The Best Mystery Books - Top 100


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.”

Early Graves

Joseph Hansen 1987
Fire Lake

Jonathan Valin 1987
Ground Money

Rex Burns 1986
The Staked Goat

Jeremiah Healy 1986

Joseph Koenig 1986
A Criminal Comedy

Julian Symons 1986
The Marine Corpse

William G. Tapply 1986
Lifes Work

Jonathan Valin 1986
Very Old Money

Stanley Ellin 1985
The Dutch Blue Error

William G. Tapply 1985
New Hope For The Dead

Charles Willeford 1985
Death In The Old Country

Eric Wright 1985
The Suspect

L.R. Wright 1985
The Hunt for Red October

Tom Clancy novels 1984
The Dirty Duck

Martha Grimes Richard Jury novels 1984
The Ghostway

Tony Hillerman Jim Chee novel 1984
Emily Dickinson Is Dead

Jane Langton 1984
The Man In The Middle

Norman Lewis 1984
The Artful Egg

James McClure 1984

Colin Wilcox 1984
Smoke Detector

Eric Wright 1984

Peter Dickinson 1983
The Name Of The Rose

Umberto Eco 1983
The Glass Highway

Loren D. Estleman 1983
Fatal Obsession

Stephen Greenleaf 1983

Reginald Hill Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe novel 1983
La Brava

Elmore Leonard 1983

Ed McBain 1983

Nathan Aldyne 1982
Bad Company

Liza Cody 1982
The Man Who Likes Slow Tomatoes

K. C. Constantine 1982
Ritual Murder

S.T. Haymon 1982
Trotskys Run

Richard Hoyt 1982
The False Inspector Dew

Peter Lovesey 1982
Indemnity Only

Sara Paretsky Warshawski novel 1982
The Butchers Boy

Thomas Perry 1982
Death In A Tenured Position

Amanda Cross 1981
The Amateur

Robert Littell 1981

Patrick McGinley 1981
The Outside Man

Richard North Patterson novels 1981
Deep And Crisp And Even

Peter Turnbull 1981
The Mind Murders

Janwillem Van de Wetering 1981
The Rembrandt Panel

Oliver Banks 1980
One Foot In The Grave

Peter Dickinson 1980
The Big Clock, Harcourt

Kenneth Fearing novel 1980
Castles Burning

Arthur Lyons 1980
Looking for Rachel Wallace

Robert B. Parker Spenser novels 1980
The Eurokillers

Julian Rathbone 1980
Death of a Literary Widow APA Posthumous Papers

Robert Barnard novel 1979
Angle Of Attack

Rex Burns 1979

Robert L. Fish 1979
Death Drop

B.M. Gill 1979
The Debriefing

Robert Littell 1979
Killed In The Ratings

William L. DeAndrea 1978

Len Deighton 1978
Eye of the Needle

Ken Follett novels 1978
Fletchs Fortune

Gregory McDonald 1978
Death In The Morning

Sheila Radley 1978
The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn

Colin Dexter novel 1977
The Judas Pair

Jonathan Gash 1977
Exit Sherlock Holmes

Robert Lee Hall 1977

William McIlvanney 1977
Thin Air

William Marshall 1977
Death Cap

June Thomson 1977
Murder At The Aba

Isaac Asimov 1976
The Enemy

Desmond Bagley 1976
The Sins Of The Fathers

Lawrence Block 1976
Saving The Queen

William F. Buckley 1976

Elmore Leonard 1976
Night Cover

Michael Lewin 1976
A Demon in My View

Ruth Rendell novels 1976
The Family Arsenal

Paul Theroux 1976

John Van der Zee 1976
Godeys Last Stand

Charles Alverson 1975
Affair Of The Bloodstained Egg Cosy

James Anderson 1975
The Wind Chill Factor

Thomas Gifford 1975
The Scorpions Tail

William Haggard 1975
The Mandarin Cypher

Adam Hall 1975
The Search For Joseph Tully

William Hallahan 1975
Mortal Stakes

Robert B. Parker Spenser novels 1975
Death of an Old Goat

Robert Barnard novel 1974
The Big Kissoff Of 1944

Andrew Bergman 1974
The Blank Page

K. C. Constantine 1974
Marathon Man

William Goldman 1974
The River Gets Wider

R.L. Gordon 1974
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

John LeCarre novel 1974
The Seven Percent Solution

Nicholas Meyer 1974
God Save the Child

Robert B. Parker Spenser novels 1974
Other Paths to Glory

Anthony Price David Audley,a historian and spy in England novel 1974
The Big Fix

Roger Simon 1974
Hazell Plays Solomon

P.B. Yuill 1974
A Choice Of Enemies

Ted Allbeury 1973
Wild Pitch

A.B. Guthrie 1973
The Tango Briefing

Adam Hall 1973
Through The Dark And Hairy Wood

Shaun Herron 1973
Ruling Passion

Reginald Hill Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe novel 1973
The Defection Of Aj Lewinter

Robert Littell 1973
Hail To The Chief

Ed McBain 1973
The Miernik Dossier

Charles McCarry 1973
Dreamland Lake

Richard Peck 1973
Sacrificial Pawn

Francis Ryck 1973
The First Deadly Sin

Lawrence Sanders 1973
Apres De Ma Blonde

Nicholas Freeling 1972
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle

George V. Higgins 1972
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Faber and Faber

P. D. James novel 1972
The Eiger Sanction

Trevanian 1972
Finding Maubee

A.H.Z. Carr 1971
The Trial Of Lobo Icheka

David Creed 1971
The Day Of The Jackal

Frederick Forsyth 1971
Shroud for a Nightingale Faber and Faber

P. D. James novel 1971
The Steam Pig

James McClure 1971
The Stalker

Bill Pronzini 1971
Running Blind

Desmond Bagley 1970
Poetic Justice

Amanda Cross 1970
The Blessing Way

Tony Hillerman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn novel 1970
Wobble To Death

Peter Lovesey Sergeant Cribb novels 1970
The Hot Rock

Donald Westlake 1970
Death Of A Hittite

Sylvia Angus 1969

Dick Francis 1969
The Goodbye Look

Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1969
The Fire Engine That Disappeared

Sjowall & Wahloo 1969
The Brass Go-Between

Ross Thomas Philip St Ives, a professional go-between: novel 1969
The Glasssided Ants Nest

Peter Dickinson 1968
The Ascent Of D13

Andrew Garve 1968
Dance Of The Dwarfs

Geoffrey Household 1968
Gideons River

John Creasey (J. J. Marric) 1968
Repeat The Instructions

R. Vernon Beste 1967
All Men Are Lonely Now

Francis Clifford 1967
Murders Burning

S.H. Courtier 1967
Blood Sport

Dick Francis 1967
Murder Against The Grain

Emma Lathen 1967
The Third Policeman

Flann O'Brien 1967

Sjowall & Wahloo 1967
The Man Who Killed Himself

Julian Symons 1967
The Seersucker Whipsaw

Ross Thomas non-series books: 1967
In The Heat Of The Night

John Ball 1966
The Kremlin Letter

Noel Behn 1966
Tremor Of Intent

Anthony Burgess 1966
Death Shall Overcome

Emma Lathen 1966
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
Tree Frog

Martin Woodhouse 1966
High Citadel

Desmond Bagley 1965
The Third Side Of The Coin

Francis Clifford 1965
The Quiller Memorandum

Adam Hall 1965
Passport To Oblivion

James Leasor 1965
Midnight Plus One

Gavin Lyall 1965
The Far Side of the Dollar

Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1965
Out Of The Dark

Ursula Curtiss 1964
The Q Document

Robert Duncan 1964
The Liquidator

John Garner 1964
The Ravengers

Donald Hamilton 1964
Cotton Goes To Harlem

Chester Himes 1964
From Cuba With Love

E. Howard Hunt 1964
The Perfect Murder

H.R.F. Keating 1964
Friday The Rabbi Slept Late

Harry Kemmelman 1964
The Most Dangerous Game

Gavin Lyall 1964
The Quick Red Fox

John MacDonald 1964
From Russia, with Love

Ian Fleming James Bond novels 1963
Florentine Finish

Cornelius Hirschberg 1963
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

John LeCarre novel 1963
The Drowner

John MacDonald 1963
The Venetian Affair

Helen MacInnes 1963
Death And Circumstance

Hillary Waugh 1963
The Catfish Tangle

Charles Williams 1963
The Fifth Passenger

Edward Young 1963

Jorge Luis Borges 1962
The Rose Of Tibet

Lionel Davidson 1962
The Ipcress File

Len Deighton 1962
Dead Cert

Dick Francis 1962
Love In Amsterdam

Nicholas Freeling 1962
Cover Her Face Faber and Faber

P. D. James novel 1962
A Rush On The Ultimate

H.R.F. Keating 1961
The Spoilt Kill

Mary Kelly 1961
Court Of Crows

Robert A. Knowlton 1961
The Ballad Of The Running Man

Shelley Smith 1961
The Chinese Bell Murders

Robert Van Gulik 1961
The Chinese Nail Murders

Robert Van Gulik 1961

E.V. Cunningham 1960
Night Of Wenceslas

Lionel Davidson 1960
Death Of A Citizen

Donald Hamilton 1960
The Pass Beyond Kashmir

Berkely Mather 1960
The Pyx

John Buell 1959
Venetian Blind

William Haggard 1959
Ossians Ride

Fred Hoyle 1959
The Galton Case

Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1959
Plot It Yourself

Rex Stout Nero Wolfe novel 1959
Or Be He Dead

James Byrom 1958
The Eighth Circle

Stanley Ellin 1958
The Galloway Case

Andrew Garve 1958
The Telemann Touch

William Haggard 1958
South By Java Head

Alistair MacLean 1958
The Running Man

Ben Benson 1957
Rebeccas Pride

Donald McNutt Douglass 1957
The Soft Talkers

Margaret Millar 1957
The Lenient Beast

Fredric Brown novel 1956
The Day Of The Ram

William Campbell Gault 1956
The Wreck Of The Mary Deare

Hammond Innes 1956
Gideons Week

John Creasey (J. J. Marric) 1956
The Pub Crawler

Maurice Proctor 1956
Wilders Walk Away

Herbert Brean 1955
The Sunlit Ambush

Mark Derby 1955
The Yellow Turban

Charlotte Jay 1955
The Beast In View

Margaret Millar 1955
The Day Of The Dead

Bart Spicer 1955
Beat Not The Bones

Charlotte Jay 1954
The Cuckooline Affair

Andrew Garve 1953
The Night Of The Hunter

Davis Grubb 1953
Dead Low Tide

John MacDonald 1953
The Tiger in the Smoke

Margery Allingham novels 1952
Death In The Fifth Position

Edgar Box 1952
Death in Captivity

Michael Gilbert novels 1952
The Killer Insude Me

Jim Thompson 1952
Last Seen Wearing

Hillary Waugh 1952
Death Has Deep Roots

Michael Gilbert novels 1951
AN ENGLISH MURDER (The Christmas murder)

Cyril Hare novel 1951
A Rough Shoot

Geoffrey Household 1951
The Daughter Of Time

Josephine Tey novels 1951
The New Shoe (Also published as: The Clue of the New Shoe)

Arthur W. Upfield :novel 1951
The Long Escape

David Dodge 1950
The 31st Of November

Julian Symons 1950
The Bachelors of Broken Hill

Arthur W. Upfield :novel 1950
The Department Of Dead Ends

Roy Vickers 1949
And Be a Villain

Rex Stout Nero Wolfe novel 1948
Minute For Murder

Nicholas Blake 1947
The Fabulous Clipjoint

Fredric Brown novel 1947
One More Unfortunate

Edgar Lustgarten 1947
The Moving Toyshop

Edmund Crispin novel 1946
Death of a Train

Freeman Wills Crofts novel 1946
The Horizontal Man

Helen Eustis 1946
Ride The Pink Horse

Dorothy Hughes 1946
The Man Who Watched The Trains Go By

Georges Simenon 1946
The Red Right Hand

Joel Townley Rogers 1945
The Case of the Crooked Candle

Erle Stanley Gardner novel 1944
The Lady In The Lake

Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1943
The Ministry Of Fear

Graham Greene 1943
Payment Deferred

C.S. Forester 1942
Calamity Town

Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novel 1942
Mountain Meadow

John Buchan 1941
The Case of the Constant Suicides

John Dickson Carr Dr. Gideon Fell' novel 1941
A Toast To Tomorrow

Manning Coles 1941
I Wake Up Screaming

Steve Fisher 1941
A Taste For Honey

H.F.A. Heard 1941
Above Suspicion

Helen MacInnes 1941
The Abominable Snowman

Nicholas Blake 1940
Farewell, My Lovely

Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1940
The Patriotic Murders

Agatha Christie 1940
Drink To Yesterday

Manning Coles 1940
Verdict Of Twelve

Raymond Postgate 1940
The Bride Wore Black

Cornell Woolrich novel 1940
A Coffin For Demetrious

Eric Ambler 1939
The Big Sleep

Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1939
The Little Niggers

Agatha Christie 1939
Rogue Male

Geoffrey Household 1939
Brighton Rock

Graham Greene 1938
A Blunt Instrument

Georgette Heyer 1938
Murder On Safari

Elspeth Huxley 1938
The Listening House

Mabel Seely 1938
Too Many Cooks

Rex Stout Nero Wolfe novel 1938
Dancers in Mourning apa Who Killed Chloe

Margery Allingham novels 1937
Background To Danger

Eric Ambler 1937
Trial And Error

Andrew Berkeley 1937
The Case Of The Seven Of Calvary

Anthony Boucher 1937
The Case of the Dangerous Dowager

Erle Stanley Gardner novel 1937
Double Indemnity

James M. Cain 1936
A Shilling For Candles

Josephine Tey novels 1936
The Three Coffins (UK Title: The Hollow Man)

John Dickson Carr Dr. Gideon Fell' novel 1935
The Case of the Caretaker's Cat

Erle Stanley Gardner novel 1935
Enter A Murderer

Ngaio Marsh 1935
Gaudy Night

Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel 1935
The Nine Tailors

Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel 1934
An Oxford Tragedy

J.C. Masterman 1933
Stamboul Train

Graham Greene 1932
Before The Fact

Francis Iles 1932
The Tragedy Of X

Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novels witten under the name barnaby ross 1932
The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett novel 1930
Strong Poison

Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novel 1930
The Crime at Black Dudley apa The Black Dudley Murder

Margery Allingham novels 1929
Red Harvest

Dashiell Hammett novel 1929
The Roman Hat Mystery

Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novel 1929
The Bellamy Trial

Frances Noyes Hart 1927
Ashenden The British Agent

W. Somerset Maugham 1927
The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd

Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Novel 1926
Inspector French and the Cheyne Mystery aka The Cheyne Mystery

Freeman Wills Crofts novel 1926
The Benson Murder Case

S. S. Van Dine Philo Vance novel 1926
John Macnab

John Buchan 1925
The Red House Mystery

A.A. Milne 1922
The Bat with Avery Hopwood

Mary Roberts Rinehart 1920
The Great Impersonation

E. Phillips Oppenheim novels 1920
The Thirtynine Steps

John Buchan 1915
Trent's Last Case

E. C. Bentley novel 1913
The Innocence Of Father Brown

G. K. Chesterton collections 1911
The Four Just Men

Edgar Wallace 1911
The Riddle Of The Sands

Erskine Childers 1903
Green For Danger

Christianna Brand 0
Mongoose R

John F. Buckley 0
The Postman Always Rings Twice

James M. Cain 0
Thus Was Adonis Murdered

Sarah Caudwell 0
Wisteria Cottage 1948

Robert M. Coates 0
The Last Good Kiss

James Crumley 0
Hamlet Revenge 1937

Michael Innes 0
The List Of Adrian Messenger

Philip MacDonald 0
The Satan Bug As Ian Stuart 1962

Alistair MacLean 0
One Corpse Too Many

Ellis Peters 0
Journey into Fear

Eric Ambler novel