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Best Mystery Novels of All Time

( Mystery Writers of America )

Trent's Last Case
by Bentley, E. C.

Considered by many to be the first modern mystery novel, Trent's Last Case introduces the gentleman sleuth Philip Trent, a freelance reporter and investigator. Trent becomes involved in the case of the murder of millionaire American financier Sigsbee Manderson, slain while on holiday in England. During the course of his investigation, Trent falls in love with one of the primary suspects. And while he collects evidence and becomes convinced that he has cracked the case, he turns out to be well off the mark.
Call Number:
PR6003 .E7247 T73 1978
Publication Date:

Postman Always Rings Twice
by Cain, James M.

An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution--a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America's bleak underside. [Random House]
Call Number:
PS648 .D4 C697 1997
Publication Date:

In Cold Blood
by Capote, Truman

With the publication of this book, Capote permanently ripped through the barrier separating crime reportage from serious literature. As he reconstructs the 1959 murder of a Kansas farm family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, Capote generates suspense and empathy. [Amazon / Product Description]
Call Number:
HV6533.K3 C3
Publication Date:

Farewell, My Lovely
by Chandler, Raymond

Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard. [Amazon / Product Description]
Call Number:
PS3505 .H3224 A6
Publication Date:

Lady in the Lake
by Chandler, Raymond

A couple of missing wives—one a rich man's and one a poor man's—become the objects of Marlowe's investigation. One of them may have gotten a Mexican divorce and married a gigolo and the other may be dead. Marlowe's not sure he cares about either one, but he's not paid to care. [Barnes and Noble / Trade Paperback Edition]
Call Number:
PS3505.H3224 A6 1995C
Publication Date:

Long Goodbye, The
by Chandler, Raymond

9781883011079Raymond Chandler; Frank MacShane (Editor)Chandler: Stories and Early Novels - Pulp Stories; the Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; the High WindowIn Raymond Chandler's hands, the pulp crime story became a haunting mystery of power and corruption, set against a modern cityscape both lyrical and violent. Now Chandler joins the authoritative Library of America series in a comprehensive two-volume set displaying all the facets of his brilliant talent. In his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), the classic private eye finds his full-fledged form as Philip Marlowe: at once tough, independent, brash, disillusioned, and sensitive--and man of weary honor threading his way (in Chandler's phrase) "down these mean streets" among blackmailers, pornographers, and murderers for hire. In Farewell, My Lovely (1940), Chandler's personal favorite among his novels, Marlowe's search for a missing woman leads him from shanties and honky-tonks to the highest reaches of power, encountering an array of richly drawn characters. The High Window (1942), about a rare coin that becomes a catalyst by which a hushed-up crime comes back to haunt a wealthy family, is partly a humorous burlesque of pulp fiction. All three novels show Chandler at a peak of verbal inventiveness and storytelling drive Stories and Early Novels also includes every classic noir story from the 1930s that Chandler did not later incorporate into a novel--thirteen in all, among them such classics as "Red Wind," "Finger Man," The King in Yellow," and "Trouble Is My Business." Drawn from the pages of Black Mask and Dime Detective , these stories show how Chandler adapted the violent conventions of the pulp magazine--with their brisk exposition and rapid-fire dialogue--to his own emerging vision of twentieth-century America. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3505 .H3224 .A6

Witness for the Prosecution
by Christie, Agatha

A murder trial takes a diabolical turn when the wife of the accused takes a stand...A woman's sixth--and a loaded revolver--signal premonitions of doom...A stranded motorist seeks refuge in a remote mansion, and is greeted with a dire warning...Detective Hercule Poirot faces his greatest challenge when his services are enlisted--by the victim--in a bizarre locked-room murder. From the stunning title story (which inspired the classic film thriller) to the rarest gems in detective fiction, these 11 tales of baffling rime and brilliant deduction showcase Agatha Christie at her dazzling best. [Barnes and Noble / Publisher]
Call Number:
PR6005 .H748 W5
Publication Date:

Hunt for Red October, The
by Clancy, Tom

9780870212857Tom ClancyThe Hunt for Red OctoberAlso Availble as an Audio Edition from Audible via Amazon Tom Clancy's rich imagination and his remarkable grasp of the capabilities of advanced technology give this novel an amazing ring of authenticity. It is a thriller with a new twist, a "military procedural" with an ingenious, tightly woven plot that revolves around the defection of a Soviet nuclear submarine--the USSR's newest and most valuable ship, with its most trusted and skilled officer at the helm. A deadly serious game of hide-and-seek is on. The entire Soviet Atlantic Fleet is ordered to hunt down the submarine and destroy her at all costs. The Americans are determined to find her first and get her safely to port in the intelligence coups of all time. But the Red October has a million square miles of ocean to hide in and a new silent propulsion system that is impossible to detect. Or is it? Her daring and cunning captain, Marko Ramius, thinks so. The commander of the Soviet's fastest attack submarine, however, is confident that he will find his prey. And Bart Mancuso, the aggressive commander of the U.S. Navy attack sub the Dallas , is counting on the sensitive ears of his resourceful young sonar operator to identify Red October 's unique sound print and track her down. The nerve-wracking hunt goes on for eighteen days as the Red October stealthily eludes her hunters across 4,000 miles of ocean. But just short of Ramius's objective, his submarine converges with the others in a rousing climax that is one of the most thrilling underwater scenes ever written. Can the start of all-out war be avoided? The outcome is clear only on the very last pages. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3553 .L245 H8 1984

Mystery of Edwin Drood, The
by Dickens, Charles

9780198124399Charles Dickens; Luke Fildes (Illustrator); Charles Collins (Illustrator); S. C. Roberts (Introduction by); Margaret CardwellThe Mystery of Edwin DroodEdwin Drood is contracted to marry Orphan Rosa, but they break the engagement off-and soon afterwards Edwin disappears. Is it murder? And is his jealous uncle-a sinister choirmaster with a double life and designs on Rosa-the killer? Dickens died before completing the story, leaving the mystery unsolved and encouraging successive generations of readers to turn detective. In addition to its tantalizing crime, the novel also offers a characteristically Dickensian mix of the fantastical world of the imagination and a vibrantly journalistic depiction of gritty reality. This edition features a new critical introduction that assesses the evidence to show whether the mystery can truly be solved, as well as a chronology, illustrations, appendixes (including one on opium use in the nineteenth century). Edited with an introduction and notes by David Paroissien. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PR4564 .A1 1956

by du Maurier, Daphne

9780380778553Daphne du MaurierRebeccaA PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten--a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife--the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca. This special edition of Rebecca includes excerpts from Daphne du Maurier's The Rebecca Notebook and Other Memories, an essay on the real Manderley, du Maurier's original epilogue to the book, and more. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PR6007 .U47 R4

Time and Again
by Finney, Jack

Link to record for more information.

Call Number:
PS3556.I52 T65 1995
Publication Date:

Dance Hall of the Dead
by Hillerman, Tony

9780061808388Tony HillermanDance Hall of the DeadTwo Native-American boys have vanished into thin air, leaving a pool of blood behind them. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police has no choice but to suspect the very worst, since the blood that stains the parched New Mexican ground once flowed through the veins of one of the missing, a young Zuñi. But his investigation into a terrible crime is being complicated by an important archaeological dig . . . and a steel hypodermic needle. And the unique laws and sacred religious rites of the Zuñi people are throwing impassable roadblocks in Leaphorn's already twisted path, enabling a craven murderer to elude justice or, worse still, to kill again. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3558 .I48 D26 1973a

Smiley's People
by le Carré, John

9780394508436John le CarréSmiley's PeopleJohn le Carre's classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge and have earned him -- and his hero, British Secret Service agent George Smiley -- unprecedented worldwide acclaim. Rounding off his astonishing vision of a clandestine world, master storyteller le Carre perfects his art in "Smiley's People." In London at dead of night, George Smiley, sometime acting Chief of the Circus (aka the British Secret Service), is summoned from his lonely bed by news of the murder of an ex-agent. Lured back to active service, Smiley skillfully maneuvers his people -- "the no-men of no-man's land" -- into crisscrossing Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland as he prepares for his own final, inevitable duel on the Berlin border with his Soviet counterpart and archenemy, Karla. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PR6062 .E33 S55 1980

Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
by le Carré, John

9780802714541John le Carré (Introduction by)The Spy Who Came in from the Cold #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "The best spy story I have ever read." -Graham Greene On its publication in 1964, John le Carré's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold forever changed the landscape of spy fiction. Le Carré combined the inside knowledge of his years in British intelligence with the skills of the best novelists to produce a story as taut as it is twisting, unlike any previously experienced, which transports anyone who reads it back to the shadowy years in the early 1960s, when the Berlin Wall went up and the Cold War came to life. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold was hailed as a classic as soon as it was published, and it remains one today. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PR6062 .E33 S6

Devil in a Blue Dress
by Mosley, Walter

9780313320224Charles E. WilsonWalter Mosley: A Critical CompanionReaders of this Critical Companion will discover the richness of Mosley's writings, as well as his contributions to the African-American literary tradition, the genres of detective writing and science fiction, and American literature in general. Mosley's influences, inspirations, obstacles, and successes are presented in a richly drawn biographical chapter, which incorporates the author's most recent interviews.Mosley's first detective novel, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), established a new voice in detective fiction, offering an African American perspective that resonated to a broad spectrum of readers. From his Easy Rawlins mysteries to his science fiction, Mosley invites readers into unexpected worlds and challenges his audience to think beyond their assumptions about society. Perhaps because he manages to link the trials of his characters to the enigma of the human condition, his prolific, genre-spanning work has met with both popular and critical success.This is the only book-length study of Mosley's fiction, covering eight of his key novels, including his most recent, Bad Boy Brawley Brown (2002). In addition to comprehensive plot synopsis, character portraits, and thematic discussions for each work, historical contexts are considered. Terms and concepts are clearly explained for the student and general reader. A select bibliography cites biographical sources, interviews, criticism, reviews, and related works of interest. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3563 .O88456 Z88

Tales of Mystery and Imagination
by Poe, Edgar Allen

9781406793017Edgar PoeTales of Mystery and ImaginationThis antiquarian volume contains a collection of some of Edgar Allen Poe's most famous tales, including "The Gold-Bug," "Ms. Found in a Bottle," "A Descent into the Maelstr m," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "William Wilson," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," "The Pitt and the Pendulum," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains," and more. This volume constitutes a must-have for fans of the macabre, and would make for a fantastic addition to any collection. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American author, editor, poet, and critic. Most famous for his stories of mystery and horror, he was one of the first American short story writers, and is widely considered to be the inventor of the detective fiction genre. Many antiquarian books such as this are becoming increasingly rare and expensive. We are republishing "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" now in an affordable, high-quality edition complete with a specially commissioned new biography of the author. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS2612 .A3 2007

Godfather, The
by Puzo, Mario

9780451205766Mario Puzo; Robert J. Thompson (Introduction by); Peter Bart (Afterword by); Nicholas Pileggi (Afterword by); Anthony Puzo (Notes by); Robert J. Thompson (Afterword by); Francis Ford Coppola (Introduction by)The Godfather50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION--WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA Mario Puzo's classic saga of an American crime family that became a global phenomenon -- nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read . With its brilliant and brutal portrayal of the Corleone family, The Godfather burned its way into our national consciousness. This unforgettable saga of crime and corruption, passion and loyalty continues to stand the test of time, as the definitive novel of the Mafia underworld. A #1 New York Times bestseller in 1969, Mario Puzo's epic was turned into the incomparable film of the same name, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is the original classic that has been often imitated, but never matched. A tale of family and society, law and order, obedience and rebellion, it reveals the dark passions of human nature played out against a backdrop of the American dream. With a Note from Anthony Puzo and an Afterword by Robert J. Thompson - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3566 .U9 G6 2002

by Stoker, Bram

9781591940036Bram Stoker; Beth Johnson (Editor, Afterword by)DraculaThe punctured throat, the coffin lid slowly opening, the unholy shriek as the stake pierces the heart¿these are just a few of the chilling images Bram Stoker unleashed upon the world with his 1897 masterpiece, Dracula. Inspired by the folk legend of nosferatu, the undead, Stoker created a timeless tale of gothic horror and romance that has enthralled and terrified readers ever since. A true masterwork of storytelling, Dracula has transcended generation, language, and culture to become one of the most popular novels ever written. It is a quintessential tale of suspense and horror, boasting one of the most terrifying characters ever born in literature: Count Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living, and whose diabolical passions prey upon the innocent, the helpless, and the beautiful. But Dracula also stands as a bleak allegorical saga of an eternally cursed being whose nocturnal atrocities reflect the dark underside of the supremely moralistic age in which it was originally written ¿ and the corrupt desires that continue to plague the modern human condition. The Dracula mythology has inspired a vast subculture, but the story has never been better told than by Stoker. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PR6037 .T617 D7

Killer Inside me, The
by Thompson, Jim

9781883011499Robert Polito (Editor); Jim Thompson; David Goodis; Patricia Highsmith; Charles Willeford; Chester B. HimesCrime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s - The Killer Inside Me; the Talented Mr. Ripley; Pick-Up; down There; the Real Cool KillersThis adventurous two-volume collection presents a rich vein of modern American writing too often neglected in mainstream literary histories. Evolving out of the terse and violent hardboiled style of the pulp magazines, noir fiction expanded over the decades into a varied and innovative body of writing. Tapping deep roots in the American literary imagination, the novels in this volume explore themes of crime, guilt, deception, obsessive passion, murder, and the disintegrating psyche. With visionary and often subversive force they create a dark and violent mythology out of the most commonplace elements of modern life. The raw power of their vernacular style has profoundly influenced contemporary American culture and writing. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries. - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS648 .D4 C697 1997

Anatomy of a Murder
by Traver, Robert

9780312033569Robert TraverAnatomy of a MurderFirst published by St. Martin's in 1958, Robert Traver's Anatomy of a Murder immediately became the number-one bestseller in America, and was subsequently turned into the successful and now classic Otto Preminger film. It is is not only the most popular courtroom drama in American fiction, but one of the most popular novels of our time. A gripping tale of deceit, murder, and a sensational trial, Anatomy of a Murder is unmatched in the authenticity of its settings, events, and characters. This new edition should delight both loyal fans of the past and an entire new generation of readers. "The characters are as fresh as when they were first created, the tension high, and the cross- examinations and legal chicanery full of suspense. The novel is simply what it says on the cover. A classic." - Tangled Web - Description from Syndetics
Call Number:
PS3543 .O4 A5 1958


Award Description
List compiled by the Mystery Writers of America.

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