Our 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century

As selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's online members

    In 2000, mystery booksellers looked back at a century of murder and compiled a list of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century.  Please feel free to print and use this list for any non-commercial purpose. See our membership directory for stores where you can buy the selections.

    Members of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's online discussion group spent nearly two months considering and debating hundreds of titles recommended by mystery booksellers throughout the country.  "Fortunately, since we were working online, no blood was spilled in the creation of this list," commented IMBA director Jim Huang. "It was a lively and contentious process, with each of us pulling for cherished books."  Although some of the genre's greatest and most prolific writers had several titles nominated, "we agreed that each author would appear on the list only once," Huang explained, "in order to represent as many of our favorite writers as possible."
    IMBA's book, 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century, was published in December 2000 by The Crum Creek Press This publication includes a member review discussing what makes each mystery on the list special, as well as members' choices of other titles they wish has been included.  It won an Agatha and an Anthony award for the best non-fiction/critical work of 2000. 

The 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century

(Paperback publisher is noted for titles in print in 2000.  Some have since gone out of print, some publishers have changed, and others formerly unavailable have since been reissued.)

Allingham, Margery. The Tiger in the Smoke (Carroll & Graf)
Ambler, Eric. A Coffin for Dimitrios (Carroll & Graf)
Armstrong, Charlotte. A Dram of Poison  
Atherton, Nancy. Aunt Dimity's Death (Penguin)
Ball, John. In the Heat of the Night (Carroll & Graf)
Barnard, Robert. Death by Sheer Torture  
Barr, Nevada. Track of the Cat (Avon)
Blake, Nicholas. The Beast Must Die  
Block, Lawrence. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Avon)
Brand, Christianna. Green for Danger (Carroll & Graf)
Brown, Frederic. The Fabulous Clipjoint  
Buchan, John. The 39 Steps (Dover)
Burke, James Lee. Black Cherry Blues (Avon)
Cain, James M.. The Postman Always Rings Twice (Vintage/Black Lizard)
Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman (Bantam)
Carr, John Dickson. The Three Coffins  
Caudwell, Sarah. Thus Was Adonis Murdered (Dell)
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep (Vintage)
Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (HarperPaperbacks)
Connelly, Michael. The Concrete Blonde (St. Martin's)
Constantine, K.C.. The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes (David R. Godine)
Crais, Robert. The Monkey's Raincoat (Bantam)
Crispin, Edmund. The Moving Toyshop (Penguin)
Crombie, Deborah. Dreaming of the Bones (Bantam)
Crumley, James. The Last Good Kiss (Vintage)
Dickinson, Peter. The Yellow Room Conspiracy  
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles (Berkley)
DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca (Avon)
Dunning, John. Booked to Die (Avon)
Elkins, Aaron. Old Bones (Mysterious)
Evanovich, Janet. One for the Money (HarperPaperbacks)
Finney, Jack. Time and Again (Scribner)
Ford, G.M.. Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca? (Avon)
Francis, Dick. Whip Hand (Jove)
Fremlin, Celia. The Hours Before Dawn (Academy Chicago)
George, Elizabeth. A Great Deliverance (Bantam)
Gilbert, Michael. Smallbone Deceased 
Grafton, Sue. "A" is for Alibi (Bantam)
Graham, Caroline. The Killings at Badger's Drift 
Grimes, Martha. The Man With the Load of Mischief 
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon (Vintage)
Hare, Cyril. An English Murder  
Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs (St. Martin's)
Hiaasen, Carl. Tourist Season (Warner)
Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley (Vintage)
Hill, Reginald. On Beulah Height (Dell)
Hillerman, Tony. A Thief of Time (HarperPaperbacks)
Himes, Chester. Cotton Comes to Harlem (Vintage)
Innes, Michael. Hamlet, Revenge  
James, P.D.. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Warner)
Kellerman, Faye. The Ritual Bath (Avon)
Kellerman, Jonathan. When the Bough Breaks (Bantam)
King, Laurie. The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Bantam)
Langton, Jane. Dark Nantucket Noon (Penguin)
le Carre, John. The Spy Who Came in From The Cold (Ballantine)
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird (Warner)
Lehane, Dennie. Darkness, Take My Hand (Avon)
Leonard, Elmore. Get Shorty (Delta)
Lochte, Dick. Sleeping Dog (Poisoned Pen Press)
Lovesey, Peter. Rough Cider  
MacDonald, John D.. The Deep Blue Good-by (Fawcett)
MacDonald, Philip. The List of Adrian Messenger 
Macdonald, Ross. The Chill (Vintage/Black Lizard)
Maron, Margaret. Bootlegger's Daughter (Mysterious)
Marsh, Ngaio. Death of a Peer (St. Martin's)
McBain, Ed. Sadie When She Died  
McClure, James. The Sunday Hangman 
McCrumb, Sharyn. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballantine)
Millar, Margaret. Stranger in My Grave  
Mosley, Walter. Devil in a Blue Dress (Pocket)
Muller, Marcia. Edwin of the Iron Shoes  
Neel, Janet. Death's Bright Angel  
O'Connell, Carol. Mallory's Oracle (Jove)
Padgett, Abigail. Child of Silence  
Paretsky, Sara. Deadlock (Dell)
Parker, Robert. Looking for Rachel Wallace (Dell)
Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Club Dumas (Vintage)
Perry, Thomas. Vanishing Act (Ivy)
Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank (Warner)
Peters, Ellis. One Corpse Too Many (Mysterious)
Pronzini, Bill. Blue Lonesome (Walker)
Queen, Ellery. Cat of Many Tails 
Rendell, Ruth. No More Dying Then (Vintage)
Rice, Craig. The Wrong Murder (International Polygonics)
Rinehart, Mary Roberts. The Circular Staircase (Kensington)
Robinson, Peter. Blood at the Root (Avon)
Rosen, Richard. Strike Three You're Dead  
Ross, Kate. A Broken Vessel (Penguin)
Rozan, S.J.. Concourse (St. Martin's)
Sayers, Dorothy. Murder Must Advertise (HarperPaperbacks)
Sjowall & Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman  
Stout, Rex. Some Buried Caesar 
Tey, Josephine. Brat Farrar (Scribner)
Thomas, Ross. Chinaman's Chance 
Todd, Charles. A Test of Wills (Bantam)
Turow, Scott. Presumed Innocent (Warner)
Upfield, Arthur. The Sands of Windee 
Walters, Minette. The Ice House (St. Martin's)
White, Randy Wayne. Sanibel Flats (St. Martin's)
Woolrich, Cornell. I Married a Dead Man (Penguin)