Discussion Forums - Mystery & Thrillers

Topic: 100 Favorite Mysteries

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 100 Favorite Mysteries
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/7/2008
Posts: 71
Back To Top


I found a link to the 100 favorite mysteries of the 20th century. The list was compiled by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Many classics and a few new ones.  Only one book per author could be added.


Hope you enjoy the list and find something new to read!

Sharon C. (Mamu) - ,
Date Posted: 8/13/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2007
Posts: 1,154
Back To Top

Thanks for that, Amy.  VERY interesting books on there!  I've read a bunch. 

Jim Huang, who is apparantly the director of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association owns a bookstore called: The Mystery Company near me.  He is an absolute gem of a guy and as a resource, is without peer.  He has a nice used section and can without a glitch tell you what author you'd probably like and why when you tell him the ones you've loved. 

He does free shipping anywhere and  you can order from his website.  If there's a title you can't find, I'd definitely recommend contacting him. 

Just my totally unsolicited plug to support independent booksellers...   :) 

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
Back To Top

Wow - I've only read three of these books.  And I call myself a mystery fan!  

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 8/13/2008 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,119
Back To Top

How sad, I've only read 6 of the 100!  But there are 2 more on my Reminder list :)  I'm going to have to check out the authors they have listed.

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/26/2006
Posts: 318
Back To Top

17 out of 100!  Not too bad :)  I do have a few on the TBR pile......

Ellie (EllieW) - ,
Date Posted: 8/13/2008 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2007
Posts: 1,479
Back To Top

I thought I was a big mystery buff, too. But I've only read 13 out of 100.

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
Back To Top

I've read 38 of those and have several others on my TBR. Also there are many where I've read other books by the author listed but just haven't gotten to the one book listed yet. Some great reading there, that's for sure!


Date Posted: 8/13/2008 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
Back To Top

Very interesting! I've read 11 and have several of the others on my TBR pile.

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
Back To Top

I've read 19 and  have a few others TBR, and a couple wishlisted.

It's interesting to see what "one" book was chosen for the various authors. Some like Sue Grafton are pretty obvious -- Grafton's A -- but why choose Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar over The Daughter of Time? I've read both, but DoT seems the more captivating and enduring book, in my opinion. For what it's worth. ;-)

Updated to correct the Christie information. Duh! ;-)


Last Edited on: 8/13/08 8:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Sharon C. (Mamu) - ,
Date Posted: 8/13/2008 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 3/12/2007
Posts: 1,154
Back To Top

I had the same thought, Pam.  Interesting choices for some others.  Marcia Muller, for example--that's the first of the series but her writing and that series gets nothing but better as it goes along.  I just looked it up and Brat was published first but definitely not her earliest.  For both of the Kellerman books, they are the first of the series.  Maybe that was one of the primary factors for which book...  We'll have to ask someone!  :)


Date Posted: 8/13/2008 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
Back To Top

Another one I wondered about, Sharon, was choosing The List of Adrian Messenger by Philip MacDonald. Messenger was the last of the Anthony Gethryn detective series books (1960) and very loosely adapted (mostly the title!) for a so-so movie of the same name. It's a good book, but a better book by MacDonald is the first Gethryn mystery, The Rasp, which came out in 1924.

Then again, maybe the people voting on this list are something like me -- Messenger was the book I'd heard of and read first. I had no idea it was part of a series until I looked at the Fantastic Fiction site to see what else Philip MacDonald had written.

Date Posted: 8/13/2008 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
Back To Top

I've read 21 and see I lot more I need to read!  I also noticed the "first in series" trend - most of the books that I've read were from series and nearly all of them were the first.  Notable exceptions for me were the Robert Parker book and the Lawrence Block book, both of which were excellent choices, I think.

Date Posted: 8/14/2008 1:03 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,012
Back To Top

15 read and 8 on TBR pile, plus at least 2 on Reminder List. One I am surprised is not on the list is The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins as it is usually heralded as the first true detective novel.

Date Posted: 8/14/2008 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
Back To Top

One I'm surprised *is* on the list is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Excellent book, but I've just never considered it a mystery.

Date Posted: 8/25/2008 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
Back To Top

I got my hands on this list a few years ago and I've been trying to read them all.  I'm not sure how many I'm up to, but I've made some wonderful finds!  A couple that are not as well known today but definitely deserve a look are John Buchan's The Thirty Nine Steps and Frederic Brown's The Fabulous Clipjoint.

I'm surprised G. K. Chesterton isn't on the list.  The Man Who Was Thursday is a classic.

Charlie, I think that The Moonstone was published in the 19th C., which would explain its omission from the list.  I've got that one on my TBR, though.

ETA:  I've read 30, I think.  I've got a ways to go.

Last Edited on: 8/25/08 11:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
Back To Top

I've read 30-32 or so.  There are some that I read so many years ago that I'd have to check to try and be sure.  There's some interesting choices there, but I suppose all lists are like that.

Last Edited on: 8/26/08 9:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/28/2008 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
Back To Top

I've only read ten on the list.  But its tough because there's so many where the author wrote a lot of really good ones (especially Agatha Christie) but only one is on the list, so its seems like a lot are missing.

Date Posted: 8/31/2008 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,141
Back To Top

What an interesting list.  Finding out the psychology used to make the choices would be interesting.  I too have never really thought of "To Kill a Mockingbird" a mystery.  Ah well -- it certainly gives me some wonderful ideas for reading.  Thanks for posting the link -- Becky

Last Edited on: 8/31/08 3:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/31/2008 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
Back To Top

Last Edited on: 2/21/10 4:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/31/2008 9:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
Back To Top

Marilyn, this list actually is why I originally joined PBS.  I was trying to find out-of-print books from this list stumbled across this site.  I have found many books from this list here, and in fact my first book ever received from PBS was Margery Allingham's Tiger in the Smoke (which is EXCELLENT, by the way).

Date Posted: 9/1/2008 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2005
Posts: 134
Back To Top

Thanks for posting this Amy! 

I've read a few on the list and have a few more on my TBR pile but this gives me lots more ideas.

Date Posted: 9/1/2008 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
Back To Top

Thanks for posting this.  I saw another post where someone had marked the titles they'd read, so I decided to do the same.  I also marked the ones I'm planning to read  (or re-read) with an *.  I think the book rental people will be happy!  Some might be interested in ones that available as free downloads from Librivox.  I didn't check anything that didn't sound interesting but these would be older titles.

Sorry for the formatting errors, but after losing my message, I had to paste it from Word and can't seem to fix it.

  1. Allingham, Margery, The Tiger in the Smoke
  2. Ambler, Eric, A Coffin for Dimitrios
  3. Armstrong, Charlotte, A Dram of Poison*
  4. Atherton, Nancy, Aunt Dimity's Death
  5. Ball, John, In the Heat of the Night
  6. Barnard, Robert, Death by Sheer Torture
  7. Barr, Nevada, Track of the Cat*
  8. Blake, Nicholas, The Beast Must Die, (author C. Day-Lewis, Poet-Laureate and father of Daniel Day-Lewis)
  9. Block, Lawrence, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes*
  10. Brand, Christianna, Green for Danger - I think I tried to read this one several times
  11. Brown, Frederic, The Fabulous Clipjoint
  12. Buchan, John, The 39 Steps *(Dover) available as a free Librivox download at http://librivox.org/the-thirty-nine-steps-by-john-buchan/
  13. Burke, James Lee, Black Cherry Blues
  14. Cain, James M., The Postman Always Rings Twice
  15. Cannell, Dorothy, The Thin Woman
  16. Carr, John Dickson, The Three Coffins
  17. Caudwell, Sarah, Thus Was Adonis Murdered
  18. Chandler, Raymond, The Big Sleep
  19. Christie, Agatha, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  20. Connelly, Michael, The Concrete Blonde
  21. Constantine, K.C., The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes* (May have read this since I once read a lot of K.C. Constantine)
  22. Crais, Robert, The Monkey's Raincoat
  23. Crispin, Edmund, The Moving Toyshop
  24. Crombie, Deborah, Dreaming of the Bones
  25. Crumley, James,The Last Good Kiss
  26. Dickinson, Peter,The Yellow Room Conspiracy
  27. Doyle, Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  28. DuMaurier, Daphne, Rebecca
  29. Dunning, John, Booked to Die
  30. Elkins, Aaron, Old Bones
  31. Evanovich, Janet, One for the Money
  32. Finney, Jack, Time and Again*
  33. Ford, G.M., Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?
  34. Francis, Dick, Whip Hand
  35. Fremlin, Celia,The Hours Before Dawn (Has anyone read this one?)
  36. George, Elizabeth, A Great Deliverance
  37. Gilbert, Michael, Smallbone Deceased*
  38. Grafton, Sue, "A" is for Alibi
  39. Graham, Caroline, The Killings at Badger's Drift
  40. Grimes, Martha, The Man With the Load of Mischief
  41. Hammett, Dashiell, The Maltese Falcon
  42. Hare, Cyril, An English Murder*
  43. Harris, Thomas,The Silence of the Lambs
  44. Hiaasen, Carl,Tourist Season*
  45. Highsmith, Patricia,The Talented Mr. Ripley
  46. Hill, Reginald, On Beulah Height
  47. Hillerman, Tony, A Thief of Time
  48. Himes, Chester, Cotton Comes to Harlem
  49. Innes, Michael, Hamlet, Revenge*
  50. James, P.D., An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
  51. Kellerman, Faye,The Ritual Bath
  52. Kellerman, Jonathan, When the Bough Breaks
  53. King, Laurie, The Beekeeper's Apprentice
  54. Langton, Jane,Dark NantucketNoon – may have read this one
  55. le Carre, John, The Spy Who Came in From The Cold
  56. Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird
  57. Lehane, Dennis, Darkness, Take My Hand
  58. Leonard, Elmore,Get Shorty
  59. Lochte, Dick, Sleeping Dog *?
  60. Lovesey, Peter,Rough Cider *?
  61. MacDonald, John D., The Deep Blue Good-by *
  62. MacDonald, Philip, The List of Adrian Messenger ?
  63. Macdonald, Ross,The Chill – might have read this one
  64. Maron, Margaret, Bootlegger's Daughter
  65. Marsh, Ngaio, Death of a Peer
  66. McBain, Ed, Sadie When She Died – another possibility that I just can’t remember; I read a lot of McBain
  67. McClure, James, The Sunday Hangman
  68. McCrumb, Sharyn, If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O
  69. Millar, Margaret, Stranger in My Grave*
  70. Mosley, Walter, Devil in a BlueDress
  71. Muller, Marcia, Edwin of the Iron Shoes
  72. Neel, Janet, Death's Bright Angel*
  73. O'Connell, Carol, Mallory's Oracle
  74. Padgett, Abigail, Child of Silence
  75. Paretsky, Sara, Deadlock
  76. Parker, Robert, Looking for Rachel Wallace
  77. Perez-Reverte, Arturo, The Club Dumas
  78. Perry, Thomas, Vanishing Act
  79. Peters, Elizabeth, Crocodile on the Sandbank
  80. Peters, Ellis, One Corpse Too Many
  81. Pronzini, Bill, Blue Lonesome
  82. Queen, Ellery, Cat of Many Tails
  83. Rendell, Ruth,No More Dying Then
  84. Rice, Craig, The Wrong Murder*
  85. Rinehart, Mary Roberts, The Circular Staircase * (May have read; available as free download at Libravox librivox.org/the-circular-staircase-by-mary-roberts-rinehart/
  86. Robinson, Peter, Blood at the Root
  87. Rosen, Richard, Strike Three You're Dead
  88. Ross, Kate, A Broken Vessel
  89. Rozan, S.J., Concourse
  90. Sayers, Dorothy, Murder Must Advertise
  91. Sjowall & Wahloo,The Laughing Policeman*?
  92. Stout, Rex, Some Buried Caesar *
  93. Tey, Josephine, Brat Farrar
  94. Thomas, Ross, Chinaman's Chance *?
  95. Todd, Charles, A Test of Wills
  96. Turow, Scott, Presumed Innocent
  97. Upfield, Arthur,The Sands of Windee*?
  98. Walters, Minette, The Ice House
  99. White, Randy Wayne, Sanibel Flats
  100. Woolrich, Cornell,I Married a Dead Man



Last Edited on: 9/1/08 3:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/1/2008 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
Back To Top

Last Edited on: 2/21/10 4:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1