Best Crime & Mystery Books
The best of crime and mystery books.

If the book is part of a series, please only vote for the first book.

See also:
Best Cozy Mystery Series
Best Crime Mystery Books
Best Historical Mystery
Best Literary Mysteries
The Most Popular Mysteries on Goodreads
1 The Girl with the Dragon Ta...
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 1,223,628 ratings
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2 And Then There Were None
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 239,991 ratings
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3 Angels & Demons  (Robert La...
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 1,300,520 ratings
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4 Rebecca
by
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 217,237 ratings
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5 In Cold Blood
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 308,767 ratings
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6 The Godfather
by
4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 178,881 ratings
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7 The Lovely Bones
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,193,722 ratings
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8 Shutter Island
by
4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 82,254 ratings
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9 The Name of the Rose
by
4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 148,130 ratings
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10 The Firm
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 353,849 ratings
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11 Mystic River
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 57,881 ratings
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12 The Alienist
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 73,776 ratings
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13 The Shadow of the Wind (The...
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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 206,332 ratings
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14 One for the Money (Stephani...
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 286,865 ratings
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15 The Big Sleep
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 57,869 ratings
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16 The Maltese Falcon
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 48,196 ratings
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17 Presumed Innocent (Kindle C...
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 69,626 ratings
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18 The Thirteenth Tale
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 169,564 ratings
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19 The Complete Stories and Poems
by
4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 143,141 ratings
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20 In the Woods (Dublin Murder...
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 108,795 ratings
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21 Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter...
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 133,034 ratings
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22 Midnight in the Garden of G...
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 121,992 ratings
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23 A Time to Kill (Jake Brigan...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 464,036 ratings
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24 The Strange Case of Dr. Jek...
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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 147,245 ratings
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25 A is for Alibi (Kinsey Mill...
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 85,671 ratings
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26 The Girl Who Kicked the Hor...
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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 364,301 ratings
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27 1st to Die (Women's Murder ...
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 162,072 ratings
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28 Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1)
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 118,375 ratings
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29 The Woman in White
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 68,200 ratings
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30 The Mysterious Affair at St...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 85,850 ratings
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31 The Historian
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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 163,384 ratings
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32 The Bone Collector (Lincoln...
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 83,005 ratings
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33 Perfume: The Story of a Mur...
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 138,019 ratings
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34 The Pelican Brief
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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 221,918 ratings
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35 The Poet (Jack McEvoy, #1)
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 42,763 ratings
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36 Naked in Death (In Death, #1)
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 79,886 ratings
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37 Gorky Park (Arkady Renko, #1)
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 33,763 ratings
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38 The Daughter of Time (Inspe...
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 11,719 ratings
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39 The Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey ...
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 110,090 ratings
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40 The Moonstone
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 37,110 ratings
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41 Smilla's Sense of Snow
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 22,382 ratings
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42 The Beekeeper's Apprentice ...
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 34,313 ratings
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43 The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ri...
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 23,081 ratings
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44 Killing Floor (Jack Reacher...
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 97,931 ratings
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45 The Count of Monte Cristo
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 444,282 ratings
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46 The Day of the Jackal
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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 60,944 ratings
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47 A Great Deliverance (Inspec...
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 20,872 ratings
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48 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective...
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 133,415 ratings
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49 The Curious Incident of the...
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 634,034 ratings
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50 A Study in Scarlet  (Sherlo...
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 122,595 ratings
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51 Eye of the Needle
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 67,614 ratings
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52 An Unsuitable Job for a Wom...
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 7,232 ratings
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53 Interview with the Vampire ...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 314,619 ratings
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54 Gone Girl
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 692,057 ratings
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55 No Country for Old Men
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 77,447 ratings
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56 The Thin Man
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 15,412 ratings
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57 Crocodile on the Sandbank (...
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 31,282 ratings
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58 The Devil in the White City...
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 242,851 ratings
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59 Crime and Punishment
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 295,227 ratings
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60 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 30,278 ratings
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61 The Black Dahlia (L.A. Quar...
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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69 avg rating — 44,373 ratings
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62 Different Seasons featuring...
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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 103,533 ratings
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63 The Bourne Identity (Jason ...
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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 260,142 ratings
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64 Case Histories (Jackson Bro...
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 39,094 ratings
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65 The Surgeon (Rizzoli & Isle...
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 60,349 ratings
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66 Along Came a Spider (Alex C...
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 205,655 ratings
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67 Snow Falling on Cedars
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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 96,524 ratings
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68 Deception Point
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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59 avg rating — 313,680 ratings
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69 Dead Until Dark (Sookie Sta...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 354,377 ratings
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70 Double Indemnity
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 9,507 ratings
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71 Tell No One
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 54,466 ratings
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72 The Sweetness at the Bottom...
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 74,164 ratings
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73 Rules Of Prey  (Lucas Daven...
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 35,668 ratings
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74 A Study in Scarlet and The ...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 2,908 ratings
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74 The Secret of the Old Clock...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 33,703 ratings
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76 The Postman Always Rings Twice
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 15,938 ratings
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77 The Ritual Bath (Peter Deck...
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 8,154 ratings
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78 The Black Echo (Harry Bosch...
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 60,768 ratings
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79 Witness for the Prosecution...
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 3,119 ratings
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80 The Millennium Trilogy
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4.45 of 5 stars 4.45 avg rating — 26,436 ratings
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81 The Secret History
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 95,387 ratings
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82 Sharp Objects
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 127,051 ratings
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83 Gone for Good
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 22,114 ratings
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84 Child 44 (Leo Demidov, #1)
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 29,364 ratings
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85 The Elephant Tree
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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64 avg rating — 6,328 ratings
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86 A Place of Execution
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 4,694 ratings
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87 The Woods
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 34,151 ratings
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88 Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell,...
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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 21,035 ratings
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89 The Zombie Room
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 7,497 ratings
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90 Whose Body?  (Lord Peter Wi...
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 18,909 ratings
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91 Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy...
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 9,550 ratings
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92 Get Shorty (Chili Palmer, #1)
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 12,385 ratings
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93 The Gordonston Ladies Dog W...
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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 785 ratings
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94 The Killer Inside Me
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 9,191 ratings
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95 Storm Front (The Dresden Fi...
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 138,264 ratings
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96 Where Are the Children?
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 26,528 ratings
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97 An Instance of the Fingerpost
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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 14,141 ratings
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98 Foucault's Pendulum
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 35,924 ratings
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99 Hold Tight
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 24,168 ratings
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100 Faceless Killers (Wallander...
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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 30,338 ratings
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flag this list (?)
4,436 books · 10,139 voters · list created June 9th, 2008 by deleted user.
619 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


rivka
rivka
2640 books
204 friends
MBP
MBP
4013 books
88 friends
Laura
Laura
1205 books
239 friends
Otis
Otis
764 books
1739 friends
Ali
Ali
1359 books
27 friends
Koeeoaddi
Koeeoaddi
2324 books
185 friends
Julie
Julie
2039 books
119 friends
Cindy
Cindy
6341 books
121 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 95) (95 new)


message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Hecht An interesting list, but really notable for it's absences. Henning Mankell doesn't make an appearance until #412 (as of Oct 17th, 2008), but his fellow Scandinavians, Indriadson, Nesser, Fossum, Ericksson, et. al. don't make an appearance at all. It's safe to say that, for one example, every of Nesser's books is superior to John MacDonald, just to name one author. I'd say he's better than Chandler, Christie, Stout, Hammett and many others. Also, the fact that anything by Dan Brown is listed as number 2 is just disturbing to me.


message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth Can't find alot of Caleb Carr or Kathy Reichs


message 3: by Harlequin (new)

Harlequin Historical I read a few Crime and Mystery books but not enough to be a good judge on who writes the best. I would end up voting for Christie, Poe or Koontz just because I recognize their name and have read some of the books, not because I truly knew they were the best.


message 4: by Catherine (last edited Jan 15, 2009 03:19PM) (new)

Catherine Chillwater Cove by Thomas LakemanChillwater Cove Lakeman has the pacing of Dan Brown, but with literary chops as well! I believe I have stumbled upon the next James Lee Burke. I look forward to reading Lakeman's next novel in this series, BROKEN WING.


message 5: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed Andrew : Mankell might be good but Chandler is one of the most literary talented american writers of the last century. To compare him is too much imo....

John D. Macdonald is great too.

You must hate Hardboiled fiction....


message 6: by Ikra (new)

Ikra Amesta I like Motherless Brooklyn, so funny and entertaining!


message 7: by Marty (last edited Nov 25, 2009 11:54AM) (new)

Marty This is a great list, but there are some pretty stark omissions, IMO. First, nothing by Ross Thomas? Really? Could he have been forgotten already? He was one of the best satirical/political mystery writers ever. And the list is a bit skimpy on the the Donald Westlake/Richard Stark oeuvre. I would put his relatively recent book The Ax, about a downsized chemist who conspires to kill all of his potential rivals in the job market, in the top 5 best all-time mystery books. Also, many of James Lee Burke's excellent early books did not make the list. Surely anything he has written outshines most of what passes for good mystery writing these days. He's at least as good as, say, Dennis Lehane (who I also love.) Also Michael Dibdin deserves much more of a presence. Finally, where's Robert Wilson? He's written at least three really excellent mystery novels this decade.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Why don't you add them? The form is at the right hand side of the page.


message 9: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn In Cold Blood and Fatal Vision are both TRUE CRIME non-fiction works.....IF we put True Crime on this list, then clearly Anne Rule and Doc Olsen should listed.


message 10: by Marty (new)

Marty Susanna wrote: "Why don't you add them? The form is at the right hand side of the page."

Thanks - I will.


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I cannot find anything by Harlan Coben on this list, maybe I did not look far enough, but he is too good of a suspense writer NOT to be included


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Why don't you add him?


message 13: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I'm not an Isaac Asimov reader, but isn't he sci-fi rather than crime/mystery?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Isaac Asimov wrote several novel-length mysteries (albeit often ones with a science fiction setting): The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and Murder at the ABA, are the ones I can think of. From what I recall of reading my grandfather's Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazines while I was growing up, he was a pretty frequent contributor. I remember the "Black Widower" stories in particular.


message 15: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Did not know that.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads He was pretty prolific, Asimov, and wrote in a number of genres.


message 17: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Lobstergirl wrote: "Did not know that."

Susanna wrote: "Isaac Asimov wrote several novel-length mysteries (albeit often ones with a science fiction setting): The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and [book:Murder at the ABA|470356..."

Murder at the ABA is a readable non-SF mystery....If I remember rightly, ABA is the American BOOKSELLERS Assoc.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's been years since I've read it, but I think you're right, Thom.


message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 13, 2010 05:18PM) (new)

Thom wrote: "In Cold Blood and Fatal Vision are both TRUE CRIME non-fiction works.....IF we put True Crime on this list, then clearly Anne Rule and Doc Olsen should listed."

I found In Cold Blood but not any by Ann Rule and was wondering. There is nothing so terrifying as The Stranger Beside Me!..... and it took them so long to catch him!


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I went to 781 or so and NEVER found Ann Rule! Did overlook her? She should be number ONE!


message 21: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn As wrote: "I went to 781 or so and NEVER found Ann Rule! Did overlook her? She should be number ONE!"

Ann Rule is probably listed under TRUE CRIME


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Think I created a list like that last night but will double check in case I duplicated lists.

falling asleep,
Alice


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I did a dup list. How can I delete it?


message 24: by Flashdawg (new)

Flashdawg totally cool book, THO


message 25: by Doug (new)

Doug Where in the world is John Sandford? He is arguably among the top five active American mystery writers.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could vote for him.


message 27: by John (new)

John Really sad that Crime and Punishment is hundreds of spaces below Dan Brown. And what the hell is Interview with the Vampire doing here?


message 28: by Luis (new)

Luis Gutierrez I am a little surprised that (1) Robert B. Parker's Looking for Rachel Wallace, Mortal Stakes, Small Vices, etc. and (2) Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity, or The Janson Directive... are not here.
Well, I'll vote for them!


message 29: by Doug (new)

Doug I agree with Luis, Robert B. Parker belongs on the list on the basis of his great body of work.


message 30: by Luzalbe (new)

Luzalbe brillantes haha..never thought interview with the vampire was a book.LOL.i recommend you guys to read list of 7 by mark frost,,,,best book i've ever read...better than the lost symbol,though it's also satisfactory.:))


message 31: by Bob (new)

Bob M. Doug wrote: "Where in the world is John Sandford? He is arguably among the top five active American mystery writers."

Agreed. His 'Prey' series with Davenport is excellent.


message 33: by Claudia (new)

Claudia Mcgarry Great debut novel. Could hardly put it down.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You add books to the list up at the top, next to "all votes."


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You add books to the list up at the top, next to "all votes."


message 37: by Senordaffy (new)

Senordaffy Andrew wrote: "An interesting list, but really notable for it's absences. Henning Mankell doesn't make an appearance until #412 (as of Oct 17th, 2008), but his fellow Scandinavians, Indriadson, Nesser, Fossum, Er..."


message 38: by Senordaffy (new)

Senordaffy to andrew:
will try more scandinavians. list is not by quality
of writing, obviously. where are martha grimes, len
deighton, le carre, steinhauer, and many others ?
agree with dan brown observation. so illiterate that he used 'from vinci' rather than leonardo in his title, as in 'the from vinci code'. not even a writer. popular only because his 'sacred feminine' gimmick appealed to u.s. women's vanity.
larsson not so good, either. pubishing these days
is getting to be like a hollywood insider called the
movie business - 'all hype'.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Senordaffy wrote: "where are martha grimes, len
deighton, le carre, steinhauer, and many others ?"



You could try voting for them.


message 40: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Im normally into historic fiction


message 41: by Abbey (new)

Abbey I'd love to have a list with just the title/author for all of 'em - yeah, I'm quite mad, but I love lists! (and mysteries...) Anybody know how I might arrange for that? The only way I've thought of is extremely cumbersome - going through, one-by-one and adding them to a new shelf! ick. Please, please tell me that *somewhere* there's an actual list (no covers or blurbs, etc.) just the titles and authors???


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You can add books to the list at the top of the page, next to where it says "all votes."


message 43: by Lane (new)

Lane Abbey wrote: "I'd love to have a list with just the title/author for all of 'em - yeah, I'm quite mad, but I love lists! (and mysteries...) Anybody know how I might arrange for that? The only way I've thought o..."

I would like a downloadable list of this kind as well. and/or the ability to "select all" of the books and add them to a category like "For consideration."


message 45: by Kim (new)

Kim Horner McCoy I managed to get a quarter of the way through this list before deciding it was a) too long and b) incoherent. Why is Diary of Anne Frank on here? Or Lolita? For a list to be meaningful, its entries should conform to the definition. Since the list was created by a "deleted user," has it gone feral?


message 46: by Aini (new)

Aini This is my favourite genre! My favourites are The Three Investigators (because they introduced me to the genre) and Agatha Christie because her use of psychology and human nature to solve mysteries.


message 47: by Yehia (new)

Yehia Shehata So I was thinking of reading either is Dark materials or The Millennium trilogy. I already read materials 1 & 2, and Millennium 1. Any recommendations?


message 48: by The Treeman (new)

The Treeman This list is laughable. It is full of books that shouldn't be there and books that are basically horrible written.


message 49: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix The "only vote for the first volume of a series" instruction wasn't originally on this list. I believe it is wrong to change it now and start deleting books.

Furthermore, especially in mystery series, the books are often stand alone, even if they are part of a series. It makes perfect sense, therefore, to vote for each volume separately.


message 50: by Mike (new)

Mike Anyone know of a mystery series set in Germany, preferably Frankfurt, that they can recommend?


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