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Mystery Authors

The Best Mystery Books - Top 100

WINKS' PERSONAL FAVORITES IN DETECTIVE FICTION


In the Appendix to his Detective Fiction, A Collection of Critical Essays, Robin W. Winks includes "A Personal List of Favorites." He writes that “the following list of titles is provided … as a point of entry; authors are limited to no more than three titles. The editor regards all of the books as good, although for a variety of reasons. Not all have contributed to the history of the field and not all are written with equal grace, but each has substantial merit, whether for plot, well-realized setting, characterization, detection, or even trickery. For the most part, books from the early classic period (pre-1930) are omitted.”

1 Early Graves Joseph Hansen 1987
2 Fire Lake Jonathan Valin 1987
3 Ground Money Rex Burns 1986
4 The Staked Goat Jeremiah Healy 1986
5 Floater Joseph Koenig 1986
6 A Criminal Comedy Julian Symons 1986
7 The Marine Corpse William G. Tapply 1986
8 Lifes Work Jonathan Valin 1986
9 Very Old Money Stanley Ellin 1985
10 The Dutch Blue Error William G. Tapply 1985
11 New Hope For The Dead Charles Willeford 1985
12 Death In The Old Country Eric Wright 1985
13 The Suspect L.R. Wright 1985
14 The Hunt for Red October Tom Clancy novels 1984
15 The Dirty Duck Martha Grimes Richard Jury novels 1984
16 The Ghostway Tony Hillerman Jim Chee novel 1984
17 Emily Dickinson Is Dead Jane Langton 1984
18 The Man In The Middle Norman Lewis 1984
19 The Artful Egg James McClure 1984
20 Victims Colin Wilcox 1984
21 Smoke Detector Eric Wright 1984
22 Hindsight Peter Dickinson 1983
23 The Name Of The Rose Umberto Eco 1983
24 The Glass Highway Loren D. Estleman 1983
25 Fatal Obsession Stephen Greenleaf 1983
26 Deadheads Reginald Hill Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe novel 1983
27 La Brava Elmore Leonard 1983
28 Ice Ed McBain 1983
29 Cobalt Nathan Aldyne 1982
30 Bad Company Liza Cody 1982
31 The Man Who Likes Slow Tomatoes K. C. Constantine 1982
32 Ritual Murder S.T. Haymon 1982
33 Trotskys Run Richard Hoyt 1982
34 The False Inspector Dew Peter Lovesey 1982
35 Indemnity Only Sara Paretsky Warshawski novel 1982
36 The Butchers Boy Thomas Perry 1982
37 Death In A Tenured Position Amanda Cross 1981
38 The Amateur Robert Littell 1981
39 Bogmail Patrick McGinley 1981
40 The Outside Man Richard North Patterson novels 1981
41 Deep And Crisp And Even Peter Turnbull 1981
42 The Mind Murders Janwillem Van de Wetering 1981
43 The Rembrandt Panel Oliver Banks 1980
44 One Foot In The Grave Peter Dickinson 1980
45 The Big Clock, Harcourt Kenneth Fearing novel 1980
46 Castles Burning Arthur Lyons 1980
47 Looking for Rachel Wallace Robert B. Parker Spenser novels 1980
48 The Eurokillers Julian Rathbone 1980
49 Death of a Literary Widow APA Posthumous Papers Robert Barnard novel 1979
50 Angle Of Attack Rex Burns 1979
51 Pursuit Robert L. Fish 1979
52 Death Drop B.M. Gill 1979
53 The Debriefing Robert Littell 1979
54 Killed In The Ratings William L. DeAndrea 1978
55 Ssgb Len Deighton 1978
56 Eye of the Needle Ken Follett novels 1978
57 Fletchs Fortune Gregory McDonald 1978
58 Death In The Morning Sheila Radley 1978
59 The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn Colin Dexter novel 1977
60 The Judas Pair Jonathan Gash 1977
61 Exit Sherlock Holmes Robert Lee Hall 1977
62 Laidlaw William McIlvanney 1977
63 Thin Air William Marshall 1977
64 Death Cap June Thomson 1977
65 Murder At The Aba Isaac Asimov 1976
66 The Enemy Desmond Bagley 1976
67 The Sins Of The Fathers Lawrence Block 1976
68 Saving The Queen William F. Buckley 1976
69 Swag Elmore Leonard 1976
70 Night Cover Michael Lewin 1976
71 A Demon in My View Ruth Rendell novels 1976
72 The Family Arsenal Paul Theroux 1976
73 Stateline John Van der Zee 1976
74 Godeys Last Stand Charles Alverson 1975
75 Affair Of The Bloodstained Egg Cosy James Anderson 1975
76 The Wind Chill Factor Thomas Gifford 1975
77 The Scorpions Tail William Haggard 1975
78 The Mandarin Cypher Adam Hall 1975
79 The Search For Joseph Tully William Hallahan 1975
80 Mortal Stakes Robert B. Parker Spenser novels 1975
81 Death of an Old Goat Robert Barnard novel 1974
82 The Big Kissoff Of 1944 Andrew Bergman 1974
83 The Blank Page K. C. Constantine 1974
84 Marathon Man William Goldman 1974
85 The River Gets Wider R.L. Gordon 1974
86 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy John LeCarre novel 1974
87 The Seven Percent Solution Nicholas Meyer 1974
88 God Save the Child Robert B. Parker Spenser novels 1974
89 Other Paths to Glory Anthony Price David Audley,a historian and spy in England novel 1974
90 The Big Fix Roger Simon 1974
91 Hazell Plays Solomon P.B. Yuill 1974
92 A Choice Of Enemies Ted Allbeury 1973
93 Wild Pitch A.B. Guthrie 1973
94 The Tango Briefing Adam Hall 1973
95 Through The Dark And Hairy Wood Shaun Herron 1973
96 Ruling Passion Reginald Hill Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe novel 1973
97 The Defection Of Aj Lewinter Robert Littell 1973
98 Hail To The Chief Ed McBain 1973
99 The Miernik Dossier Charles McCarry 1973
100 Dreamland Lake Richard Peck 1973
101 Sacrificial Pawn Francis Ryck 1973
102 The First Deadly Sin Lawrence Sanders 1973
103 Apres De Ma Blonde Nicholas Freeling 1972
104 The Friends Of Eddie Coyle George V. Higgins 1972
105 An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Faber and Faber P. D. James novel 1972
106 The Eiger Sanction Trevanian 1972
107 Finding Maubee A.H.Z. Carr 1971
108 The Trial Of Lobo Icheka David Creed 1971
109 The Day Of The Jackal Frederick Forsyth 1971
110 Shroud for a Nightingale Faber and Faber P. D. James novel 1971
111 The Steam Pig James McClure 1971
112 The Stalker Bill Pronzini 1971
113 Running Blind Desmond Bagley 1970
114 Poetic Justice Amanda Cross 1970
115 The Blessing Way Tony Hillerman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn novel 1970
116 Wobble To Death Peter Lovesey Sergeant Cribb novels 1970
117 The Hot Rock Donald Westlake 1970
118 Death Of A Hittite Sylvia Angus 1969
119 Forfeit Dick Francis 1969
120 The Goodbye Look Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1969
121 The Fire Engine That Disappeared Sjowall & Wahloo 1969
122 The Brass Go-Between Ross Thomas Philip St Ives, a professional go-between: novel 1969
123 The Glasssided Ants Nest Peter Dickinson 1968
124 The Ascent Of D13 Andrew Garve 1968
125 Dance Of The Dwarfs Geoffrey Household 1968
126 Gideons River John Creasey (J. J. Marric) 1968
127 Repeat The Instructions R. Vernon Beste 1967
128 All Men Are Lonely Now Francis Clifford 1967
129 Murders Burning S.H. Courtier 1967
130 Blood Sport Dick Francis 1967
131 Murder Against The Grain Emma Lathen 1967
132 The Third Policeman Flann O'Brien 1967
133 Roseanna Sjowall & Wahloo 1967
134 The Man Who Killed Himself Julian Symons 1967
135 The Seersucker Whipsaw Ross Thomas non-series books: 1967
136 In The Heat Of The Night John Ball 1966
137 The Kremlin Letter Noel Behn 1966
138 Tremor Of Intent Anthony Burgess 1966
139 Death Shall Overcome Emma Lathen 1966
140 The Cold War Swap - Spy in the Vodka Ross Thomas Mac McCorkle, a saloon owner and Mike Padillo, a spy in Bonn, Germany novel 1966
141 Tree Frog Martin Woodhouse 1966
142 High Citadel Desmond Bagley 1965
143 The Third Side Of The Coin Francis Clifford 1965
144 The Quiller Memorandum Adam Hall 1965
145 Passport To Oblivion James Leasor 1965
146 Midnight Plus One Gavin Lyall 1965
147 The Far Side of the Dollar Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1965
148 Out Of The Dark Ursula Curtiss 1964
149 The Q Document Robert Duncan 1964
150 The Liquidator John Garner 1964
151 The Ravengers Donald Hamilton 1964
152 Cotton Goes To Harlem Chester Himes 1964
153 From Cuba With Love E. Howard Hunt 1964
154 The Perfect Murder H.R.F. Keating 1964
155 Friday The Rabbi Slept Late Harry Kemmelman 1964
156 The Most Dangerous Game Gavin Lyall 1964
157 The Quick Red Fox John MacDonald 1964
158 From Russia, with Love Ian Fleming James Bond novels 1963
159 Florentine Finish Cornelius Hirschberg 1963
160 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold John LeCarre novel 1963
161 The Drowner John MacDonald 1963
162 The Venetian Affair Helen MacInnes 1963
163 Death And Circumstance Hillary Waugh 1963
164 The Catfish Tangle Charles Williams 1963
165 The Fifth Passenger Edward Young 1963
166 Ficciones Jorge Luis Borges 1962
167 The Rose Of Tibet Lionel Davidson 1962
168 The Ipcress File Len Deighton 1962
169 Dead Cert Dick Francis 1962
170 Love In Amsterdam Nicholas Freeling 1962
171 Cover Her Face Faber and Faber P. D. James novel 1962
172 A Rush On The Ultimate H.R.F. Keating 1961
173 The Spoilt Kill Mary Kelly 1961
174 Court Of Crows Robert A. Knowlton 1961
175 The Ballad Of The Running Man Shelley Smith 1961
176 The Chinese Bell Murders Robert Van Gulik 1961
177 The Chinese Nail Murders Robert Van Gulik 1961
178 Sylvia E.V. Cunningham 1960
179 Night Of Wenceslas Lionel Davidson 1960
180 Death Of A Citizen Donald Hamilton 1960
181 The Pass Beyond Kashmir Berkely Mather 1960
182 The Pyx John Buell 1959
183 Venetian Blind William Haggard 1959
184 Ossians Ride Fred Hoyle 1959
185 The Galton Case Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1959
186 Plot It Yourself Rex Stout Nero Wolfe novel 1959
187 Or Be He Dead James Byrom 1958
188 The Eighth Circle Stanley Ellin 1958
189 The Galloway Case Andrew Garve 1958
190 The Telemann Touch William Haggard 1958
191 South By Java Head Alistair MacLean 1958
192 The Running Man Ben Benson 1957
193 Rebeccas Pride Donald McNutt Douglass 1957
194 The Soft Talkers Margaret Millar 1957
195 The Lenient Beast Fredric Brown novel 1956
196 The Day Of The Ram William Campbell Gault 1956
197 The Wreck Of The Mary Deare Hammond Innes 1956
198 Gideons Week John Creasey (J. J. Marric) 1956
199 The Pub Crawler Maurice Proctor 1956
200 Wilders Walk Away Herbert Brean 1955
201 The Sunlit Ambush Mark Derby 1955
202 The Yellow Turban Charlotte Jay 1955
203 The Beast In View Margaret Millar 1955
204 The Day Of The Dead Bart Spicer 1955
205 Beat Not The Bones Charlotte Jay 1954
206 The Cuckooline Affair Andrew Garve 1953
207 The Night Of The Hunter Davis Grubb 1953
208 Dead Low Tide John MacDonald 1953
209 The Tiger in the Smoke Margery Allingham novels 1952
210 Death In The Fifth Position Edgar Box 1952
211 Death in Captivity Michael Gilbert novels 1952
212 The Killer Insude Me Jim Thompson 1952
213 Last Seen Wearing Hillary Waugh 1952
214 Death Has Deep Roots Michael Gilbert novels 1951
215 AN ENGLISH MURDER (The Christmas murder) Cyril Hare novel 1951
216 A Rough Shoot Geoffrey Household 1951
217 The Daughter Of Time Josephine Tey novels 1951
218 The New Shoe (Also published as: The Clue of the New Shoe) Arthur W. Upfield :novel 1951
219 The Long Escape David Dodge 1950
220 The 31st Of November Julian Symons 1950
221 The Bachelors of Broken Hill Arthur W. Upfield :novel 1950
222 The Department Of Dead Ends Roy Vickers 1949
223 And Be a Villain Rex Stout Nero Wolfe novel 1948
224 Minute For Murder Nicholas Blake 1947
225 The Fabulous Clipjoint Fredric Brown novel 1947
226 One More Unfortunate Edgar Lustgarten 1947
227 The Moving Toyshop Edmund Crispin novel 1946
228 Death of a Train Freeman Wills Crofts novel 1946
229 The Horizontal Man Helen Eustis 1946
230 Ride The Pink Horse Dorothy Hughes 1946
231 The Man Who Watched The Trains Go By Georges Simenon 1946
232 The Red Right Hand Joel Townley Rogers 1945
233 The Case of the Crooked Candle Erle Stanley Gardner novel 1944
234 The Lady In The Lake Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1943
235 The Ministry Of Fear Graham Greene 1943
236 Payment Deferred C.S. Forester 1942
237 Calamity Town Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novel 1942
238 Mountain Meadow John Buchan 1941
239 The Case of the Constant Suicides John Dickson Carr Dr. Gideon Fell' novel 1941
240 A Toast To Tomorrow Manning Coles 1941
241 I Wake Up Screaming Steve Fisher 1941
242 A Taste For Honey H.F.A. Heard 1941
243 Above Suspicion Helen MacInnes 1941
244 The Abominable Snowman Nicholas Blake 1940
245 Farewell, My Lovely Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1940
246 The Patriotic Murders Agatha Christie 1940
247 Drink To Yesterday Manning Coles 1940
248 Verdict Of Twelve Raymond Postgate 1940
249 The Bride Wore Black Cornell Woolrich novel 1940
250 A Coffin For Demetrious Eric Ambler 1939
251 The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1939
252 The Little Niggers Agatha Christie 1939
253 Rogue Male Geoffrey Household 1939
254 Brighton Rock Graham Greene 1938
255 A Blunt Instrument Georgette Heyer 1938
256 Murder On Safari Elspeth Huxley 1938
257 The Listening House Mabel Seely 1938
258 Too Many Cooks Rex Stout Nero Wolfe novel 1938
259 Dancers in Mourning apa Who Killed Chloe Margery Allingham novels 1937
260 Background To Danger Eric Ambler 1937
261 Trial And Error Andrew Berkeley 1937
262 The Case Of The Seven Of Calvary Anthony Boucher 1937
263 The Case of the Dangerous Dowager Erle Stanley Gardner novel 1937
264 Double Indemnity James M. Cain 1936
265 A Shilling For Candles Josephine Tey novels 1936
266 The Three Coffins (UK Title: The Hollow Man) John Dickson Carr Dr. Gideon Fell' novel 1935
267 The Case of the Caretaker's Cat Erle Stanley Gardner novel 1935
268 Enter A Murderer Ngaio Marsh 1935
269 Gaudy Night Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel 1935
270 The Nine Tailors Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel 1934
271 An Oxford Tragedy J.C. Masterman 1933
272 Stamboul Train Graham Greene 1932
273 Before The Fact Francis Iles 1932
274 The Tragedy Of X Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novels witten under the name barnaby ross 1932
275 The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett novel 1930
276 Strong Poison Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel 1930
277 The Crime at Black Dudley apa The Black Dudley Murder Margery Allingham novels 1929
278 Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett novel 1929
279 The Roman Hat Mystery Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novel 1929
280 The Bellamy Trial Frances Noyes Hart 1927
281 Ashenden The British Agent W. Somerset Maugham 1927
282 The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Novel 1926
283 Inspector French and the Cheyne Mystery aka The Cheyne Mystery Freeman Wills Crofts novel 1926
284 The Benson Murder Case S. S. Van Dine Philo Vance novel 1926
285 John Macnab John Buchan 1925
286 The Red House Mystery A.A. Milne 1922
287 The Bat with Avery Hopwood Mary Roberts Rinehart 1920
288 The Great Impersonation E. Phillips Oppenheim novels 1920
289 The Thirtynine Steps John Buchan 1915
290 Trent's Last Case E. C. Bentley novel 1913
291 The Innocence Of Father Brown G. K. Chesterton collections 1911
292 The Four Just Men Edgar Wallace 1911
293 The Riddle Of The Sands Erskine Childers 1903
294 Green For Danger Christianna Brand 0
295 Mongoose R John F. Buckley 0
296 The Postman Always Rings Twice James M. Cain 0
297 Thus Was Adonis Murdered Sarah Caudwell 0
298 Wisteria Cottage 1948 Robert M. Coates 0
299 The Last Good Kiss James Crumley 0
300 Hamlet Revenge 1937 Michael Innes 0
301 The List Of Adrian Messenger Philip MacDonald 0
302 The Satan Bug As Ian Stuart 1962 Alistair MacLean 0
303 One Corpse Too Many Ellis Peters 0
304 Journey into Fear Eric Ambler novel