The 50 Greatest Crime Writers

The Times (April 18, 2008)

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