Writers The Best Crime Authors  

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Originally by Ranker Community
20.6k votes 4.1k voters 216.5k views 187 items

List Rules Crime writers, including any sub-genre of crime fiction including detective, mystery or hard-boiled

Best crime authors include classic mystery authors like the brilliant Agatha Christie to detective authors like Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, and pulp crime fiction authors like Jim Thompson. Assembling a comprehensive list of the most popular crime writers is a daunting task, but I'm taking a leap and giving it a shot. Be sure to vote for your favorite crime authors and if your personal favorite isn't on the list, at them!

Some of the best crime authors are able to combine just the right formula of psychological tension and mystery with cold, hard facts. The best crime novels offer up enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very end. In a world where readers often demand instant gratification, keeping a crime book interesting until the final page is turned isn't an easy task to accomplish.

Famous crime authors I've included on this list include writers who've managed to churn out incredibly complex, entertaining mystery novels and detective books for decades, including Robert B. Parker, John le Carre and Graham Greene. Other, more contemporary crime and mystery writers have developed tremendously popular characters that readers eagerly follow through several novels (examples, you say? Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell and Dennis Lehane come to mind immediately). Some of the best crime authors burned brightly, but didn't actually write more than a handful of brilliant crime fiction ('The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' author Steig Larsson, for instance). The number of actual novels produced doesn't always count - it's the quality of those books that make all the difference!

If you're a crime novel fan, chances are you've read most, if not all, of the top crime authors on this list. If you're just getting into the genre, hopefully this list will provide a great guide. Happy reading!


1
1,145 238
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Agatha Christie The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

2
889 179
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Arthur Conan Doyle The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

3
502 110
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher

4
439 94
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Raymond Chandler Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep

5
307 87
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, Watch on the Rhine

6
749 182
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Michael Connelly A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo

7
450 251
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Grisham The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Firm

8
296 120
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elmore Leonard 3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, The Tall T

9
228 72
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John le Carré The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

10
323 136
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, The Girl Who Played with Fire

11
181 64
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John D. MacDonald Bright orange for the shroud, The Quick Red Fox, Isaac Asimov Presents

12
255 75
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Lee Burke Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose, Cadillac Jukebox

13
212 50
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient

14
199 93
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert B. Parker Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Promised Land

Writers Who Killed People

15
193 59
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Graham Greene The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, The Power and the Glory

16
244 69
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dennis Lehane Shutter Island, Gone, Baby

17
289 74
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
AndrewSutherland added Lee Child Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, Without Fail

18
264 103
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Harlan Coben Hold Tight, Tell No One, Miracle Cure

19
325 234
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Patterson Kiss the Girls, Violets Are Blue, 7th Heaven

20
116 57
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Erle Stanley Gardner The case of the gilded lily, Top of the Heap, Gold Comes in Bricks

21
241 99
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

The Best Novels Ever Written

22
211 68
Robert Crais is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Crais Cross of Fire, L.A. Requiem, Hostage

23
213 71
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors
David Baldacci The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing, Wish You Well

24
173 43
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
James Ellroy Street Kings, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential

25
234 124
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Patricia Cornwell Cause of Death, Unnatural Exposure, Blow Fly

26
95 46
Mickey Spillane is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Mickey Spillane I, the Jury, The Long Wait

27
157 55
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night

28
142 59
Lawrence Block is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Lawrence Block The Funhouse, My Blueberry Nights, The Eyes Still Have It

Writers or Filmmakers Who Were Murdered as a Direct Result of Their Art

29
238 42
Ian Rankin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ian Rankin Let it Bleed, Dead Souls, Fleshmarket Close

30
161 36
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jo Nesbø Jackpot, The Redbreast, Nemesis

31
171 64
Jeffery Deaver is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jeffery Deaver The Bone Collector, The Empty Chair, The Cold Moon

32
134 50
Rex Stout is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Rex Stout A Right to Die, The Mother Hunt, Mountain Cat

33
149 45
Ross Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ross Macdonald Sleeping Beauty: A Lew Archer Novel, The Way Some People Die, The Drowning Pool

34
144 52
Ruth Rendell is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ruth Rendell A Dark-Adapted Eye, To Fear a Painted Devil, A Judgement in Stone

35
132 37
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End

The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

36
83 26
Sue Grafton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Robert Pinolehto added Sue Grafton Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Collection: A Caribbean Mystery, "F" Is for Fugitive, "E" Is for Evidence

37
234 55
John Sandford is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Sandford The sword and the ploughshare, Bellringing, The Eye and the Heart: Watercolors of John Stuart Ingle

38
123 39
Thomas Harris is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Thomas Harris Hannibal Rising, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon

39
110 45
Jim Thompson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jim Thompson Paths of Glory, The Killing, The Killer Inside Me

40
122 58
Kathy Reichs is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kathy Reichs Bare bones, Cross bones, Bones to Ashes

41
147 45
Henning Mankell is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Henning Mankell The Dogs of Riga, Before the Frost, The Return of the Dancing Master

42
112 32
Ed Mcbain is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Ed Mcbain

The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made

43
145 66
Jonathan Kellerman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jonathan Kellerman The Murder Book, Gone, Savage spawn

44
111 47
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Crime Authors
BillUnderwood added Michael Crichton Jurassic Park, Twister, Westworld

45
91 34
Tony Hillerman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tony Hillerman Dance Hall of the Dead, Listening Woman, Finding Moon

46
104 50
Elizabeth George is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Elizabeth George In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, Deception On His Mind, Well-Schooled in Murder

47
78 40
John Dickson Carr is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Crime Authors
John Dickson Carr The Hollow Man, The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, The Black Spectacles

48
85 43
Joseph Wambaugh is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Joseph Wambaugh The Onion Field, The Choirboys, The Black Marble

49
125 53
Tess Gerritsen is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Tess Gerritsen The Apprentice, Harvest, The Surgeon

50
92 49
Dick Francis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Dick Francis Dead Cert, Under Orders, A jockey's life