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May 5, 2008 / C.T. Henry

10 Crime Novels to Read Before You Die

The British Telegraph created a list of “Fifty Crime Writers to Read Before You Die,” which was interesting but not very definitive. There were also some surprising exclusions.

Here’s my list, shortened to just ten: five classics and five contemporary crime novels.

THE CLASSICS
Wilkie Collins – The Moonstone
T.S. Eliot called it “the first and greatest English detective novel.” The suspenseful tale of this stolen diamond is a classic that no one should miss.

Arthur Conan Doyle – The Study in Scarlet
This is the first published story involving the legendary Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world’s best-known detective.

Agatha Christie – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Agatha’s superbly executed Poirot mystery is something no mystery fan should miss.

Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon
No true mystery fan should go without meeting Sam Spade. In the end, he shows us what being a detective is all about.

Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
The best hard-boiled mystery ever written. This is where all those classic one-liners came from.


CONTEMPORARY CRIME FICTION

Val McDermid – A Place of Execution
One of the most heavily awarded (and well-deserved) mysteries to date, this chilling tale, set in rural Derbyshire, is the quintessential English village mystery.

Dennis Lehane – Gone Baby Gone
This enthralling, hard-boiled detective novel is a modern masterpiece. (Read the book and avoid the movie.)

Robert Crais – L.A. Requiem
This one has it all. A plot that’s multi-layered and satisfying, plus engaging characters.

Michael Connelly – The Lincoln Lawyer
Simply the best legal thriller ever written.

Joe R. Lansdale – The Bottoms
An enthralling, eerie tale about life in the old South by a masterful storyteller.

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