1001 Mystery Books To Read Before You Die

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1001 Mystery Books To Read Before You Die

Edited: Jul 29, 2017, 7:40pm

We are going to start this list by first asking everyone to list about 25 to 50 of their favorite mystery authors and the series (if applicable) that you have enjoyed. You should break your favorite authors into different sub-genres such as:

1. Thrillers have action, sudden events, and how the main character is going to make it through to the next chapter or scene.

thriller: the protagonist is in danger from the outset.

2. Suspense focus more on building psychological tension before the action occurs.

suspense: the main character may become aware of danger only gradually. In a mystery, the reader is exposed to the same information as the detective, but in a suspense story, the reader is aware of things unknown to the protagonist. The reader sees the bad guy plant the bomb, and then suffers the suspense of wondering when or if it will explode.

A "suspense novel or film" keeps you "on the edge of your seat", whereas a "thriller" makes you "jump off your seat".
Using Hitchcock's movies as examples of the two genres, Vertigo would be "suspense" while Psycho would be "thriller".

3. Mysteries have mystery, i.e., something you don't know until the end

mystery: the main character is occupied in tracking down the truth about an event, usually a murder. If the protagonist is in any danger, it is usually moderate, and becomes a problem only as the detective approaches the truth.

4. Cozy

5. Historical

More info:
Crime fiction is the blanket term used to describe books that deal with any aspect of crime – including those who commit and solve it. If a book deals with detectives, police officers, lawyers, and of course, criminals, as a general rule, it’s a crime fiction novel. Of course, you’ll find some crossover with mainstream fiction, but in the broad sense, books about criminal acts, motives, murder and the like are considered crime fiction novels. The genre has a full array of subgenres that continue to evolve, including hard boiled fiction, spy novels, police procedurals, and the newer ScandiCrime. Mysteries and thrillers are also subgenres of crime fiction.

A mystery novel is built around a secret and usually asks the question “Who?” Something has already happened – a jewel has been stolen, a person has been murdered – and both the reader and the hero know about it. The whole novel is dedicated to uncovering who is responsible for that event. In a mystery, the protagonist – usually a detective or amateur sleuth – must gather evidence, uncover clues, and suss out suspects to solve the puzzle. He may find himself in danger when he gets closer to the truth, but he’ll never be seriously injured since his survival is necessary to reveal the villain and solve the mystery. Mystery subgenres include the cozy mystery, which minimizes violence with a lighthearted tone, along with the whodunit, in which the reader gets enough clues solve the mystery before it’s revealed at the end of the books.

In a thriller, a reader usually asks the question “How?” and is propelled through the story by action. Both the reader and the hero of a thriller novel already know who’s responsible for the crime, and both are waiting to see how that criminal will be brought to justice. The protagonist in a thriller may be a bounty hunter or a lawyer – or they may be a normal person in a terrible situation. That character is in danger from the outset and runs the gauntlet of scary events before the book ends. The thriller gets its name because it’s loaded with thrills –violence, riots car chases, bomb scares, explosions, bank heists – and gets a reader’s heart pounding as they turn the pages, as in the Jack Davis series. Subgenres include psychological thrillers, in which the hero and criminal play a game of cat and mouse, and legal thrillers – like the Alex Stone and Lou Mason series – which revolves around lawyers bringing a criminal to justice.

We will be sure to add the authors that others have duplicated from your list but we should possibly vote or verify by others reading your favorites and vice-versa and then agree which ones should be included. We may one day reach 1001 different authors but for now we will start slowly and build.

If anyone has any other ideas about how to accomplish this feat, please share your ideas.

Suggestions from LibraryCin:
We could start smaller, and not necessarily to 1001. In my mind, we'd keep series to the first book in the series (representing the entire series, maybe?). But, that's because I don't like ROOing!

If we stuck to book 1 of the series, that's why maybe a smaller number than 1001. Maybe even just start with a list of 100 and add if that fills up quickly. Do we take every recommendation or vote? I like the voting idea, but that means some less well known might not make the list. Hmmmmm...

Edited: Jul 29, 2017, 7:11pm

Eadie's List of Favorite Mystery Authors

I will have to research some of these authors and narrow down the sub-genres better.

1. Peter May - Lewis Trilogy, Beijing and Enzo Files
2. Peter Robinson - Inspector Banks
3. Ian Rankin - Inspector Rebus
4. William Kent Krueger - Cork O'Connor
5. Louise Penny - Chief Inspector Armand Gamache
6. Julia Spencer Fleming - Reverend Clare Fergusson
7. Harlan Coben - Myron Bolitar, Mickey Bolitar
8. Susan Hill - Simon Serraillor
9. Ann Cleeves - Shetland Island, Vera Stanhope
10. Elly Griffiths - Ruth Galloway
11. Michael Connelly, Harry Bosch, Mickey Haller
12. David Baldacci - Sean King and Michele Maxwell, John Puller
13. Linda Castillo - Kate Burkholder
14. Alex Kava - Maggie O'Dell
15. Jo Nesbo - Harry Hole
16. Daniel Silva - Gabriel Allon
17. Greg Iles - Penn Cage, Mississippi
18. Simon Beckett - Dr. David Hunter
19. P.J. Tracey - Monkeewrench
20. J.T. Ellison - Samantha Owens, Taylor Jackson
21. Kate Ellis - Joe Plantagenet
22. James Oswald - Inspector McLean
23. Nicci French - Frieda Klein
24. Steve Hamilton - Nick Mason
25. Linwood Barclay - Promise Falls
26. Dana Stabenow - Kate Shugak

1. Karin Slaughter - Will Trent, Grant County
2. Chris Mooney - Darby McCormick
3. Chris Carter - Robert Hunter
4. Robert Bryndza - Detective Erika Foster
5. Stieg Larsson / David Lagercrantz - The Millennium Series
6. Val McDermid Lindsay Gordon, Karen Pirie, Kate Brannigan, Tony Hill / Carol Jordan

1. Alan Bradley - Flavia de Luce
2. Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs
3. Brad Parks - Carter Ross
4. Jane Haddam - Gregor Demarkian

1. Robert Goddard - Harry Barnett, The Wide World - James Maxted
2. Jeffrey Archer - The Clifton Chronicles
3. Kerry Greenwood - Phryne Fisher
4. Charles Todd - Ian Rutledge, Bess Crawford
5. Rebecca Cantrell - Hannah Vogel
6. Steve Berry - Cotton Malone
7. James Rollins - Sigma Force
8. Lindsey Davis - Marcus Didius Falco Mystery
9. Chris Kuzneski - Payne and Jones, Hunters
10. Clive Cussler - The Oregon Files
11. Elly Griffiths - DI Stephens & Max Mephisto

Jul 30, 2017, 12:11am

Wanted to add a comment to make it easier for me to remember to come back and make a list! :-) Thanks for the idea and starting the thread, Eadie!

Jul 30, 2017, 7:55am

>4 LibraryCin: You're welcome! and thanks for prompting me to do this!

Edited: Jul 30, 2017, 4:27pm

I'm starting here, but I may come back and add more later. Trying to not be influenced by other people's choices, as well, though! I'm thinking some of the categories might overlap with where others might place a book.

1. No Time for Goodbye / Linwood Barclay
2. The Woods / Harlan Coben
3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo / Stieg Larsson
4. Gone for Good / Harlan Coben
5. Hostage / Robert Crais
6. Intensity / Dean Koontz
7. The Da Vinci Code / Dan Brown

1. Rebecca / Daphne du Maurier
2. The Night Strangers / Chris Bohjalian

1. Gone Girl / Gillian Flynn
2. In the Woods / Tana French
3. Joyland / Stephen King
4. Fables. Volume 1: Legends in Exile / Bill Willingham
5. Still Missing / Chevy Stevens


1. The Forgotten Garden / Kate Morton
2. Frog Music / Emma Donoghue
3. The Way the Crow Flies / Ann-Marie MacDonald

Hmmmm, how about a nonfiction mystery? Or do we want to stick with fiction?
1. The Princes in the Tower / Alison Weir

G'ah! As I look again, I have some tagged "suspense" or "thriller" that maybe aren't mysteries. I assume I should take those out?
ETA: I double checked and I think they all have the tag of "mystery", even if I wasn't the one to put it there, so maybe they are ok.

Jul 30, 2017, 4:23pm

Eadie, are all of yours series!? Wow! (I guess that will likely be the case for many people here.)

I think only 2 of mine are series, but i just mentioned the first in the series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Fables).

Edited: Jul 30, 2017, 4:28pm

Oh, see, now, I've gone with specific books, not necessarily authors as a whole. Some could fit, but because most of mine are stand-alones, in some cases, I've only read the one book. Or maybe only the one book of theirs is a mystery.

Edited: Jul 30, 2017, 5:53pm

>8 LibraryCin: I have another idea. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (1841) and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins was the first English detective novel and was published in 1868. So, I'm going to list all of my favorite mystery authors from that time forward and list them by decades with an introduction to the author and what series or books they have published.

In 1878, with the publication of “The Leavenworth Case,” Anna Katherine Green became the first woman to write a detective novel. This novel introduced elements of detection later used to great effect by writers of the English country house murder school during the 1920s.

Between 1891 and 1893 24 Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes were published in the Strand, of which the first 12 were published in book form as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

1920s was the development of the juvenile mystery by Edward Stratemeyer. Stratemeyer originally developed and wrote the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries written under the Franklin W. Dixon and Carolyn Keene pseudonyms respectively (and were later written by his daughter, Harriet Adams, and other authors). The 1920s also gave rise to one of the most popular mystery authors of all time, Agatha Christie, whose works include Murder on the Orient Express (1934), Death on the Nile (1937), and the world's best-selling mystery And Then There Were None (1939).

The massive popularity of pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s increased interest in mystery fiction. Pulp magazines decreased in popularity in the 1950s with the rise of television so much that the numerous titles available then are reduced to two today: Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The detective fiction author Ellery Queen (pseudonym of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee) is also credited with continuing interest in mystery fiction.

Jul 30, 2017, 5:49pm

Mystery Authors of the Golden Age of Mystery Fiction

Mystery Author Index

The Golden Age of mystery novels is taken here to be the period between 1913 and the start of World War II. On this page, you will find information about the great and well known writers of this period. There are also lesser know writers of this period who deserved a reading, and you will find information about them at Lesser Lights of the Golden Age. Many of their novels are being released as e-books and should not be overlooked. Father Brown

G. K. Chesterton - (1874 - 1936) The creator of Father Brown. Chesterton was an artist, poet, journalist, critic, essayist, novelist, and short story writer. Chesterton was born in London, and wrote for various newspapers and magazine. Chesterton's other detective stories included The Club of Queer Trades and The Man Who Knew Too Much. Biographical information and a bibliography may be found at The American Chesterton Society. Many of Chesterton's works may be found online at Chesterton's Works on the Web.

E. C. Bentley - (1875 - 1956) Author of Trent's Last Case (1913) which is possibly the first modern detective novel. Bentley meant the book to be a parody of the exploits of detectives like Holmes. Instead, he introduced a more human detective who was capable of making mistakes. He also added genuine characterization and a little humor to the novel. Bentley was born in London and educated at St. Paul's School where he met G.K. Chesterton who became his closest friend. Bentley attended Oxford, and then studied law. He was admitted to the bar in London in 1902. Bentley changed his career from law to journalism, and was a journalist for 30 years. More information on Bentley may be found at The Golden Age of Detection.. The e-book version of Trent's Last Case is available at Project Gutenberg

Edgar Wallace - (1875 - 1932) Wallace was an incredibly prolific and popular writer of thrillers. He was the illegitimate son of two actors. He was adopted by George Freeman at the age of nine days. His formal education ended when he was 12 and he worked at odd jobs until he joined the West Kent Regiment at age 18. He was sent to South Africa with the army. He purchased his discharge and worked as a war correspondent there. He returned to England and published his first thriller Four Just Men in 1905. His output after this time was mind-boggling. He wrote at least 173 books and 17 plays. His books were popular and he made a lot of money and spent a lot of money and he died in debt. His writing was slapdash and formulaic, and his work is now mostly forgotten. For more information see the article Edgar Wallace, the Man Who Wrote Too Much? by Michael Mallory in Mystery Scene Magazine. A number of his books are available at Many Books. Many movies were based on his writings and a list of these is at the Internet Movie Database.rinehart

Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) - a prolific American writer of mystery stories. She is also credited with originating the "Had I But Known" form of mystery novels in which the heroine is always getting into dangerous situations. Ms. Rinehart was born in Pittsburgh, PA and attended nursing school. Her husband's investments in the stock market did poorly and she turned to writing to aid with the family finances. Her first mystery novel, The Man in Lower Ten was published in 1906. Her stories and novels were extremely successful and enabled her to live in luxury.
Mary Roberts Rinehart - a biography and links to works available online by The Literature Network.
Mary Roberts Rinehart - a commentary on her writings by the Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page.
ManyBooks.net - Several of her books are available as e-books.

H. C. Bailey (1878 - 1961), Creator of Reggie Fortune who was a popular sleuth in England in the period between WWI and WWII. Bailey was born in London, and educated at University College, Oxford. He worked for the London Daily Telegraph from 1901 to 1946 as a drama critic and war correspondent. Biographical information.

Elizabeth Daly (1878 - 1967) - Ms. Daly is the creator of Henry Gamage, a highly literate and sophisticated sleuth whose adventures are described in 16 novels. Ms. Daly was an American author who did not publish her first novel until she was 62. Biographical information.

Patricia Wentworth (1878-1961) - Ms. Wentworth is best known for her novels which feature spinster sleuth Maud Silver. Miss Silver is a retired governess, professional private detective, and is rarely seen without her knitting. Ms. Wentworth was born in Mussoorie, India, and was educated in London. She married George Oliver Turnbull in 1920, and lived in Surrey, England. Her first Miss Silver novel, Grey Mask was published in 1928. Biographical information.

Freeman Wills Crofts (1879 - 1957). Book cover: The CaskCrofts was born in Dublin, and spent his early years as a construction engineer for British Railways. During his recuperation from a severe illness, he wrote the novel The Cask in 1920. This book was such a success that he turned to writing mystery novels as a career. His series detective was Inspector French who is noted for his step-by-step use of police routine methods in the solution of crimes. More biographical information may be found at Freeman Wills Crofts

Sax Rohmer (1883- 1959) - the pseudonym of Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward, the creator of Chinese master criminal Dr. Fu Manchu. Rohmer was born in Birmingham, England. He read widely, but was not very interested in school. He also had a great deal of difficulty keeping a job which required regular hours, and so determined to become a writer. He was very interested in the Occult, and, as a newspaper reporter, spent a great deal of time in Limehouse, London's Chinatown where he conceived the idea for his criminal. The first Fu Manchu novel The Mystery of Fu Manchu was written in 1913. It was followed by 12 others, and several movies were based on Rohmer's books. More information may be found at The Page of Fu Manchu.

Earl Derr Biggers (1884 - 1933) Biggers created Charlie Chan, one of the most popular of detectives. Although there were only 6 novels, there were at least 30 films and a television series based upon them. Biggers was born in Warren, Ohio, and earned a BA from Harvard in 1907. He worked for a short time as theatre critic, and then turned to writing plays, novels, and short stories. The first Charlie Chan novel The House Without a Key was published in 1925. Biggers wrote 5 more Chan novels before he died of a heart attack in 1935.
The Charlie Chan Family Home - Biographical information and more information about the films.
Chan the Man - An article on Charlie Chan by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker, August 9, 2010.
Charlie Chan Movies - From IMDB

Vincent Starrett (1886 - 1974) Though Starrett was born in Toronto, Canada, he lived most of his life in the United States. He was a reporter for several Chicago newspapers, and wrote the Books Alive column for the Chicago Tribune for many years. He wrote many essays, biographical works, and critical studies of authors. He is best know for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes which was published in 1933. He wrote several detective novels and was a founder of the Baker Street Irregulars. He was named a Grand Master of Mystery by the Mystery Writers of America in 1958. For more information on Starrett, read Vincent Starrett - A Chicago Man of Letters.

Rex Stout (1886-1975). Stout was born in Noblesville, Indiana. As a child, Book Cover: Not Quite Dead Enoughhe was a prolific reader and won the state spelling championship at age 13. Stout worked at a variety of jobs before he began writing seriously. His first Nero Wolfe novel Fer-de-Lance was published in 1934, and Stout finished his last Wolfe book at the age of 89. He received the Grand Master of Mystery Award in 1959. Fans of Wolfe will find more information and a bibliography at The Thrilling Detective web site.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) - Chandler wrote in the tough guy tradition which was similar to the style of Dashiell Hammett. Chandler's first novel The Big Sleep appeared in 1939. It was followed by other novels such Farewell My Lovely and The Lady in the Lake, and short stories which were published in Black Mask. The Thrilling Detective web site has quite a bit of information. Movies and TV shows based on Chandler's books may be found at the Internet Movie Database.

Monsignor Ronald A. Knox (1888 - 1957) - Translator of the Bible, and writer of detective stories. Knox was educated at Balliol, and became an Anglican priest. In 1917, he converted to Roman Catholicism, became a priest, and prelate to the Pope. His translation of the New Testament was published in 1944, and his translation of the Old Testament was published in 1950. He wrote several detective novels such as The Viaduct Murders and The Footsteps at the Lock. He was one of the founding members of the Detection Club. More information may be found at the Ronald A. Knox Society web site.

Arthur Upfield (1888 - 1964). Born in Gosport, England. After he failed his advancement tests as a professional surveyor three times, his father shipped him off to Australia at the age of nineteen. He worked as a cowhand and a cook and when WWI started, he joined the army and fought at Gallipoli. His first successful novel The House of Cain was published in 1926. His series detective is Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, a half-cast Aborigine Australian who is a member of the Queensland Police Department. A biography of Upfield may be found at Australian Dictionary of Biography..

S. S. Van Dine (1888 - 1939). Pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright. Van Dine was born in Charlottesville, VA. He worked as a literary and art critic for newspapers and magazines. He suffered from poor health, had a severe breakdown in 1923 and was confined to bed for two years. During these years, he read detective stories and amassed a large collection. He then decided that he could write a better story than he was reading. His first Philo Vance book, The Benson Murder Case, was published in 1926. His books were exceptionally popular, and Van Dine became quite wealthy.
S. S. Van Dine - Article and bibliography from the Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection.
Philo Vance: S.S. Van Dine's Forgotten Sleuth - an article by Michael Mallory in Mystery Scene Magazine.
Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Fiction - by S.S. VanDine.
S. S. Van Dine - Movies from his novels. This list is from the Internet Movie Database.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976). Ms. Christie is one of the best known mystery writers in the world. Book Cover: The Secret of ChimneysShe was born in Devon, England, and educated at home. She was married to Colonel Archibald Christie just after the start of World War I. She worked in the dispensary of a hospital during the war which contributed to her knowledge of poisons. She wrote her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles during time off from work. The book was rejected by several publishers before being accepted. Ms. Christie received only $125 for the book, but the sale encouraged her to write more. She was divorced from Christie in 1928. In 1930 she met and married the archaeologist Max Mallowan. She was a prolific writer, and several of her books are classics of the mystery genre. In 1955, she received the Grand Master of Mystery Award from the Mystery Writers of America. She was the first recipient of this award.
Agatha Christie - Biographical information.
Agatha Christie - Web site of Agatha Christie, Ltd. A good site to keep up with current video productions of Agatha Christie novels. Also, of course, information about Agatha and her novels.
Hercule Poirot Central - Not limited just to Hercule, this site provides other Christie information.
The Agatha Christie Filmography - From the Internet Movie Database. This will keep you renting for quite a while.
The Chemistry of the Murder Mystery - In her first mystery novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Christie wrote of a murder committed with strychnine. In this article, Deborah Blum elaborates upon the use of this poison, and upon Christie's use of poisons in 30 of her novels.
Hercule Poirot's Real-Life Model may have been detected in Torquay - Was Poirot based on a refugee Belgium policeman? This is an article from The Guardian, May 13, 2014.

Anthony Berkeley Cox (1893 - 1970). Anthony Berkeley Cox was born in Hertfordshire, England. He served in the army in WW1 and he was educated for a career in law. He began his writing career writing sketches for Punch and then turned to mystery novels. Berkeley wrote under three names. As A. B. Cox he was a journalist. As Anthony Berkeley and Francis Iles, he was the author of classic mystery novels and critic of mystery novels. In 1925, he published The Layton Court Mystery which he had written for his own amusement and which introduced his detective Roger Sheringham. He was a founding member of the Detection Club. Some of his mysteries are available as ebooks on Amazon.
Extensive bibliography of his writings. Gaudy Night
An essay on Anthony Berkeley by Martin Edwards in Mystery Scene Magazine
There is an essay about Berkeley by Christopher Fowler at the Independent

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) - Sayers had learned Latin by the age of 7. She graduated from Somerville College, Oxford with top honors in medieval literature. Since she needed money to live on, she became a copywriter in an advertising agency. The first Lord Peter Wimsey novel appeared in 1923. She ceased writing detective novels in 1947 because she said that she had written these stories only to make money, and she would now do what she enjoyed. She spent the rest of her life translating Dante, and lecturing on religion and philosophy.
The Dorothy L. Sayers Society
Forensic Chemistry in Golden Age Detective Fiction: Dorothy L. Sayers and the CSI Effect - an article by Lee Sullivan Berry from the Chemical Heritage web site.
The Dorothy Sayers Filmography. From the Internet Movie Database.

Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961)Book Cover: Hammett Homicides Hammett was the first successful author of novels of the tough private detective. His book The Red Harvest was published in 1929. This was followed by The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and other novels and short stories. Hammett stopped writing novels in the mid-1930's. He was active in the Communist party, was a subject of the McCarthy investigations, and went to prison for a short time for failing to reveal what he knew about other party members.
The Continental Op - Biography and bibliography of Hammett from the Thrilling Detective web site.
Dashiell Hammett - the PBS American Masters production.
The Dashiell Hammett Filmography - From the Internet Move Database.

Ngaio Marsh (1895-1982) Ngaio Marsh was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and attended college there. She worked as a writer, actress, producer and director for amateur theatricals until 1928, when she went to England, where she founded an interior decorating shop. She wrote her first mystery in 1932. She divided her time between England and New Zealand working with various theatrical groups. Her series detective is police detective Roderick Alleyn who is quite urbane and sophisticated.
Ngaio Marsh - Biography from the Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand.
Biography and Bibliography - From Kotare 2007, Special issue on women prose writers.
Ngaio Marsh House - Christchurch, New Zealand

Josephine Bell (1897 - 1987) is the pseudonym for Doris Collier Ball. She was born in Manchester. She entered the Goldophin School in Salisbury where she met Dorothy L. Sayers. In 1916, Doris applied to study medicine in Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She did her clinical training at University College Hospital. Here she met Norman Dyer Ball and they were married in 1923. They had four children. In 1927, Norman and Doris went into general practice together in Greenwich. Norman died in an automobile accident in 1936. Doris moved to Guildford and started a general practice. She also published her first novel Murder in Hospital in 1937. She would continue to write one or two books a year for the next 50 years. She was a founding member of the Crime Writers Association. She retired from her medical practice in 1954. A bibliography of her books may be found at Fantastic FictionBook Cover: When Last I Died

Anthony Gilbert (1899-1973) Pseudonym of Lucy Beatrice Malleson. She was born in London. Her mother planned for her to become a school teacher, but it was Ms. Malleson's dream to become a novelist. Prolific author of mystery novels featuring lawyer-detective Arthur G. Crook. Her biography and bibliography may be found at the Golden Age of Detection web site.

Gladys Mitchell (1901 - 1983) - Ms. Mitchell was born in Cowley, England. She worked for 40 years as a teacher in elementary schools. After her retirement, she turned to writing and wrote a novel a year. She is best know as the author of the Dame Beatrice Lestrange Bradley mysteries. Ms. Bradley is a rather eccentric psychiatric consultant working for the British Home Office. Her biography may be found at The Stone House. Her books are being reissued by Rue Morgue Press.

Georgette Heyer (1902 - 1974) - This celebrated writer of Regency romances also wrote 12 novels of mystery fiction. Her series detectives were Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway. Her novels are English country house mysteries, and are well plotted, and witty comedies of manners. Heyer attended various day schools and did not attend university. She published her first romance novel at age 19. She married George Ronald Rugier in 1925. Her husband had a variety of jobs, and the family income was often dependent of Heyer's publications. Her first mystery Death in the Stocks was published in 1935. More information at the Georgette Heyer Fan Site.

Georges Simenon (1903-1989) Author of the Inspector Maigret novels. One of the most prolific mystery novelists (200 novels), Simenon was born in Liege, Belgium. Due to his father's early death, Simenon quit school at sixteen to earn a living. Simenon moved to Paris in 1923. The first Maigret novel, The Strange Case of Peter the Lett was published 1929. After producing 18 Maigret novels at the rate of one a month, Simenon grew tired of the character and turned to writing psychological novels, and other works. He returned to writing Maigret books in the 1940's. He lived in France during the war, then moved to the United States, and finally settled in Switzerland. As he grew older, his literary output slowed to only four novels a year. Maigret is popular all over the world and has been adapted for television and films.
Maigret - Extensive information about Simenon.
Georges Simenon Filmography - From the Internet Movie Database.
Penguin to Publish 75 Maigret novels - You will be able to read them all. This is an article from the Bookseller, Sept., 9, 2013.

Margery Allingham (1904-1968). Creator of the aristocratic detective, Albert Campion. Allingham was born in London and grew up in Essex. Her first mystery novel The Crime at Black Dudley was published in 1929. The first Campion novels were fast moving adventure novels, but later the characterization improved and the books contained more social commentary. Ms. Allingham ceased writing during WWII and devoted herself to war efforts. The Tiger in the Smoke published in 1952 is considered by some to be her best work. More information may be found at the Margery Allingham Society web site.End of Chapter cover

Nicholas Blake (1904 - 1972). Nicholas Blake is the pen name of Cecil Day Lewis, British poet who was the poet laureate of England from 1968 - 1972. Day Lewis was born in Ballintubber, Ireland. He received an MA from Wadham College of Oxford University. He taught at various schools from 1927 - 1935 but ran into trouble with school authorities over his leftist political views. He wrote his first detective novel A Question of Proof in 1935 because he needed money. His series detective is the erudite Nigel Strangeways. Blake wrote 20 detective novels. He was a member of the Communist party although his interest in Communism seemed to decline after the Spanish Civil War. He was a professor of poetry at Oxford from 1951 - 1956, and professor of Poetry at Harvard from 1964 - 65. He is the father of actor Daniel Day Lewis. More information and a bibliography may be found at Wikipedia.

Stuart Palmer (1905 -1968) Palmer was born in Baraboo, Wisconsin. He was educated at The Chicago Art Institute and the University of Wisconsin. He held a variety of jobs such as iceman, sailor, taxi driver, and ghost writer. In 1931, his novel The Penguin Pool Murder which featured spinster sleuth Hildegard Withers was published. In 1932, Palmer began his career as a scriptwriter for mystery films about Hildegard Withers, and the Falcon, the Lone Wolf, and Bulldog Drummond. Palmer served in the Army during World War II as a training-film instructor and as a liason officer for the Army and Hollywood's war effort. An essay on Stuart Palmer by Steven Saylor may be found at Saylor's web site.

Ellery Queen - Created by Frederic Dannay (1905 - 1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905 - 1971). Dannay and Lee were Brooklyn-born cousins. Dannay was born Daniel Nathan. He went to Boys High School in New York, and never attended College. Lee was born Manford Lepofsky, and he graduated from New York University. Their first collaborative novel The Roman Hat Mystery was written in 1928 and submitted to a contest for mystery novels sponsored by McClure's magazine. The contest rules required that the book be submitted with a pseudonym and Lee and Dannay chose Ellery Queen because it seemed memorable. McClure's went broke, another company took over the contest, and the Ellery Queen novel did not win the prize. The Frederick S. Stokes company did publish the book and started the remarkable career of Ellery Queen. In addition to the novels, they wrote for films in Hollywood, wrote the scripts for the Ellery Queen Radio series, and started Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941. They received the Grand Master of Mystery Award in 1961, The Ellery Queen web site has a wealth of information about Queen.

Michael Innes (J.I.M. Stewart) (1906 - 1994) Innes was born near Edinburgh, and was an Oxford graduate. He was a professor in Australia, Ireland, and then at Oxford. Under the name Stewart, he published books of literary history and biographies. His first mystery, Death at the President's Lodging, was published in 1936 and featured his series sleuth John Appleby.
Michael Innes - A bibliography of his books from Fantastic Fiction.
Michael Innes - Biography and bibliography from the Golden Age of Detection wiki.

John Dickson Carr (1906-1977). Book Cover: And so to MurderThe master of the locked room mystery. Carr was born in Uniontown, PA., attended the Hill School, and then Haverford College. He wrote his first detective novel, It Walks by Night in 1930. Carr decided that England was a much better place to write detective fiction than the US and moved there. Carr wrote a number of novels under his own name and also under the name of Carter Dickson. As Carr, he wrote a series featuring Dr. Gideon Fell, and another with Henri Bencolin; and under the Dickson name, his sleuth was Henry Merrivale. Carr also wrote the official biography of Arthur Conan Doyle with the assistance of Doyle's son, Adrian.
The John Dickson Carr Collector
John Dickson Carr Bibliography

Leslie Charteris (1907 - 1993) The author of the series about the suave, sophisticated Simon Templer, the Saint. Charteris was born in Singapore. His mother was English, his father Chinese. Charteris was mainly educated at home though he did have one year at Cambridge. He decided that the study of crime was more interesting than a regular job, and he published his first Saint novel, Meet the Tiger in 1929. The Saint is a kind of Robin Hood, and the novels, movies and television shows based on his exploits have been quite popular. His biography is available online.

Phobe Atwood Taylor (1909 - 1976). Ms. Taylor was born in Boston, MA. She graduated from Barnard College. Her mysteries featured sleuth Asey Mayo and take place in communities on Cape Cod. Mayo is a former sailor who works as a handyman-chauffeur. Ms. Taylor under the name Alice Tilton also wrote a series about Leonidas Witherall who is a New England prep school headmaster and amateur detective. Biographical information.Book Cover: The Case of the Seven Sneezes

Anthony Boucher (1911 - 1968) Pseudonym of William Anthony Parker White. Boucher was an American critic, detective and science fiction writer, editor and anthologist. For more biographical information, go to the Anthony Boucher page.
The Detection Club

In 1928 or 1930, a group of outstanding British mystery writers formed The Detection Club, and established the rules for writing mystery novels.

If you are interested in the The Detection Club, you must read the book The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edward which has been published by HarperCollins in 2015. It is a fascinating account of the formation of the club and of the lives of the members such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Anthony Berkeley and many more.

The Detection Club - A list of members, presidents, and publications of the Detection Club. This is from the Golden Age of Detection Wiki.
Father Knox's Ten Commandments - These were the rules established for writing mystery fiction and were drafted by Ronald A. Knox.
S.S. Van Dine's 20 Rules for Writing Detective Stories - Van Dine's rules were not adopted by the Detection Club, but it is interesting to compare them with the rules that were.
The Detection Club - List of publications and of the presidents.
The Women of the Detection Club in the 1930's - by Margaret Perry. These women were a remarkable group.
At the Detection Club with Agatha - H.F.R. Keating's memories of Detection Club events with Agatha Christie.

Edited: Jul 30, 2017, 11:13pm

Good idea to add iconic authors.

I do wonder, though, if we should pick individual books, as well? For a 1,001 (or however many we decide) "books" to read list!? :-)

I do agree, in addition to putting on our favourite books/authors/series/whatever on the list, the iconic ones should also be there!

Jul 31, 2017, 6:57am

>11 LibraryCin: After I get the authors from the different decades listed, we can narrow down the books we want to put on the list. I actually do want to read some of the iconic authors and I do own many of their books. I am currently reading Dashiell Hammett. I agree that listing just the first book of a series will be the best thing to do. This page can be our work area and then when we finalize the page, we can put the final list on a new page.

Edited: Jul 31, 2017, 9:07pm

>12 EadieB: Thanks! I just also don't want to forget about some of those authors that might have one (really good!) mystery book, but they aren't necessarily known for mystery writing!

I think I have a few of those on my list (Emma Donoghue, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Dean Koontz and Stephen King (known for their horror, not mystery), Chris Bohjalian...).

Jul 31, 2017, 9:06pm

And let me add that you are doing an amazing amount of work on this! I'm impressed!

Edited: Jul 31, 2017, 11:29pm

>13 LibraryCin: I'll be sure to check out the books on your list and include them. There are a lot of authors and books that can be classified as many genres. Thanks for pointing that out.

>14 LibraryCin: Thanks for your encouragement! I like projects like this. Hopefully, I can work on this and get my reading accomplished too.

Aug 1, 2017, 6:52am

Don't know if it helps or complicates (!) and they are not in the different sub-categories, but this is a list of the favourite standalones that the Mystery and Suspense Group pulled together a year ago.

1. The Accident by Linwood Barclay
2. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
3. A Tap on The Window by Linwood Barclay
4. Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay
5. Cemetery Girl by David Bell
6. The Forgotten Girl by David Bell
7. Never Come Back by David Bell
8. City of Thieves by David Benioff
9. Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry
10. The Amber Room by Steve Berry
11. The Third Secret by Steve Berry
12. Blood Harvest by S J Bolton
13. Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
14. The Final Reckoning by Sam Bourne
15. The Last Testament by Sam Bourne
16. The Paradise Prophecy by Robert Browne
17. Dead Ringer by Mary Burton
18. I’m Watching You by Mary Burton
19. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell
20. Dead Reckoning by Linda Castillo
21. The Shadow Side by Linda Castillo
22. The Blue by Lucy Clarke
23. The Sleeping and the Dead by Ann Cleeves
24. Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
25. Gone for Good by Harlan Coben
26. Tell No One by Harlan Coben
27. The Stranger by Harlan Coben
28. The Woods by Harlan Coben
29. The Lucifer Code by Michael Cordy
30. The Resurrection Maker by Glenn Cooper
31. A Maiden’s Grave by Jeffery Deaver
32. Damage Control by Robert Dugoni
33. No One Knows by J T Ellison
34. Anniversary Man by R J Ellory
35. Candlemoth by R J Ellory
36. Saints of New York by R J Ellory
37. Catch Me When I Fall by Nicci French
38. Killing Me Softly by Nicci French
39. Losing You by Nicci French
40. The Survivor’s Club by Lisa Gardner
41. Beyond Recall by Robert Goddard
42. In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
43. Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard
44. Sea Change by Robert Goddard
45. Sight Unseen by Robert Goddard
46. The Painted House by John Grisham
47. The Testament by John Grisham
48. Archangel by Robert Harris
49. The Fatherland by Robert Harris
50. The Ghost by Robert Harris
51. The Innocence Game by Michael Harvey
52. Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark
53. Night Time is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark
54. The Piper by Lynn Hightower
55. A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore
56. The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
57. The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman
58. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
59. Stay Alive by Simon Kernick
60. And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman
61. Collecting the Dead by Spenser Kope
62. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta
63. Knowing Max by James Long
64. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
65. I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
66. Pyramid by Tom Martin
67. Entry Island by Peter May
68. Savage Garden by Mark Mills
69. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
70. Night Film by Marisha Pessi
71. Before the Poison by Peter Robinson
72. Subterranean by James Rollins
73. Don’t Tell a Soul by David Rosenfelt
74. On Borrowed Time by David Rosenfelt
75. Without Warning by David Rosenfelt
76. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
77. The Ice Twins by S K Tremayne
78. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
79. Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
80. The Art of Murder by Michael White

Aug 1, 2017, 6:54am

Feel free to ignore me or to say you want to do it that way (I won't be offended 😊) but would it be better to look from a favourite book perspective as opposed to from the author's perspective?

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 8:33am

>17 Andrew-theQM: Thanks for a copy of the list. I want to list some of the early classical mystery writers too but I agree it should be our favorites not the authors but I'm thinking about listing the authors according to the decade they started to write and when their books were published. But will only list our favorite books but according to when they were published.

This page is a work page. I have an idea in my mind but hard to explain. If it doesn't pan out the way I want it to then I will change it.

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 10:36am

When we asked for favourite trilogies last year these were the ones that came up:

Lewis Trilogy by Peter May
Wide World Trilogy by Robert Goddard (although a fourth book since been published)
The Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King
The Sancti Trilogy by Simon Toyne
The Jack West Jnr Trilogy by Matthew Reilly (although a fourth book since been published)
The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
The Will Piper Trilogy by Glenn Cooper

We never got to our favourite series. This is a tricky one as many of my favourite books in a series are not the first one, so do you include all the books up to the favourite one or just the favourite one. You could just put the first book in a series but some of these would not be worth an inclusion on the list on their own merits, some authors take a while for the series to mature.

Aug 1, 2017, 10:38am

I think using decades a book is published for inclusion in the list is a good idea, personally I feel this is more important than the decade in which an author started publishing books, but that is just the opinion of little old me! 😊

Aug 1, 2017, 11:14am

>20 Andrew-theQM: example of my idea - I'll take the first author from our favorite list of books:

Note: books listed have been selected by LT members as their favorite books from these authors:

1990 - Linwood Barclay - a short biography
The Accident published 1990 - standalone
Fear the Worst published 1991 - 3rd book in ? Series
A Tap On The Window published 2002

See above: The author goes in the 1990 decade but all the books will be listed even if written in another decade.

These facts are not true. I am babysitting and only have my iPhone with me so can't look up correct info too easily.

Aug 1, 2017, 12:13pm

>21 EadieB: That's a good idea, you could also jot down when their last book was published or mark them down as still writing.

Aug 1, 2017, 12:33pm

OMG! Eadie, you've taken on quite a project! How ever will you get any reading done? It's not like your TBR shelf is teeny tiny... LOL.

I'll work on putting my list together but I'd like to clarify.
You want our list of favorite authors--indicating either:
1. the series name
2. the specific favorite titles by the author for stand alone books.

I'm not great at separating into specific sub-genre but will do my best. Sometimes I recall a book was a favorite but don't remember the details of the book--especially books I read years ago.

Aug 1, 2017, 12:34pm

>22 Andrew-theQM: could add that info into biography because we only want to highlight the best books.

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 12:38pm

>23 bluebird_: just list your favorite mystery books and the author and I'll take care of finding out if it's a part of a series or standalone and sub-genre.

It's a long standing project which I'll work on when I have time.

Aug 1, 2017, 1:52pm

>25 EadieB:>23 It is definitely a mammoth undertaking - it will be your magnum opus!

Aug 1, 2017, 2:05pm

I'm working on my list. I'll post when I've got it together.

Aug 1, 2017, 2:25pm

>26 Andrew-theQM: Don't start small, start big, I always say!

>27 Sergeirocks: ok thanks!

Aug 1, 2017, 4:44pm

I'm new to the Mystery/Suspense genre so most of mine fall into the Police Procedural or Thriller categories

Marian Babson - Cozy
Allan Folsom -
Brad Thor - Scot Horvath series
Vince Flynn - Mitch Rapp series
John Sanford - Prey series; Virgil Flowers series
Jonathan Kellerman - Alex Delaware series
James Patterson - Alex Cross series

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 7:55pm

Well, when I started my list I didn't think I'd have much to offer since so many mysteries are still on my TBR shelf.
Wrong! I guess I forgot how many books in the genre I read and loved years ago.
I also added some non-traditional mysteries from the fantasy/futuristic genre--feel free to eliminate these if they don't fit the intent of the list.
i may have missed or forgotten some, but here's my list:

C. J. Sansom - Shardlake series : Historical Mystery
Robert Goddard - James Maxted series: Historical Mystery
Sam Thomas - Midwife's series: Historical Mystery
Rhys Bowen - Molly Murphy series: Historical mystery
Victoria Thompson - Gaslight series: Historical
Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The Shadow of the Wind: Historical

Linwood Barclay - Too Close to Home: Thriller
Louise Penny - Chief Inspector Gamache: police procedural
Ben Aaronovitich - Peter Grant series: Urban Fantasy
Jasper Fforde - Thursday Next series: Fantasy
J. D. Robb - In Death series: futuristic police procedural
Tana French - In the Woods
Peter May - Lewis Trilogy, Coffin Road

Robert Gailbraith - Cormoran Strike
Dorothy Gilman - Mrs Pollifax: espionage
Paula Hawkings - The Girl on the Train
Lene Kaaberbol - Nina Borg series
John Grisham - The Firm: legal thriller
Nelson Demille - The Gold Coast
Robert Ludlum - The Bourne Identity: thriller
Jeffrey Archer - Kane and Abel
Ken Follett - Eye of the Needle
James Rollins: Sigma Force series, Ice Hunt/Amazonia--but really any of the stand alone
Tom Clancy - Jack Ryan series: espionage/thriller
Truman Capote - In Cold Blood: True Crime
Wilkie Collins - The Moonstone

and of course:
Agatha Christie
Sherlock Holmes
Dashiell Hammett
Dorothy Sayers

Adding these two that I spotted on Andrew's list. I initially had them on mine but cut them before posting because I wasn't sure if they fit.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

Aug 1, 2017, 7:50pm

>30 bluebird_: Thanks! Looks like a great list!

Aug 1, 2017, 7:58pm

>30 bluebird_: >31 EadieB: I agree, a great list and I think there is enough mystery in Mariana and The Forgotten Garden to include them.

Aug 1, 2017, 8:38pm

>17 Andrew-theQM: I'm also "promoting" individual books, and much of what i've added is favourites.

Just let me question, though - are we simply trying for favourites (that is a great list, by the way, and I'm sure many of them can be included!), or do we want to include mystery books that are important in some way... or, ones that people "should" read for some reason or another (maybe because they are important to the mystery genre.

I see where the "important" ones can fall with inconic authors, as Eadie is coming up with now.

Aug 1, 2017, 8:44pm

>19 Andrew-theQM: We never got to our favourite series. This is a tricky one as many of my favourite books in a series are not the first one, so do you include all the books up to the favourite one or just the favourite one. You could just put the first book in a series but some of these would not be worth an inclusion on the list on their own merits, some authors take a while for the series to mature.

I like including the first book in a series, as some series should be read in order, right? Add a book in the middle of a series to a list like this, and you might get people disappointed because they don't know what's happening or it takes a good chunk of the book to get caught up.

Maybe... if we want to include a book from later in a series on the list itself, we could add a note with that book indicating it's #whatever in the series, then list #1 in that series in parentheses, or something.

Some series ("Promise Falls" by Barclay, I think) are really just loosely part of a series (set in the same place... some of the characters overlap). But, the order really really doesn't matter. I think series are tricky... :-)

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 8:47pm

>30 bluebird_: Oh, "The Forgotten Garden" is on my list, as well!

If I was to add authors on their own, I'd also add in Kate Morton on her own!

Aug 2, 2017, 7:54am

>33 LibraryCin: Now that's a whole other window to open. Often "important" and favorite overlap, but I have a few significant books to the genre that I did not include because they didn't resonate with me personally.

In re: to the series issue, part of the reason a book in the middle of a series is a favorite is because of everything that's gone before. If one were to read it as a stand alone it likely would be far less meaningful. Therefore I think the series name is appropriate. On the other hand, if a favorite book is in a series tied loosely together because of shared characters but can truly stand on it's own then I don't think the entire series needs to be included (but the relationship should be indicated). Just my two cents.

>35 LibraryCin: Sorry Cindy--I missed seeing Forgotten Garden on your list. I agree about Kate Morton. Love her work!

Edited: Aug 2, 2017, 9:03am

>33 LibraryCin: >36 bluebird_: That's an interesting question. For me I personally think the list should be centred around all of our favourite books that we think everyone needs to read with a core set of important mystery works, e.g. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Ruth Rendell, Wilkie Collins, John Creasey (Gideon of the Yard), Marjery Allingham (Campion), Raymond Chandler, Daphne Du Maurier, Ellery Queen, Dorothy L Sayers, Edward Stratemeyer (Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew), Josephine Tey etc. However I still think our favourite books should form the bulk of the list. Eadie's first post does also ask for our favourite books as a starting point. Obviously like with Bluebird this is just my 2 cents worth and happy to go with whatever.

It's also interesting about series books >36 bluebird_:. I think my favourite book in the Inspector Banks Series by Peter Robinson was the first book I read in the series, #10 In A Dry Season. I wasn't overly impressed with the first book. I like the idea mentioned above if one of the favourites isn't the first book in a series make reference to the series as well and included the first book in the series within the blurb.

Edited: Aug 2, 2017, 8:34pm

I started wondering that with this entire idea being brought on by the 1,001 books list. Are we looking for important/iconic stuff, or favourites? Of course, I ended up listing favourites (or at least very highly rated by me)! :-)

Aug 2, 2017, 8:35pm

And especially with multiple people contributing, I think they are questions that need to be decided. So, we know if we want to make other suggestions in addition to favourites.

Edited: Jan 1, 2021, 3:35am

thought I'd revive this topic for anyone who is following it since we have another 3.5 years of favorite authors/books/series to include :) I know I've discovered some new authors in the past few years:

Julie McElwain - Kendra Donovan series
Gregg Hurwitz - Orphan X series (thriller) and standalones
Linda Castillo - Kate Burkholder series
Tom Wood - the Victor series
Paul Doiron - Mike Bowditch
Brenda Novak - Evelyn Talbot series
Karin Slaughter - Grant County and Will Trent series
Angela Marsons - Kim Stone series
Sara Rosett - High Society Lady Detective series
Sharon Bolton - Lacey Flint series
CS Harris - Sebastian St Cyr series
Charles Finch - Charles Lennox series
Colin Cotterill - Siri Paiboun series
Candice Fox - Harriet Blue series and Crimson Lake series
Jane Harper - Aaron Falk series and standalones
Susan Elia MacNeal - Maggie Hope series
Anne Perry - Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series

There are more that I've found since I started reading M&S, but these are authors whose books I will read as soon as they come out

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