by Julia Buckley
According to the online members of the Mystery Booksellers Association, these are the 100 favorite mysteries of the 20th century.
Naturally, after stumbling across this list, I had to check and see how many I had read. I love mysteries and I've been reading them for about 30 years, so I should have read almost all of them, right?
Well, no. But a respectable sampling at 37 books. And what a wonderful list I now have to choose from! There are some writers here that I look at and say, "Why have I never read that book?" Two that jump out at me are James Lee Burke and Lawrence Block--names I've heard many times, but whose work I haven't really explored (I've read one Burke novel but I've been told it was the "wrong" series to start with).
There are also a couple of names here that I've never heard of, like K.C. Constantine and Janet Neel (not due to their lack of fame, but to my ignorance).
This is one of the reasons that people continue to compile lists--because people like me love them. They are fun to read, fun to compare with one's own choices, and fun to use as fodder for future purchases or library visits.
I'm thrilled to see that both Ross MacDonald and his wife Margaret Millar are on the list--I've read all of their work, not to mention a couple of biographies of MacDonald (who is many ways was an unhappy man, but perhaps that was what tinged his writing with such sad beauty).
The biggest surprise to me is that the great Mary Stewart isn't on the list--perhaps because her books were classified as "suspense," as were the books of people like Phyllis A. Whitney. But if I made my own list--and maybe I will--those two would certainly be on it; their books aren't that far in structure from the Josephine Tey novel listed here.
Anyway, it's another fun list of some undeniably wonderful titles.
What would you add? What does it make you want to read?