Daily Telegraph: 50 crime writers to read

…before you die.

I agree with many, some I don’t know. However, the most glaring omission is Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer. The Continental Op and Spade were tough guys, Phillip Marlowe was the cynical, reluctant hero, Lew Archer was a different guy. He was willing to sacrifice himself for the better of others, something neither Spade nor Marlowe would be able to do. Archer was the Christ figure to Marlowe’s Avenging Angel and Hammett’s blonde Satan. Archer is an essential part of the “big three” of hardboiled crime fiction. I can see how they’ve left out John D. MacDonald, whose Travis McGee is very quintissentially American. And he’s very much of a specific time, where as the “big three” are timeless.

I don’t know how they could include Robert Crais and not Dennis Lehane. Elvis Cole was a gimmick, a joke before people like Lehane and Pelecanos started getting published. It’s people like the latter two that made Crais write LA Requiem, arguably his most important novel to date. I think even Crais acknowledges Elvis Cole is a joke as he seems to be more focused on writing Joe Pike novels.

Anyone else enjoy crime fiction?

It’s a very broad list, with a much more English and international focus than I’m familiar with, but including Mickey Spillane and leaving out Rex Stout equals automatic irrelevancy to me.

And leaving out John Le Carre is weak fucking sauce.

Only two Swedes and no Norwegians? Psh, I trust the Germans more.

There’s a bunch of old guys I don’t know. Some glaring omissions and I don’t trust their pick on the Scandinavians. They know Sweden exist but ignore Sjöwall and Wahlöö. Not good.
But I suspect this is the reason why the list is missing stuff:

All these books are available from Telegraph Books (0870 428 4112)

I love Le Carre but wouldn’t put him on a list of “crime writers”–so I’m okay with his omission here. But yeah there’s some ridiculous shit on here.

Hah–that “Telegraph Books” thing definitely seems to be the smoking gun.

No Michael Connolly? No Thomas Harris (though I guess it’s arguable if he qualifies)?

I don’t know why not. Something like Our Game or The Constant Gardner seem just as much a “crime novel” as The Talented Mr. Ripley.

I think in about 10 years we might see Charlie Huston edging on these kinds of lists.

I just finished my second by him, “Six Bad Things,” and if all his books are this good, I think I may agree with you.

Far be it for me to defend the Torygraph, but they probably count him as a spy story writer rather than a cime writer. I agree with you about Rex Stout though.

Pelecanos and Ellroy made the list. I’m happy with it.

They include an interview with Robert Parker, but he’s not even on the list?