Culture The Best Crime Authors  

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Originally by Ranker Community
24.5k votes 4.9k voters 243k views 191 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!


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list ordered by
1
1,375 283
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun
2
1,070 214
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles
3
599 154
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher
4
852 213
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo
5
359 112
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, Watch on the Rhine
6
507 128
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep
7
513 287
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Firm
8
339 143
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, The Tall T
9
275 85
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
10
374 161
Stieg Larsson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, The Girl Who Played with Fire
11
211 84
John D. MacDonald is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Bright orange for the shroud, The Quick Red Fox, Isaac Asimov Presents
12
142 72
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The case of the gilded lily, Top of the Heap, Gold Comes in Bricks
13
287 95
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose, Cadillac Jukebox
14
286 83
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Shutter Island, Gone, Baby
15
259 92
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing, Wish You Well
16
252 67
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient
17
366 285
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kiss the Girls, Violets Are Blue, 7th Heaven
18
216 70
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, The Power and the Glory
19
226 110
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Promised Land
20
298 137
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot
21
301 122
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Hold Tight, Tell No One, Miracle Cure
22
336 98
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors
AndrewSutherland added Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, Without Fail
23
214 51
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jackpot, The Redbreast, Nemesis
24
189 63
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night
25
198 53
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Street Kings, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential