Top 100 Mysteries of All Time

 

MWA logo

I admit it. It is great fun being a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Conferences and seminars on the schedule during the year are informative and… I get to hobnob with some great writers at those events.

 

Back in the mid 90s, voting members of the MWA community selected their 100 favorite mysteries of all time and for mystery lovers, it is a marvelous list! Take a look and see how many you have read.

 

TOP 100 MYSTERY NOVELS OF ALL TIME Selected by Active MWA Members (mid 1990s)

  1.   The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle Including these individual high   vote-getters:

The Hound of the Baskervilles
A Study in Scarlet
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Sign of Four

  2.   The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

  3.   Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allan Poe

Including these individual high vote-getters:

The Gold Bug

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

  4.  The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey

  5.  Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow

  6.  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré

  7.  The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

  8.  The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  9.  Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

10. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

 

  11. Anatomy of a Murder, Robert Traver

  12. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
  13. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
  14. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain
  15. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
  16. The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris
  17. A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler
  18. Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
  19. Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie
  20. The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth


  21. Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler
  22. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
  23. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  24. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevski
  25. Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett
  26. Rumpole of the Bailey, John Mortimer
  27. Red Dragon, Thomas Harris
  28. The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L. Sayers
  29. Fletch, Gregory Mcdonald
  30. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carré


  31. The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
  32. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  33. Trent’s Last Case, E.C. Bentley
  34. Double Indemnity, James M. Cain
  35. Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith
  36. Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers
  37. Dance Hall of the Dead, Tony Hillerman
  38. The Hot Rock, Donald E. Westlake
  39. Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
  40. The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart


  41. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
  42. The Firm, John Grisham
  43. The Ipcress File, Len Deighton
  44. Laura, Vera Caspary
  45. I, The Jury, Mickey Spillane
  46. The Laughing Policeman, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

  47. Bank Shot, Donald E. Westlake
  48. The Third Man, Graham Greene
  49. The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson
  50. Where Are The Children?, Mary Higgins Clark

 

  51. “A” is for Alibi, Sue Grafton
  52. The First Deadly Sin, Lawrence Sanders
  53. A Thief of Time, Tony Hillerman
  54. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  55. Rogue Male, Geoffrey Household
  56. Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy L. Sayers
  57. The Innocence of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton

  58. Smiley’s People, John le Carré
  59. The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
  60. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee


  61. Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene
  62. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens

  63. Wobble to Death, Peter Lovesey
  64. Ashenden, W. Somerset Maugham
  65. The Seven Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer

  66. The Doorbell Rang, Rex Stout
  67. Stick, Elmore Leonard
  68. The Little Drummer Girl, John le Carré
  69. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
  70. Dracula, Bram Stoker

 

  71. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
  72. The Moving Toyshop, Edmund Crispin
  73. A Time to Kill, John Grisham
  74. Last Seen Wearing, Hillary Waugh
  75. Little Caesar, W.R. Burnett

   76. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins

  77. Clouds of Witness, Dorothy L. Sayers
  78. From Russia, With Love, Ian Fleming
  79. Beast in View, Margaret Millar
  80. Smallbone Deceased, Michael Gilbert

        

  81. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey
  82. Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters
  83. Shroud for a Nightingale, P.D. James
  84. The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy
  85. Chinaman’s Chance, Ross Thomas
  86. The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad
  87. The Dreadful Lemon Sky, John D. MacDonald
  88. The Glass Key, Dashiell Hammett
  89. Judgment in Stone, Ruth Rendell
  90. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
 
  91. The Chill, Ross Macdonald
  92. Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
  93. The Choirboys, Joseph Wambaugh
  94. God Save the Mark, Donald E. Westlake

   95. Home Sweet Homicide, Craig Rice
  96. The Three Coffins, John Dickson Carr
  97. Prizzi’s Honor, Richard Condon  
  98. The Steam Pig, James McClure
  99. Time and Again, Jack Finney
100. A Morbid Taste for Bones, Ellis Peters,
100. Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin (tie)


 

 

The MWA members are in the process of voting for their current faves of all time. I don’t know about you, but I wonder which older titles will pop up on the new list. There are some truly classic mysteries here, several of which went on to be made into movies and/or TV series. But the intervening twenty years have given us some remarkable writers and deliciously wicked new mysteries.
 

Save this list and compare it with the new one when it is announced later this year. In the meantime, cozy up to a great mystery and happy page-turning!
 

But, better keep the lights on.  😉


 

 

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!