Mystery Books

Mystery Movies

Mystery Authors

The Best Mystery Books - Top 100


In 1941, Howard Haycraft compiled a list of detective stories for a book entitled Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story. The list was prepared for “unpretentious detective story fans who may care to assemble for their own pleasure ‘cornerstone’ libraries of the best and most influential writing in the medium.” Ellery Queen (the writing team of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee) revised the Haycraft list several times expanding it to include a broader range of crime and mystery fiction. The list below is the final revision and includes books from 1748 to 1952. Any entry followed by an * indicates it was added by Ellery Queen.

The Little Tales Of Smethers

Lord Dunsany 1952
A Gentle Murderer

Dorothy Salisbury Davis 1951

Charlotte Armstrong 1950
The Simple Art Of Murder

Raymond Chandler 1950
The People Against Ohara

Eleazar Lipsky 1950
Through A Glass Darkly

Helen McCloy 1950
The Motive

Evelyn Piper 1950
Blues For The Prince

Bart Spicer 1950
Nightmare In Manhattan

Thomas Walsh 1950
The Department Of Dead Ends

Roy Vickers 1949
The Moving Target

Ross Macdonald Lew Archer novels 1949
Love Lies Bleeding

Edmund Crispin novel 1948
Dreadful Summit

Stanley Ellin 1948
The Franchise Affair

Josephine Tey novels 1948
Intruder In The Dust

William Faulkner 1948
A Case To Answer

Edgar Lustgarten 1947
The Moving Toyshop

Edmund Crispin novel 1946
The Horizontal Man

Helen Eustis 1946
The Unsuspected

Charlotte Armstrong 1946
Dr Sam Johnson Detector

Lilian De la Torre 1946
The Curse of the Bronze Lamp (UK Title: Lord of the Sorcerers)

John Dickson Carr Sir Henry Merrivale novel as carter dickson 1946
Blood Upon The Snow

Hilda Lawrence 1944
The Adventures Of Sam Spade

Dashiell Hammett 1944
Payment Deferred

C.S. Forester 1942
Rocket To The Morgue

Anthony Boucher 1942
The Just And The Unjust

James Gould Cozzens 1942

Vera Gaspary 1942
Calamity Town

Ellery Queen Ellery Queen novel 1942
A Taste For Honey

H.F.A. Heard 1941
Farewell, My Lovely

Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1940
Drink To Yesterday

Manning Coles 1940
Pray Silence

Manning Coles 1940
The So Blue Marble

Dorothy Hughes 1940
The Norths Meet Murder

Richard & Francis Lockridge 1940
Verdict Of Twelve

Raymond Postgate 1940
The Patience Of Maigret

Georges Simenon 1940
The Bride Wore Black

Cornell Woolrich novel 1940
The Mask of Dimitrios

Eric Ambler novel 1939
The Big Sleep

Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe novel 1939
The Mysterious Mickey Finn

Eliot Paul 1939
The Beast Must Die

Nicholas Blake 1938
The Crooked Hinge

John Dickson Carr Dr. Gideon Fell' novel 1938
The Judas Window (Also published as: The Crossbow Murder)

John Dickson Carr Sir Henry Merrivale novel as carter dickson 1938

Michael Innes novel 1938
The Listening House

Mabel Seely 1938
Brighton Rock

Graham Greene 1938
The Nursemaid Who Disappeared

Philip MacDonald 1938
Death From A Top Hat

Clayton Rawson 1938
Trial and Error

Anthony Berkeley novels 1937
Overture To Death

Ngaio Marsh 1936