– The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time –


According to Mystery Writers of America this is the 1995 list of

The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time.



Arthur Conan Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes (1887-1927)

Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930)

Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Mystery & Imagination (1852)

Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951)

Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent (1987)

John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963)

Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone (1868)

Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939)

Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (1938)

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (1939)

Robert Traver: Anatomy of a Murder (1958)

Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

Raymond Chandler: The Long Goodbye (1953)

James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)

Mario Puzo: The Godfather (1969)

Thomas Harris: The Silence of the Lambs (1988)

Eric Ambler: A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939)

Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (1935)

Agatha Christie: The Witness for the Prosecution (1948) *

Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal (1971)

Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely (1940)

John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)

Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (1980)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment (1866)

Ken Follett: Eye of the Needle (1978)

John Mortimer: Rumpole of the Bailey (1978)

Thomas Harris: Red Dragon (1981)

Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (1934)

Gregory Mcdonald: Fletch (1974)2

John Le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)

Dashiell Hammett: The Thin Man (1934)

Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (1860)

E. C. Bentley: Trent’s Last Case (1913)

James M. Cain: Double Indemnity (1943)

Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park (1981)

Dorothy L. Sayers: Strong Poison (1930)

Tony Hillerman: Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)

Donald E. Westlake: The Hot Rock (1970)

Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest (1929)

Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase (1908)

Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (1934)

John Grisham: The Firm (1991)

Len Deighton: The IPCRESS File (1962)

Vera Caspary: Laura (1942)

Mickey Spillane: I, the Jury (1947)

Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö: The Laughing Policeman (1968)

Donald E. Westlake: Bank Shot (1972)

Graham Greene: The Third Man (1950)

Jim Thompson: The Killer Inside Me (1952)

Mary Higgins Clark: Where Are the Children? (1975)

Sue Grafton: “A” is for Alibi (1982)

Lawrence Sanders: The First Deadly Sin (1973)

Tony Hillerman: A Thief of Time (1989)

Truman Capote: In Cold Blood (1966)

Geoffrey Household: Rogue Male (1939)

Dorothy L. Sayers: Murder Must Advertise (1933)

G. K. Chesterton: The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)

John le Carré: Smiley’s People (1979)

Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake (1943)

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (1958)

Charles Dickens: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870)

Peter Lovesey: Wobble to Death (1970)

W. Somerset Maugham: Ashenden (1928)

Nicholas Meyer: The Seven Per-Cent Solution (1974)

Rex Stout: The Doorbell Rang (1965)

Elmore Leonard: Stick (1983)

John le Carré: The Little Drummer Girl (1983)

Graham Greene: Brighton Rock (1938)

Bram Stoker: Dracula (1897)

Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)

Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (1946)

John Grisham: A Time to Kill (1989)2

Hillary Waugh: Last Seen Wearing … (1952)

W. R. Burnett: Little Caesar (1929)

George V. Higgins: The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972)

Dorothy L. Sayers: Clouds of Witness (1927)

Ian Fleming: From Russia, with Love (1957)

Margaret Millar: Beast in View (1955)

Michael Gilbert: Smallbone Deceased (1950)

Josephine Tey: The Franchise Affair (1948)

Elizabeth Peters: Crocodile on the Sandbank (1975)

P. D. James: Shroud for a Nightingale (1971)

Tom Clancy: The Hunt for Red October (1984)

Ross Thomas: Chinaman’s Chance (1978)

Joseph Conrad: The Secret Agent (1907)

John D. MacDonald: The Dreadful Lemon Sky (1975)

Dashiell Hammett: The Glass Key (1931)

Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone (1977)

Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar (1950)

Ross Macdonald: The Chill (1963)

Walter Mosley: Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)

Joseph Wambaugh: The Choirboys (1975)

Donald E. Westlake: God Save the Mark (1967)

Craig Rice: Home Sweet Homicide (1944)

John Dickson Carr: The Three Coffins (1935)

Richard Condon: Prizzi’s Honor (1982)

James McClure: The Steam Pig (1974)

Jack Finney: Time and Again (1970)

Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977) and Ira Levin: Rosemary’s Baby (1967) (tie)

* The Crown Crime Companion notes: “As worthy as this brilliant courtroom thriller is, it should not have been ranked as one of the top 100 mystery books because, well, there is no such book. Those who voted for it presumably remember the superb stage play, the equally superb movie, or the excellent short story on which they were both based (though the story’s ending is quite different from that of the dramatic presentations).”

What is missing? Some of these books have been around for a while. Got any suggestions for a new list?

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  1. Great site!

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