The Best Crime Authors

Voting 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!

Photo: flickr / CC0
Ranked by
  • Agatha Christie
    2,339 votes
    The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
    1,807 votes
    The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Michael Connelly
    1,568 votes
    A Darkness More Than Night, The Black Ice, The Black Echo
  • Raymond Chandler
    945 votes
    Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    1,053 votes
    The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Daphne du Maurier
    315 votes
    Rebecca, Mary Anne, The Birds II: Land's End