Best 100 Mysteries of All Time—10 Titles

I’ve revamped, redone, reorganized and generally changed the way I’m going about listing and writing up the Best 100 Mysteries of All Time. Although these titles are still in the list–they no longer are numbered. I have put the entire list up, in alphabetical order, thereby keeping what book comes in at what number, undisclosed, until all synopsis are up. This way I’m hoping to satisfy those who want the entire list, without reveling the top picks.

So, here are  ten that have been reviewed:

Pictures of PerfectionReginald Hill–94–Delacorte Press– IP


To read a synopsis and review go here:




The Black Paw–Constance and Gwenyth Little–1941–Doubleday Crime Club–IP

To read a synopsis go here:








 Last Seen Wearing  —Hillary Waugh–1950–Doubleday Crime Club–used

To read a synopsis go here:








  The Almost Moon —Alice Sebold–2007–Little Brown–IP

To read a synopsis go here:








Mr. Smith’s HatHelen Reilly-1940–Doubleday Crime Club–used paperback or hardcover reprint–used

To read a synopsis go here:








Haunt of the NightingaleJohn R. Riggs–1988–Dembner Books–Used








The January CorpseNeil Albert1991–Walker Publishing–used 


For a synopsis click here:






The Last Will and Testament of Constance CobbleStanton Forbes1980–Doubleday Crime Club–OOP


For a Synopsis click here:




Meet The Tiger–Leslie Charteris–1928-Ward Lock–used







Big TroubleDave Barry–1999–Putnam–IP

To read a synopis of the book go here:







To read the entire list in ALPHABETICAL order go here


The criteria for selection:

I must have read all 100. Funny as that sounds, there are many who will vote for something they have been told is the ‘best’, without having read said book. I’ve read a great many crime novels in my life, some people read less, some more.

I choose to ignore the obvious suspects, or some, at least. No Agatha Christie, no Dorothy L. Sayers, no Sherlock Holmes. Reason? I don’t like Christie, so have read very little; I’ve read all of Sayers and though enjoyed them, nothing stood out for *me*. Sherlock? He bores me. OK, Sherlockians, don’t have a cow. I’m not denying the importance of these three writers within the literary world, nor that they are considered the best of the best. I researched, dated, determined print status, and found images for this list, therefore it bears my choices, and as appalling it may be to some to leave out the royalty of soft boiled, it makes sense to me.

The most important criteria for this list:

The selection must be one or a combination of  the following–unusual, intriguing, thought provoking, fascinating, extraordinary, puzzling, charming, gritty, humorous, astonishing, perplexing, surprising, rich characterizations, creepy, frightening, and/or gobsmacking!

And no, not all crime fiction have the above. Few come close. That’s why the list. The titles stretch from the 20s to last year. This has become a long journey, when I think I’ve a solid list, something pops up, or I decide, no that doesn’t belong etc, etc. So, I added, deleted, remembered some after I’d numbered. I switched their ratings over and over–in short, I take this very seriously. Many will be givens. Many will be familiar. Some will be recognized but not familiar. Some may never been heard of. And a few are totally obscure.

Mystery is a broad term including all the sub-genres of crime fiction, not just puzzles or private eyes.

I’ve included the date first published, the best to my ability. I may be off a year at worst.


I’ve also added a guide as to how easy it is to locate any particular title.


IP–in print


available–recently out of print but new copies still available


used–plenty of paperbacks available although the titles have been out of print


OOP–out of print–these are the toughest to find–yet there are copies out there, perhaps not as cheap or a plentiful as others.


In my insanity, I decided a short explanation for each choice was called for.






4 thoughts on “Best 100 Mysteries of All Time—10 Titles”

  1. I just found this blog and when I saw the byline I smiled and said, “Hey, I know her!” I met you and your husband at Bouchercon Chicago several years ago and the three of us had a few laughs trading stories about the book trade and other things. I’m excited about this 100 Best list, Diane, because so far there about ten books I’ve never heard of and want to read. By the time you get to number one I’ll be very much poorer I’m sure. (Unless I can find some in the Chicago Library system.) I’ve added you to my blog roll and I’ll be stopping by regularly.

    And congrats on finally obtaining a copy of that ever elusive Bush book that shares your name. Definitely a score!

    • Hello!! How funny! Oh, Bouchercon, I miss you so! I loved Chicago–that was the last one I attended, and our first weird road trip. I LOVE your blog–I was just over there the other day–what a beautiful looking place, with loads and loads of info.
      I don’t own this wonderful place, I only write some articles for it. But I’ve found it to be really fun, and naturally I get to rant once in awhile. LOL.
      I’ll be checking out your blog all the time, and give links whenever I can. Do you still sell in a brick and mortar store? Did you have one to begin with? I’m sadly brain dead lately! Hope to see you again.

  2. I cannot find links to the remainder of your Best 100 Mysteries of All Time–List. Only Nos. 100 through 80 are available on your site – where are the rest?

    • Hello! Sorry–I’ve not written all of my best list yet–I believe I’m down to 74 or 75. Check under Dastardly Deeds and you should see the other few I have up. I tend to add one each week, but the last couple of weeks I’ve not added any. Thanks for checking the list out!

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