Saturday, February 08, 2014

50 Essential Mystery Novels

Flavorwire has a list of 50 Essential Mystery Novels That Everyone Should Read:
Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler
Arthur & George, Julian Barnes
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, P.D. James
The Complete Auguste Dupin Stories, Edgar Allan Poe
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
The Alienist, Caleb Carr
The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon
When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro (on my tbr stack)
A Rage in Harlem, Chester Himes
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
Dust and Shadow, Lyndsay Faye
The New York Trilogy, Paul Auster
Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, John le Carré
Fadeout, Joseph Hansen
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart
True Confessions, John Gregory Dunne
Beast in View, Margaret Millar
The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey
From Russia, With Love, Ian Fleming
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow
The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
Sneaky People, Thomas Berger
In The Woods, Tana French (in my tbr stack)
A Dark-Adapted Eye, Barbara Vine
Anatomy of a Murder, Robert Traver
The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett
I, The Jury, Mickey Spillane
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
Blanche on the Lam, Barbara Neely
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, Peter Høeg
The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad
The Third Man, Graham Greene
The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy
The Snowman, Jo Nesbø
Laura, Vera Caspary
LaBrava, Elmore Leonard
The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith
The Blue Hammer, Ross MacDonald

I've read 15 out of the 50. I'm not sure how I feel about this list. Some of these were made into movies long ago, and I've seen the movies. I'm not inclined to seek out the books they were based on at this point.

via Memphis Reads


  1. Fifteen is a whole lot better than one that was my total. I read the Woman in white by Collins mostly because it was combined with the Moonstone in the edition I came across.

    1. i went through a period during which i read award-winning mysteries and mysteries on lists like this of "best" or "essential" reading. i read baskerville hounds because my husband is a huge sherlock holmes fan. my copy of woman in white is in a volume with the moonstone, too. i enjoyed both of those.

  2. Thanks for the list. I've read... 2; that's sad. But now I've got this whole big fresh pile of TBRs!

    1. there are some good reads on this list. i hope you find some you like :)