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She created a world that manages to be reassuring yet fraught with danger.TC Read: The Tiger in the Smoke (1952) Charles Dickens 1812-1870 Like his friend Wilkie Collins, Dickens was obsessed with crime.SR Read: Bleak House (1852-3) Georges Simenon 1903-1989 Fabulously prolific Belgian master, said to have schtupped more than 10,000 ladies and written more than 300 novels.We don’t know how long he spent on each lady, but he reckoned to write 60 pages of fiction a day.We believe any serious reader will profit from acquaintance with any of the writers on this list.And, just because we love you, as a bonus 51st entry we interview Robert B Parker - an unrivalled pulp stylist who may be the best crime writer you've never read.A whole school of modern detectives still walks in Maigret’s large footprints.SL Read: The Yellow Dog (1931) Agatha Christie 1890-1976 Christie did not have the purest prose style and she played hard and fast with the genre's rules but in Marple and Poirot, she invented two of our most enduring literary characters.
The detectives of Isola's 87th Precinct wise-cracked for half a century, and their spare style was the prime influence on Hill Street Blues.TC Read: Peril at End House (1932) Wilkie Collins 1824-1889 The Moonstone established the genre's ground rules: red herrings; a long list of suspects; the man from Scotland Yard, and a nod to a pressing social issue, in this case opium addiction.TC Read: The Moonstone (1868) Jonathan Latimer 1906-83 Admired for his William Crane novels of the 1930s, which parodied hard-boiled crime fiction.His greatest creation was Maigret, an unassuming detective with a brain like a sponge and the quiet moral determination of a true hero. The best of the novels drop Simenon’s detective into a social environment in which, by doing very little, he unravels a whole world of secrets and interconnections.So it is in The Yellow Dog, in which a small town in the gloomy off-season gives up its private passions one by one to the detective’s patient observation.
She brought psychological realism and darker themes to crime fiction in novels such as Talking to Strange Men and Live Flesh. 1895-1982 A New Zealander who created a quintessentially English detective, the dishy Roderick Alleyn, who featured in 32 sparkling novels.