Unspeakable Crimes The Best Crime Authors  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
23.1k votes 4.7k voters 234.3k 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!


Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page. Prices & inventory are accurate as of publish date.
list ordered by

1
1,310 261
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
1,022 198
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
573 137
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
486 110
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep

5
336 101
Dashiell Hammett is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, Watch on the Rhine

6
822 200
Michael Connelly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Crime Authors
A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo

7
492 275
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Firm

8
330 134
Elmore Leonard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Crime Authors
3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, The Tall T

9
261 81
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
356 151
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
201 78
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
277 89
James Lee Burke is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Black Cherry Blues, Cimarron Rose, Cadillac Jukebox

13
236 58
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient

14
217 106
Robert B. Parker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Poodle Springs, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, Promised Land

15
207 66
Graham Greene is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, The Power and the Glory

16
268 79
Dennis Lehane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Shutter Island, Gone, Baby

17
291 115
Harlan Coben is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Hold Tight, Tell No One, Miracle Cure

18
320 88
Lee Child is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Crime Authors
AndrewSutherland added Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble, Without Fail

19
351 266
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Kiss the Girls, Violets Are Blue, 7th Heaven

20
246 83
David Baldacci is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Christmas Train, Last Man Standing, Wish You Well

21
129 67
Erle Stanley Gardner is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The case of the gilded lily, Top of the Heap, Gold Comes in Bricks

22
187 48
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Street Kings, The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential

23
196 44
Jo Nesbø is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Jackpot, The Redbreast, Nemesis

24
277 123
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Crime Authors
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

25
177 60
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Crime Authors
The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night