This is a very provocative list with a number of omissions. As you search for your favourite, I'm sure you'll pinpoint some. (Not an Australian author in the list for example.)
There are a number though that I cut my crime fiction teeth on.
And there are for me some surprise inclusions, and one or two I haven't read at all.
However I am pleased to see that I have at least a nodding acquaintance with about 45 out of the 50. And I enjoyed the pithy by-lines that attempts to capture the essence of each writer's achievement.
If anything I think the list is a bit light on with modern writers, particularly those who've made their mark in the 21st century.
You can leave a comment over on the main page to suggest others.
What is really great though is that every author listed is linked to another page of specific details: a justification for the choice, and then related articles, and sometimes audio and video files. They've certainly done their homework!
I find the order interesting too. I've read some Highsmith but never thought of putting her at the top of any list. Perhaps I need to read some more.
What do you think?
I've captured the list here, and each link should take you to the timesonline article on that author. To get to their main page click on the link on the heading above.
1. Patricia Highsmith:Rule-breaking master of amorality
2. Georges Simenon: The Trojan horse of foreign crime-writing
3. Agatha Christie: The original Queen of Crime
4. Raymond Chandler: The most profound of pulp writers
5. Elmore Leonard: The Dickens of Detroit
6. Arthur Conan Doyle:Creator of the ultimate hero-and-sidekick team
7. Ed McBain:Thrilling writer of snap-and-crackle dialogue
8. James M. Cain:Godfather of Noir
9. Ian Rankin: Edinburgh’s gritty crime laureate
10. James Lee Burke: American spinner of bleakly lyrical tales
11. Dennis Lehane: A tender craftsman with a tough centre
12. P.D. James:Prolific and cerebral grand dame of British crime
13. Dashiell Hammett:The man who dragged murder back into the alley
14. Jim Thompson:Revered creator of corrupt cops and sociopaths
15. Sjowall and Wahloo: The mother and father of Nordic crime
16. John Dickson Carr:King of the “locked room mystery”
17. Cornell Woolrich: Tortured pulp novelist known for Rear Window
18. Ruth Rendell: Criminal mastermind of unparalleled breadth and depth
19. Ross Macdonald: Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled heir
20. James Ellroy: The most literary of American crime writers
21. Charles Willeford:Aficianados’ favourite who is ripe for a break-through
22. Dorothy Sayers: Lord Peter Wimsey’s witty creator
23. John Harvey: The man behind the jazz-loving Nottingham cop Resnick
24. Wilkie Collins: Godfather of the detective novel
25. Francis Iles: Pseudonymous writer of radical plots
26. Manuel Vasquez Montalban:Intellectual gourmand whose fiction mapped Barcelona
27. Karin Fossum:Norway’s foremost cold-climate crime writer
28. Val McDermid:Influential author of high-grade “Tartan Noir”
29. Edgar Allan Poe:Mould-setter for the modern sleuth
30. Derek Raymond:Hard-drinking, hard-writing British crime legend
31. George Pelecanos:Energetic, music-loving social crusader
32. Margery Allingham:Golden Age sophisticate who can chill or charm
33. Minette Walters:Unflinching chronicler of humankind’s dark side
34. Carl Hiaasen:Rapid-fire satirist of Miami vices
35. Walter Mosley:A bold American voice, not afraid to tackle race
36. Reginald Hill:Playful creator of British favourites Dalziel and Pascoe
37. Michael Dibdin:Late, great ironist who investigated Italy’s corruption
38. Patricia Cornwell:Shrewd pioneer of gruesome pathology
39. Scott Turow:Legal thriller-writer famous for Presumed Innocent
40. Dick Francis:Former jockey and king of equestrian intrigue
41. Edmund Crispin:Elegant and accomplished Oxford plotter
42. Alexander McCall Smith: Scottish Professor whose Mma Ramotswe has won hearts and minds
43 Andrea Camilleri: Italy’s foremost crime export
44. Harlan Coben:Mature metroplitan stylist loved for his twisting plots
45. Donna Leon: American explorer of the Venetian underworld
46. Josephine Tey:Acute 1940s author whose books describe the danger of love
47. Colin Dexter: Former classics teacher who found fame with Morse
48. Nicholas Blake: C. Day Lewis’ crime-writing foil
49. Henning Mankell:Swedish novelist with a bleak take of modern life
50. Sara Paretsky: Spirited creator of feminist sleuth VI Warshawski