Saturday, February 6, 2010

The final spot on the classic crime curriculum

Yesterday I posted the nine of the books that would form the Classic Crime Fiction Curriculum - a list of must read, pre-1970 crime novels. There is one space left on the list. The following books all came joint tenth, but I can only pick one. The question is which one? Which of these fifteen books is an ideal complement to the nine already selected? Let me know your choice and the reason why and, based on the responses, I'll select the tenth book for the curriculum.

John Buchan. The Thirty Nine Steps
James Cain, Double Indemnity
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White
Edmund Crispin, The Moving Toyshop
Agatha Christie, Five Little Pigs
Agatha Christie, Murder at the Vicarage
Ngaio Marsh, A Surfeit of Lampreys
Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
Edgar Allen Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, Roseanna
Mickey Spillane, I, The Jury
Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time
Cornell Woolrich, The Bride Wore Black

12 comments:

Dorte H said...

Well, this is difficult as I really like six of these authors.

But as you already have a number of British and American classics, I want to speak up for the Scandinavian classic, Roseanna. Sjöwall and Wahlöö had a major influence on most of the Scandinavian writers the whole world read today so I think they deserve ´the final spot´.

Uriah Robinson said...

I also chose Roseanna and agree their influence is such that they should be represented.

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - Dorte and Norman are exactly right. Sjöwall and Wahlöö had a profound influence on modern crime fiction, and for that alone, they deserve a place in the curriculum.

Deb said...

I came here to recommend Rosanna, because for newcomers to crime fiction it's important to understand that it's not exclusively an Anglo-American thing, and I see that everyone here so far feels the same way.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think there is a case to be made for the Tey, my husband is using it on a course right now on Princes, Kings and Presidents. Very inventive use of history in a plot And also the Mickey Spillane. But like the rest my heart lies with Roseanna. I certainly wouldn't chose a second book from anyone-Wilkie Collins would be a good one, too though.

SandyL said...

I love three of the books on the list for the final spot. Any one of these would be a great addition to the curriculum:

Gaudy Night, one of my personal top books
Daughter of Time, a real classic to read and reread
Thirty-nine steps, terrific

hard to choose!!!

Maxine said...

Yes, I'd go for a bit of geographical adventure, and plump for Rosanna, though many of those "joint tenth" books are very good indeed.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Roseanna certainly deserves the right to be represented due to its influence in today's crime fiction.

seana said...

Wow, this looks like it's going to be surprisingly easy, which is good, as I would have had no idea how to choose. I'll vote for Roseanna too, as apparently there is no Swedish crime representation, and given their current status in crime, there certainly ought to be!

J. Kingston Pierce said...

As much as I would like to cast my vote for Ross Macdonald's The Moving Target (since I'm a big Macdonald fan), given the present mix of titles on your list, I have to side with others here and say you should pick Roseanna, by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.

Cheers,
Jeff

Jerry House said...

A tough decision, but I would have to go with The Woman in White. Richer than The Moonstone, TWIW has been a major influence on the field since it was published. Besides, Baron Fosco is one of the great all-time villians.

My runner-up vote would go to I, the Jury.

Craig said...

You should include one of John Dickson Carr's locked-room mysteries, or even better something from Erle Stanley Gardner (as himself or A.A. Fair) or my personal favorite, Jonathan Latimer ("The Lady in the Morgue," for instance). The real mystery here is: how did Wilkie Collins get on this twice?