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50 Mysteries to Read Before They Find the Body

The Green Dragon

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Edited: Jun 28, 2011, 12:42pm Top

1. Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (31 votes)
2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (26 votes)
3. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (25 votes)
4. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (23 votes)
5. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (21 votes)
6. Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (18 votes)
7. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (18 votes) WHOOPS! Oh well.
8. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (17 votes)
9. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (16 votes)
10. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (16 votes)
11. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (15 votes)
12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (15 votes)
13. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (15 votes)
14. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov (15 votes)
15. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (15 votes)
16. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe (15 votes)
17. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (15 votes)
18. The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (15 votes)
19. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (14 votes)
20. Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (14 votes)
21. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (14 votes)
22. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers (14 votes)
23. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton (13 votes)
24. A Rare Benedictine by Ellis Peters (13 votes)
25. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers (13 votes)
26. Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers (13 votes)
27. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (13 votes)
28. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (13 votes)
29. Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh (12 votes)
30. Odds Against by Dick Francis (12 votes)
31. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (12 votes)
32. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol (11 votes)
33. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (11 votes)
34. Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers (10 votes)
35. The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman (10 votes)
36. The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K Chesterton (10 votes)
37. The Leper of St. Giles by Ellis Peters (10 votes)
38. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (10 votes)
39. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (10 votes)
40. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz-Smith (9 votes)
41. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (9 votes)
42. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (9 votes)
43. The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler (9 votes)
44. A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (8 votes)
45. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (8 votes)
46. Still Life by Louise Penny (8 votes)
47. Surfeit of Lampreys by Ngaio Marsh (8 votes)
48. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun (8 votes)
49. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (8 votes)
50. The Virgin in the Ice by Ellis Peters (8 votes)

Edited: Jun 28, 2011, 12:13pm Top

And if you want more:

51. Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey (7 votes)
52. The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (7 votes)
53. The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (7 votes)
54. Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (6 votes) Whoops Number Two!
55. Dissolution by C. J. Sansom (6 votes)
56. Endless Night by Agatha Christie (6 votes)
57. Fer de Lance by Rex Stout (6 votes)
58. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (6 votes)
59. Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham (6 votes)
60. Rules of Prey by John Sandford (6 votes)
61. Street of the Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters (6 votes)
62. The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (6 votes)
63. The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (6 votes)
64. A Free Man of Color by Barbara Hambly (5 votes)
65. Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross (5 votes)
66. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (5 votes)
67. Flight of a Witch by Ellis Peters (5 votes)
68. Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews (5 votes)
69. The Bone is Pointed by Arthur Upfield (5 votes)
70. The Chinese Gold Murders by Robert Van Gulik (5 votes)
71. The Gyrth Chalice Mystery by Margery Allingham (5 votes)
72. The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne (5 votes)
73. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (5 votes)
74. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (5 votes)
75. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (5 votes)
76. We'll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews (5 votes)

After that there a some major ties so it's not really worth showing.

Jun 28, 2011, 11:59am Top

Roger Ackroyd is #6 and 7 up there.

Jun 28, 2011, 12:03pm Top

Yeah, just caught that. The mystery will be what the 50th book should be!


Jun 28, 2011, 12:10pm Top

52 & 54 are also the same.

Great list! That took a lot of time and I appreciate all the effort you put into this. Time for me to get reading some of the classics I've obviously missed out on.

Jun 28, 2011, 12:14pm Top

Okay, I know there is a way to change the subject line if you screw it up, but can't find how anywhere and I know I'm close to the time limit. ")($&$*)@*@"

Jun 28, 2011, 12:28pm Top

Thanks, Morphy. Good list, and inspiring for ones I've missed along the way.

Some fun surprises on there, like the Douglas Adams and Isaac Asimov entries.

Jun 28, 2011, 2:52pm Top

Muchly ta!

Jun 29, 2011, 7:41pm Top

I only have 8 to read in the first 50, but I'm glad you listed the second set, there are quite a few I haven't tried in there. :) You da best!

Jul 18, 2011, 8:19am Top

Awesome, List Maker Extraordinaire!

Jul 27, 2011, 6:22pm Top

I glad i finally found this thread. Thanks, Morphy.

Nov 30, 2012, 7:36am Top


Nov 30, 2012, 9:13am Top

oh! Un-Dormant-ing

as in bump, bump, bumppty

Dec 1, 2012, 1:45am Top

Thanks for the bump, I should read more of these!

Dec 1, 2012, 10:26pm Top

I have read a lot of those. I've never read Sayers, tho.

Dec 1, 2012, 11:25pm Top

Sayers is my all-time favorite mystery writer, littlegeek. Try her. :)

Dec 1, 2012, 11:44pm Top

ZOMG you must read Sayers. Start with Whose Body?.

Edited: Dec 2, 2012, 12:05am Top

I've read 18 from the first 50, not too bad...

...and I also recommend Sayers. My favorite remains The Nine Tailors, which doesn't need a prequel.

Dec 2, 2012, 1:27am Top

I've tried a few Sayers and decided she's not my thing. Prefer Agatha Christie, but my favourite on the list is The Beekeepers Apprentic. I'm surprised, I've read 17 in the first list. More than I thought.

Dec 2, 2012, 9:54am Top

I know I've read about half of them, and there are a bunch more that I think I read, but can't really remember - those are mainly by Christie, Conan Doyle, and Allingham.

Sayers is my favourite mystery writer, too. Her books were the very first that I entered on LibraryThing when I joined.
For a first Peter Wimsey book to read, I would suggest The Nine Tailors or Murder Must Advertise.

I don't read very many mysteries any more, but I do reread some of the Sayers books regularly.

Dec 2, 2012, 1:15pm Top

I'm sure Sayers could write some plots, but I cannot stand Wimsey himself. Tried to get through Whose Body? and just couldn't do it. He's so irritating I had to stop.

Dec 2, 2012, 3:46pm Top

#21 - That is why I wouldn't start with that book. I agree with SylviaC, The Nine Tailors (my favorite) and Murder Must Advertise are better as introductions to Wimsey. Even the Murder Must Advertise might be better read after you have a bit of an understanding of him and what makes him tick.

Of course I'm not saying that anything would necessarily change your mind about him, Bookmarque, but I can't think of any other characters from the classic detective fictions with as much depth to them as Wimsey. He hides it behind his "lord-about-town" exterior though. In fact, for the most part, you only see his depth through Bunter's devotion to him. *shrug* I love him, so I'm biased. :)

Edited: Dec 2, 2012, 4:22pm Top

Anyone recall the BBC productions of The Nine Tailors and Murder Must Advertise? It was watching those productions on public TV in the 1970's that put me on a search to find and read all the books in the Wimsey series.

EDITED to add: http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Peter-Wimsey-Complete-Collection/dp/B00009WNVN/ref=sr...


Dec 2, 2012, 4:27pm Top

I read The Nine Tailors ages ago and liked it well enough, but not so much as to read them all. Some characters just can't be borne. Another one is Ramses in the Amelia Peabody series. I gave them up when he was out of short pants. Ugh, what a little pill he his. If I see Murder Must Advertise somewhere for short money, I'll see if I can give it a go.

Dec 3, 2012, 3:37pm Top

Ramses is hideously annoying. The problem with starting with Murder Must Advertise is that Wimsey is not himself in that book!

Dec 3, 2012, 3:51pm Top

I agree about Ramses - but, then, his parents are extremely annoying, too. I guess it was inevitable.

Dec 3, 2012, 4:29pm Top

I got all the BBC Wimseys on DVD as a present last year. Great fun!

Dec 3, 2012, 10:36pm Top

I'm jealous, jnwelch!

Dec 4, 2012, 5:38pm Top

Hah! Come visit some time, fuzzi! :=)

Edited: Dec 5, 2012, 7:44pm Top

I just might do that, jnwelch ...my daughter and son-in-law live where you do...and I've yet to visit them at home!

Be careful what you wish for... ;)

Dec 14, 2012, 5:56pm Top

Sounds good to me! We'll have the DVDs ready, and a snack or three.

Jul 13, 2014, 10:26am Top


Feb 15, 8:40pm Top

Lo. Wanted to have this at the front.

Mar 26, 4:38am Top

Good move. I had not seen this before. (16 from the first list and 2 from the second).

I wonder if the survey would be worth redoing, given the amount of good crime fiction published in the intervening period?

Mar 26, 12:02pm Top

As mentioned with the fantasy list, the group doesn’t have the numbers like it used to to make a good survey.

Group: The Green Dragon

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