by Robert B. Parker
  73. Death of a Favourite Girl by Michael Gilbert
  74. Hoodwink by Bill Pronzini
  75. The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey
  76. Berlin Game by Len Deighton
  77. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  78. A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell)
  79. A Taste for Death by PD James
  80. The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
  81. A Closed Book by Gilbert Adair
  82. The Constant Gardner by John le Carre
  83. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
  84. Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

* With thanks to Mike Ripley
** With thanks to J. Kingston Pierce
*** With thanks to JF Norris
# With thanks to Michael

91 Responses to Top 100 Mystery Books

  1. Pingback: Top 100 mystery books (almost) | Tipping My Fedora

  2. For readers new to crime fiction, this list provides a genuine education. And there are a number of books listed that I still haven’t read. Quibbles: I’d have chosen Stanley Ellin’s “The Eighth Circle” over “Mystery Stories,” I would substitute Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye” for “The Little Sister,” and Robert B. Parker’s “Looking for Rachel Wallace” belongs here. Really. But otherwise …

    • Thanks very much for the comments, much appreciated. I love Ellin but I felt I should try and restrict myself to no more than two books per author and I’ve always felt that MIRROR, MIRROR is really under-appreciated and is a such a personal favourite that I had to include it – but EIGHTH CIRCLE is fabulous, no question. I think maybe it goes in after all … And you’re right, Spenser should be in the list – I shall definitely remedy this! Thanks again.

    • But the list is missing Ed Cline’s novels which are like not other:http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Cline/e/B000APRFXU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

      Check out all three of his series: Cyrus Skeen, Merritt Fury, and Chess Hanrahan

      His novels are real page turners and have real heroes.

  3. vanessa lindley-blunt says:

    I thought I was fairly well read but don’t think i have read any of them although some have been made into movies i’ve seen.

    • Hello Vanessa, thanks for reading. I really envy the fact that you still have these particular books to look forward to. If you get round to reading any of them please do share some of your thoughts here.
      All the best,
      Sergio

  4. Mike Ripley says:

    So far, so good. Wouldn’t argue with any of these, though I might pick different books by the same authors, eg: IPCRESS FILE and SS-GB for Len Deighton and A PERFECT SPY for Le Carre. Only a couple of authors I haven’t read, which makes me feel rather smug to be in such fedora-tipping company. Surprised not to see Rex Stout or Geoffrey Household in there and, of course, I would always make room for John D. (as well as Philip and Ross) Macdonald and P.M. Hubbard. And can I make a case for Ruth Rendell (rather than Barbara Vine) with A DEMON IN MY VIEW and A JUDGEMENT IN STONE? Also, C.S. Forrester, before he invented Hornblower, was an excellent crime writer and his PLAIN MURDER and PAYMENT DEFERRED both pre-date Francis Iles’ MALICE AFORETHOUGHT ven though just as revolutionary. Speaking of whicwhich: where’s Francis Iles?

    • Dear Mike, not only that, but where the hell is one of your Angel book?! I’ll remedy this oversight this next week, I promise. I did include Rex Stout’s THE LEAGE OF FRIGHTENED MEN at # 19 but will have to admit to having a real blind spot about John D. Macdonald, which I promise to try and overcome – which one would you recommend for someone who has been a bit sniffy about his books in the past such as myself ..? Not sure how I forgot Iles as I did remember the Berkeley – I’ll fix that too – on the other hand, I have never read P.M. Hubbard so I’ll just got an hang my head in shame until I remedy the situation …

      Thanks very much for your feedback – it is greatly appreciated.

      All the best,
      Sergio

  5. J F Norris says:

    Sergio -
    One of the most eclectic and well read lists I’ve seen in a while. So nice to see a genre blender like THE DEMOLISHED MAN here. Also Eustis’ pivotal book deserves far more attention than just an Edgar award. (I ought to write it up for Friday’s Forgotten Books, now that I think of it. Thanks for the idea!) It should be appearing more often on lists like this. She really was the first to employ a plot motif that became a gimmicky ploy in the hands of lesser writers. Robert Bloch seems to have stole her thunder with [you know what book]. Millar’s work is also overlooked so often in “Best of” lists. Her husband gets more nods repeatedly than she ever does. Shameful I think. I would’ve included at least one of Helen McCloy’s books and I’m thinking that her first (DANCE OF DEATH) really should be getting more attention as a pioneering work for its time. And it’s so modern by today’s standards. Someone should reprint it.

    Not a list for purists, I expect, but I admire anyone who can whittle down the massive amount of books he’s read into a list of the best. I simply can’t do it. I’d have to make about 25 different lists and use subgenres: best early American detective novels; best locked room & impossible crime novels; best non-English language mystery novels and/or writers, etc. etc. But I’m just not interested in spending the time creating these types of lists. The only one I do is “Books Read in [YEAR].” So much easier to do a simple chronology of reading.

    P.S. The only books I have never heard of are The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia and The Closed Door by Gilbert Adair. So I have dutifully noted both titles and will toddle off into cyperspace to read about them somewhere (they’ll show up, I’m sure) and most likely to find a copy of each as well.

    • Dear John, thanks very much for the excellent feedback. THE DAY OF THE OWL is known to us Italians under its original title as IL GIORNO DELLA CIVETTA and it’s a classic of post-war sicilian writing – it’s a policier that looks at the corruption surrounding a murder linked to the Mafia and local politicians. It gets taught in schools in Italy (or it did until Berlusconi came to power) and for once didn’t disgrace itself when it was turned into a movie starring Claudia Cardinale, Franco Nero and Lee J. Cobb. The Adair book, A CLOSED BOOK, was also filmed but the movie version in this case wasn’t anything to get too excited about because it’s just too literary a conceit – as a book it’s a bit of a one-off and won’t be too everybody’s taste – I really hope you get to read them both.

      You are right about the missing McCloy and I shall add THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY but have every intention of reading more of her work, so that choice may be subject to change!

      Thanks again.

      Sergio

  6. Wonderful list – eclectic, open-minded and even-handed. I see that we share many favorites including some unusual suspects – always good to see the woefully underrated Wade Miller/Whit Masterson making a best-list.

    I may issue a list of mine some of these days, so stay tuned. ;-)

  7. Priscilla Royal says:

    Great list with some I haven’t yet read. Always a treat, that. As for Simenon, I am not a big fan but “Lock 14″ was enough to make me appreciate his talent at style and story-telling. Almost perfect balance of minimalist efficiency with dialogue and narrative.

    • Hello Priscilla, thanks for the comments and welcome to the discussion. It’s probably going to take me ages to come down on a particular Simenon title I suspect, but I’m really grateful for the help so thanks very much for the suggestions.

  8. michael says:

    For your consideration:
    Ross Thomas – “Briarpatch”
    Norbert Davis – “Sally In The Alley”
    Paul Cain – “Fast One”
    Maurice Leblanc – “Arsene Lupin”

    Thanks for the great list and leaving space left over for the rest of us to have some fun.

  9. karabekirus says:

    A very good list, indeed. It seems not to take into account recent authors, but seeing Woodrell and Winslow up there, I dare to suggest three more master storytellers:
    1. Michael Connelly: He beats all opponents in recent reader surveys. I think The Poet would be a good sample of his work.
    2. Deon Meyer: 13 Hours
    3. Arnaldur Indridason: The Silence of the Grave

    • Dear karabekirus, thanks very much for the excellent suggestions. I have, for the most part, tried to steer clear of authors I have only read recently to try and give posterity a little chance to catch up. But I suspect that many of the additions I will be making will be, chronologically speaking, to the bottom of the list rather than the top! I was a huge fan of the Harry Bosch series but it’s been a while since I read his stuff and in fact THE POET, which was one of his first if I remember correctly, is one I may not have got round to despite some excellent reviews so I will get right on that. And have only recently discovered Indridason (literally just this year) which I also rate very highly indeed but I want to read the whole series first before choosing just one title. Meyer I have yet to tackle but will definitely add that to my list.

      Thanks again.
      Sergio

      • puzzledoctor says:

        I agree that Connelly deserves a mention but is The Poet really his best book? I read it ages ago and all that sticks out is what appeared to be a tacked-on “I’m going to write a sequel” ending. I’d go for The Black Echo, myself, but I’ve only read a handful.

        • I went through a phase where I read a lot of his in close succession but it’s been years since I read one as I started to find the Bosch books a bit formulaic (always the conspiracy in the department holding him back etc). I haven’t read THE POET still and do have that on my list – it was the first of hii books that i remember reading about in connection with his name.

  10. Yvette says:

    Great list. Intimidating list. Mostly it’s a ‘too late for me’ list since there are simply books I’m just not going to get a chance to read, not with my TBR Mountain about to crash down about my ears. I would love to put together a list of this kind, but I haven’t read a lot of the very early classics, so I’m wondering if my list would have any merit. Might do it anyway.

    I agree about Michael Connelly’s THE POET. I’m not Connelly’s biggest fan, but this is an amazing book.
    Some titles for your consideration:

    THE BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE by Laurie R. King

    L.A. REQUIEM by Robert Crais is another to think about.

    DECIDER by Dick Francis

    CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters

    THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE by Mary Roberts Rinehart

    Just one Nero Wolfe book? See, that’s the problem, I could not limit myself to just one of his or Christie’s or Ngaio Marsh or…

    Well, still, a great and enlightening list, I enjoyed reading it.

  11. Hello Yvette, thanks very much for your suggestions – the Crais in particular may very well get added shortly! Do you know, I’ve never read the Rinehart and in fact it has been a very long time since I looked at any of her books so that might make for a very interesting project! It would be wonderful to read your list – you have such an abundance of material on your blog frankly I would welcome a guided way into it!
    Cheers,

    Sergio

  12. Jose Ignacio says:

    Sergio is there a time frame for your list? Or would you go all the way up to books recently published.
    Afraid I’m not much of an expert on crime fiction, have great gaps in some periods/authors. Have not check if you have “Puzzle for Players” by Patrick Quentin on your list, which I recently bought and plan to read soon.
    From Italy I’m interested in Leonardo Sciascia, but have not read many, and can’t suggest a particular book.
    Thanks for your confidence

  13. Hello Jose, great to hear from you. I have focused on older titles here mainly, partly just because it reflects my taste but also because I wasn’t very confident about including too many recent books just to give myself some distance and so hopefully improve the critical perspective – but I have left the list deliberately unfinished partly to include newer works and to inspire me to re-read some novels for potential inclusion. Sciascia is virtually required reading at schools back home but is much darker than, say, Camilleri, and consequently has not exported particularly well. I love Quentin but read most those books decades ago so find it hard to focus on just one. I would love to know of titles that you particularly rate highly and which would be available to read in English or Italian.

    Many thanks,
    Sergio

    • I think of the Quentin/ Patric/ Stagge titles i would go for Patrick : Death and the Maiden, and Quentin : the Man in the Net personally

      Of your other choices I would share about 80%. I’d have another Philip MacDonald in – Murder Gone Mad – X vs Rex was wriitten under the pseudonym of Martin Porlock.

      I would also definitely have a Henry Wade in there – difficult to say which though qas I like so many!

      And I would Have Anthony Berkeley’s Trial and error rather than the Poiisoned Choclates which I think worked better as a short story.

      I would probably have a second Sjowall Wahloo – the Laughing Policeman. I think I would have Larsson there (though at the bottom end of the list) for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but not the others which I thought became too far fetched too quickly.

      • Hello Scott, thanks very much for the feedback, greatly appreciated.

        Sadly the Wade books seem quite rare on my side of the pond and I have never ready any of his sad to admit – but if I can get my hands on a copy of HEIR PRESUMPTIVE I plan on giving it my utmost attention!

        I like MAN IN THE NET but I prefer THE MAN WITH TWO WIVES and plan on blogging on that one soon. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of the Larsson books, or at least not enough to consider any of them the 100 best anything really – Selander is a great character but, their great success and the author’s undoubted seriousness of intent, for me the books just seem too silly to me even from the first volume – I enjoyed them as pulpy entertainments with something to say but in the end it was all compromised too much by wish fulfillment fantasies and the absurdities of the plot – I know this puts me in a real minority position and I do keep being told that I am flat out wrong on this …

        • bardin1 says:

          I have quite few duplicate Wades though not Heir Presumptive which seems one fo the harder titles.. happy to try to sort out a transatlantic copy if you e mail me on scottherbertson at hotmail.com (I own my own hotmail name, which is nice!). A few of them stray into Crofts dullness but most have well drawn characterisation and good Golden Age whodunit plotting.

          For PB Yuill I would definitely go in preference for The Bornless Keeper which is a horror/ whodunit on the lines of the Wicker Man (which I might also include). I would guess Bornless Keeper is just the Gordon Williams half of the pseudonym (Gordon also wrote Straw Dogs aka The seige fo Trenchers Farm). The other half was Terry Venables, England football manager who rovided the ockney/ london criminal background for the Hazell series I believe, allegedly…

          • Thanks for the comments Scott. According to Williams, Venables was definitely a full writing partner and, for the frst book, even came up with the basic plot about the switched babies. I’m sure you’re right about Bornless Keeper being all Williams. In Solomon Williams has a great time in a scene in which Hazell goes to the cinema and watches a film he hates and which is clearly Straw Dogs, the 1971 adaptation of Trencher’s Farm.

  14. Jose Ignacio says:

    Sergio maybe you will like to check my post Vintage Mystery Challenge and some links there and compare the books there with the ones on your list.
    Also note that I’m Spanish and my knowledge of Italian books and authors is limited.
    Cheers

  15. Annie C says:

    Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time? Or is that too non-mystery to be considered?

    Thank you for this post! I’ve just added about a dozen books to my summer reading list.

    • Hello Annie, thanks very much for the suggestion – Tey is one of those authors that I want to re-read as it’s just been a bit too long since I last had a crack at one of her books. Time to giver another go I think!

  16. Neer says:

    I love lists, if only to see how little I’ve read :). Only 12 from this. Glad to see Tiger in the Smoke.

    Could I make a few suggestions:

    1. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie.
    2. Hamlet! Revenge! by Michael Inns.
    3. Some Must Watch by Ethel Lina White.

    • Hello Neer, thanks very much for the great suggestions – I think the Innes really should go in but I need to re-read the White as I seem to be able to remember the classic 40s movie as THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE much too well in comparison to the extent that i can’t tell them apart in my mind!

      Cheers.

  17. CQ says:

    This is a really good selection list. One mystery writer I would add in is George Harmon Coxe with a Kent Murdock series’ novel such as (post WWII) The Jade Venus.
    A few other potential list fillers could include:
    The Longest Second by Bill S. Ballinger
    On the Spot by Edgar Wallace
    Vengenance is Mine by Mickey Spillane
    Murder by the Book by Frances and Richard Lockridge
    The Seven File by William P. McGivern
    Gideon’s Ride, or Gideon’s Vote, by J.J. Marric
    The Balloon Man by Charlotte Armstrong
    and
    The Lock and the Key by Frank Gruber

    • Hello CQ, thanks very much for that fascinating list of suggestions – I have to shamefully admit not to have read Coxe at all, ever, which is very bad so I shall try very hard to remedy that in the near future. I’m afraid that Spillaine really is not my cup of tea at all – I really hated “I, The Jury” and “Kiss Me Deadly” and may have read one of the Tiger Mann books as a teen but threw in the towel at that point. But I will look at all of the others again as these are all excellent selections – thanks again.

      Sergio

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  19. puzzledoctor says:

    I wonder how close Till Death Do Us Part and She Died A Lady came to ousting The Hollow Man and The Judas Window. Certainly I prefer the first one due to the fact it showed what Carr was capable of with a “normal” set up, without any obvious theatrics. Excellent choice on the Poirot book, though, much better than the accepted classics (Ackroyd – fine, but is a cheat, and Orient Express – found it rather dull).

    Excellent list that I’m sure I’ll revisit when I need to read something.

    • Thanks very much PuzzleDoctor, much appreciated – I must admit, the Carter Dickson was partly chosen because I had only just reviewed it and I wanted to link to my 5 star reviews where I could but I really liked the fact that the courtroom setting gave it yet another level of interest on top of being an impossible crime and a whodunit . The two you mention are just wonderful books too of course and definitely belong to any list of the top Carr titles.

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  23. Of course, I feel I must argue for something by Paul Doherty for the list… I’d recommend (of the books that I’ve read so far) the first Athelstan book, The Nightingale Gallery, as it’s got a real Golden Age feel to it – fairly clued and devious.

    • You probably know a lot more about Doherty than I do now (and it’s spreading all over the interweb – I hope you’re proud of yourself young man!) and much as I have enjoyed his books in the past there was never one that i automatically thought was a sheer classic; however I clearly need to get re-familiar with his stuff. I have not in fact read NIGHTINGALE so shall definitely give it a go when i get a copy (I doubt if my local Waterstones is as responsive as yours, but you never know …).

      • Good luck finding Nightingale – I think it’s almost certainly out of print, as is the other “great” book so far, The White Rose Murders.

        When I find a “classic” in-print one, I’ll let you know – but in the meantime, Murder’s Immortal Mask is pretty close.

  24. Suresh says:

    For a novice like me, most of these books seem like a roll call.
    As Frost said ” miles to go before I sleep”
    Cheers,
    Suresh

    • Hi Suresh, thanks for stopping by. I hope there is something here that qualifies as ‘lovely, dark and deep’. Are there particular types within the genre that you particularly like (or dislike)?

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  28. Tom Snyder says:

    FUNERAL IN BERLIN by Deighton is one of my top five favorite novels of all time, but I wouldn’t put Deighton, Le Carre, etc. on a mystery list but on a spy novel list (BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN is also very very good, as are MEXICO SET and FAITH). Also, what about MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS or THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES? Or Christie’s CURTAIN, her last Poirot book, which was great. Also like her CARDS ON THE TABLE, MURDER AT THE VICARAGE, 4:50 FROM PADDINGTON, AFTER THE FUNERAL. Having re-read Chandler recently, I’d have to give the nod to FAREWELL, MY LOVELY and THE LONG GOODBYE. I would also add another Ross McDonald like THE INSTANT ENEMY, one or two Robert Crais mysteries, and maybe one or both of the first two LINCOLN LAWYER novels by Connelly, with preference for the second.

    • Hello Tom, thanks very much for the comments. I usually consider spy novels to be parts of the mystery genre, though I absolutely take your point and will definitely post a top spy novel and spy movies list as it is perhaps my favourite genre of all. Thanks very much for the suggestions as my top 100 remains (and hopefully always will be) a work-in-progress though I tried very hard to restrict myself, if possible, to one book per author (or anyway, per pseudonym) to try and contain what is already along-looking list. I plan to post a review of a couple of Crais novels very soon so I may very well be ading his work to this list. I love Chandler, Hammett and Macdonald and could easily have filled a quarter of my top 100 just with their work! Thanks again for the suggestions, especially Crais.

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  30. rishi says:

    This list is eye opening and just makes me wonder how many books I have not read. have you read The Endless night by Christie? I thought it was pretty good and also the case of the crooked candle by erle stanley gardner.

    • Hi Rishi – thanks very much for the comments. Endless Night is probably my favourite of the late Christie titles and I do rate it pretty highly (along with the much weirder and less appreciated By the Pricking of my Thumbs). I do have that Perry Mason book and remember it vaguely, but it’s probably been 20 years since I read it so I can’t really pass comment on it – I’ll look out for it, thanks very much for the suggestion.

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  32. 2sidestory says:

    Wow what a great list, my favorite here is probably And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, that is the first story I think of when murder books are brought up, I absolutely love it! A few other mysteries I love are the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, and the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley.

    • Hello there, thanks very much for the suggestions – I have the first of the Flavia de Luce on my TBR pile so I’ll have to get back to you on that. Not read Ellen raskin either but shall kepp an eye out. Cheers.

  33. Zybahn says:

    A lot for to look into here, thanks. I’ve just read my first Berkeley novel, Trial and Error, which I thoroughly enjoyed (& reviewed for today’s FFBs), and seeing two that might be even better is exciting. I’ll seek those titles out soon.

    • Hi there, I hope you enjoy them – a couple of recent reviews online of some of the ‘Frances Iles’ books have been decidedly uncomplimentary so it will be interesting to see what you make of him – but The Poisoned Chocolate Case is wonderfully entertaining.

    • bardin1 says:

      Trial and error is in my opinion the best of the novels under the Berkeley nom de plume and very under-rated – the ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ for the written word. Mst of the Berkeleys are surprisingly dull but this is the reverse

      • Thanks Bardin, it is one of his best books I agree, though strictly speaking the Kind and Hearts and Coronots for the written word would be Roy Horniman’s 1907 novel called Israel Rank on which the film is based.

  34. Peter says:

    Nice to see someone else knows who the best crime-writing Cain was!
    =======================================
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  35. Does The number 1 spot meant that Count Fosco is the world’s greatest ever super villain as well then?! Seriously in need of some Simenon though surely??? The Man who Watched The Trains Go By… Sunday… Account Unsettled… maybe some Maigret?

    Great list

    • Thanks Steven – the magnificent Fosco certainly gets there by dint of chronology! A Simenon has to get in there and I you may well be right that it would make sense to go for a non-Simenon because I suspect that is what is slowing me down a bit. Having said that, reading a great Maigret right now so I may just contradict what I just said …

  36. john says:

    You must include at least one Edgar Wallace

  37. This list is fabulous but it would really be complete if it had Ed Cline’s novels listed. He has several series but I don’t know which is my favorite yet: Cyrus Skeen, Merritt Fury, or Chess Hanrahan

    See: http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Cline/e/B000APRFXU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    and

    http://www.perfectcrimebooks.com/ourauthors/edwardcline.html

    • Thanks for the info – shall look into these.

      • JOHN l says:

        John Lynch with my Mystery List:

        Best Mysteries

        1. Ten Days Wonder—————-Ellery Queen
        2. The Man With a Load of Mischief—-Martha Grimes
        3. Cruel and Unusual—————Patricia Cornwell
        4. He Who Whispers—————John Dickson Carr
        5. The Poet—————————Michael Connelly
        6. The Man Who Was Thursday——G. K. Chesterton
        7. The Moonstone——————-W.W. Collins
        8. The Reader is Warned ———Carter Dickson
        9. The Red Box———————-Rex Stout
        10. Mortal Stakes———————Robert B. Parker
        11. The Day of the Jackal—— Frederick Forsythe
        12. A Murder is Announced—– Agatha Christie
        13. Too Many Woman————- Rex Stout
        14. Booked to Die——————- John Dunning
        15. Strong Poison——————- Dorothy Sayers
        16. The Godwulf Manuscript—- Robert B. Parker
        17. Till Death Do Us Part——— John Dickson Carr
        18. Have His Carcase————– Dorothy Sayers
        19. Payment in Blood————– Elizabeth George
        20. The Body in the Library—– -Agatha Christie
        21. Nemesis————————— Agatha Christie
        22. And on the 8th Day————–Ellery Queen
        23. Origin of Evil———————-Ellery Queen
        24. The Sign of Four————-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
        25. Artists in Crime——————Ngaio Marsh
        26. The Red Scream—————–M. W. Walker
        27. The Matarese Circle————Robert Ludlum
        28. Falling Angel———————-William Hjortsgorg
        29. Peril at End House————–Agatha Christie
        30. The Horse You Rode in On—Martha Grimes
        31. All That Remains—————-Patricia Cornwell
        32. The Game of Thirty————-William Kotzwinkle
        33. The Peacock Feather Mystery——-Carter Dickson
        34. The Missing Bronte———————Robert Barnard
        35. Some Buried Caeser——————-Rex Stout
        36. 4:50 From Paddington—————–Agatha Christie
        37. Cat of Many Tails——————– —Ellery Queen
        38. Death of a Voodoo Doll—————-Margot Arnold
        39. Pocket Full of Rye———————–Agatha Christie
        40. Death in Five Boxes——————– Carter Dickson
        41. The Last Good Kiss———————James Crumley
        42. The Flanders Panel———————-Arturo Reverte
        43. Original Sin———————————P.D. James
        44. The Catacomb Conspiracy————Margot Arnold
        45. Unnatural Causes———————–P.D. James

        John Lynch

        • That’s a fantastic list John, thanks very much for putting it here – I have never read Margaret Arnold or SW Walker but looks like you’re a reader of taste so will definitely give them a go – thanks again.

  38. JOHN Lynch says:

    name should read John Lynch w/ my mystery list

  39. Jeff Cordell says:

    I have a fondness for the Travis McGee novels. I consider “The Dreadful Lemon Sky” to be the best of the lot. I also like a Canadian crime novelist called Carsten Stroud. “Sniper’s Moon” and “Lizard Skin” – noir meets the modern day western/medical thriller. Trust me you just have to read it – are two of his best novels.

  40. Jeff Cordell says:

    I reviewed both of those Stroud novels on goodreads. I go by Checkman there. It’s a good site to learn about novels and writers that you might not be familiar with. Of course you might already know about goodreads, but just in case.

    https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5117003-checkman

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  43. fredcasden says:

    Perhaps E.C. Bentley’s “Trent’s Last Case”

    • Historically I’d have to agree but must admit to not having been all that impressed the many moons ago that I tried it – may be due for a reconsideration int eh new year – thanks.

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