SEVEN GREAT CRIME NOVELS
Recommended by Cormac Millar
The field of crime writing is broad and varied. Dante's Inferno, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Homer's Odyssey could be cited as illustrious examples. They certainly contain enough violence, detection and treachery. But let's look at genre novels, ones that may count as good literature because they're so well written, but that start out unashamedly as thrillers or crime fiction. I'd like to list some favourites from the modern era. My choices (and exclusions) will betray my allergy to voyeuristic violence, my distaste for authoritarian or fascist ideology, my liking for character, my preference for patterned rather than linear action. Some of these books depict closed worlds, others are open and fluid. Some contain critiques of social or political corruption, others work purely on the personal scale.
1. THE GALTON CASE, by Ross Macdonald.
2. FADEOUT by Joseph Hansen.
3. TO EACH HIS OWN by Leonardo Sciascia.
4. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY by John Le Carré.
5. THE US OR THEM WAR by William Garner.
6. MIRROR MIRROR by Stanley Ellin.
7. SMALLBONE DECEASED by Michael Gilbert.
On second thoughts, seven may not be quite enough. What about Chandler, Connelly, James Lee Burke, Dibdin, Lucarelli, Montalbán, John Mortimer, Simenon? Still, the list above may include one or two you haven't read.