Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Telegraph's 110 best books

The (U.K.) Telegraph came up with "the perfect library," 110 books across several categories--classics, poetry, literary fiction, romantic fiction, etc.--that comprise the ultimate reading list.

Here are the books from the "crime" section:

The Talented Mr Ripley
Patricia Highsmith

Tom Ripley is one of 20th-century literature's most disturbingly fascinating characters: a suave, charming serial killer, who's utterly amoral in his pursuit of la dolce vita.

The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett

A tale of greed and deceit that's also the archetypal work of 20th-century detective fiction: complete with flawed hero (Sam Spade), femme fatale and a convoluted plot that unravels grippingly.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It's one of literature's most wonderful ironies that Conan Doyle himself became a spiritualist so soon after creating the most famously rational character in all literature.

The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler

His oeuvre may be small, but with the help of long-time protagonist PI Philip Marlowe – who appears here for the first time – Chandler helped define the genres of detective fiction and, later, film noir.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
John le Carré

Le Carré, master of the Cold War novel, follows British spymaster George Smiley as he tries to uncover a Moscow mole, and faces his KGB nemesis, Karla.

Red Dragon
Thomas Harris

Hannibal Lecter's second literary appearance sees him called upon by old FBI chum (and near-victim) Will Graham, to help solve the case of the serially morbid 'Tooth Fairy'.

Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

From Istanbul to London, Hercule Poirot's little grey cells rattle away to improbable effect as he untangles the mystery of the life and violent death of a sinister passenger.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe

Poe's blackly ingenious tale of brutal murder in 19th-century Paris establishes C. Auguste Dupin, a man of 'peculiar analytic ability', as the model for pretty much every intellectual detective to come.

The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins

A sensational 19th-century epistolary tale of women in peril adds one of the most charismatic, refined and straightforwardly fat villains to the pantheon.

Elmore Leonard

Leonard is known for his pithy dialogue and freaky characters. Here he manages to create a sweatily suspenseful thriller, with a married couple as the unexpected heroes.

Read about the books to make the "history" section.

--Marshal Zeringue