Search for ‘Greatest Crime Novel Ever Written’
Have you ever thought about the novel you’d consider the ‘greatest crime novel ever written’? I admit I haven’t — I always struggle with these sort of things. It seems impossible to narrow a list down to just ten or one, as is the case in the new poll devised by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) to celebrate their 60th birthday: they’ve asked their members to pick the book that is the ‘finest published example of literary sleuthing’ from a shortlist that includes Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler and Thomas Harris.
The Crime Writers' Association has asked its 600-strong membership to choose the finest published example of literary sleuthing. The members, all authors with at least one novel to their name, will also vote for the best crime writer and crime series.
As you can see, there’s a few missing from the CWA’s list, Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler are in there twice, and I have to wonder about the inclusion of Reginald Hill and Martin Cruz Smith — frankly, it’s all a bit anglo-centric. Surprisingly, given the recent rise of Scandinavian crime fiction, there’s nothing from that part of the world either. The full shortlist includes:
- On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill
- The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers
- The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
- Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Where’s Dashiell Hammett? And while Elmore Leonard is on the shortlist for crime writers, he hasn’t made the list of books. Like I said, I usually have a problem with these lists and you probably will too. What do you think is missing? The CWA did this poll 15 years ago and Dorothy Sayers' Nine Tailors (which is very good) won. You can take part in the Independent’s poll here which, while it won’t influence the CWA’s list, might provide a different result.
The results will be announced at the Crime Writers’ Association birthday celebration in London on the 5th of November.
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