Friday, February 29, 2008

The Rap Sheet's "Crime Writers to Read Before You Die"

Britain's Daily Telegraph recently attempted to create a list of “Fifty Crime Writers to Read Before You Die.” Inevitably, not everyone was in agreement with the tally.

The incomparable crime site The Rap Sheet now wants to improve that list -- or generate another which addresses some shortcomings of the Telegraph's list.

The Rap Sheet editor J. Kingston Pierce writes:
How could the Telegraph folks have failed to mention Ross Macdonald and Rex Stout, for instance? Or how about James M. Cain, Ross Thomas, Laura Lippman, John Harvey, James Crumley, Val McDermid, Ellery Queen, Ian Rankin, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, Ken Bruen, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Martin Cruz Smith?

But hey, we’re not here to complain. We’re here to help ... and maybe enlighten and entertain as we go along.

Ever since that Telegraph article appeared, we have been thinking that it wouldn’t be a half-bad idea to come up with a must-read list of our own. We won’t limit it falsely to 50 books and authors, but will feature as many names as seems appropriate. However, we will restrict this list to one book per author, so it looks like we’ll finally have to answer the question, “Is Chandler’s The Long Goodbye really better than his Farewell, My Lovely?

In this venture, we are asking for your assistance. What do you think are the crime, mystery, and thriller novels that every fan ought to read before he or she dies? We’d especially like to hear from the many published crime novelists who read The Rap Sheet. But we are also curious to know what books other readers suggest.
Read the full post for more details, then lend your voice to the enterprise.

--Marshal Zeringue