Friday, August 11, 2006

100 Greatest Books?

To celebrate its 60th anniversary Penguin Classics has compiled a list of the 100 greatest books. And in the crime category:

The Best Crimes

Maigret and the Ghost - Georges Simenon
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Thirty-Nine Steps - John Buchan

Full list in The Times. Categories include, The Best Crazies and The Best Minxes!

You can also post your comment about the choices on The Times website.


Maxine Clarke said...

I note the odd omission of Dasheiell Hammett. Odd becuase penguin certainly publish(ed) him -- I have old penguin editions of most of his books.
He was the true original master in my opinion.

Another interesting aspect of these lists, this one included, is in the past 60 years the most recent entry is either the Simenon or the Buchan. (The former I think, without looking?). Are they saying that there haven't been any "classic" crime books since then?
I'm sure we could suggest more recent "classic" writers.
(I made a similar criticism of a list chosen by P D James recently, which had only one modern author on it.)

Returning to their list, I think that "The Moonstone" is probably Collns' more "classic" crime book than TWIW because the Moonstone featured a professional detective, one of the first such depictions, I think???? They also miss out Christie and Allingham, both of which I believe were published by Penguin?
I know you can never include everyone on these lists, and they are highly subjective. Maybe we should create our own list from among a selected few bloggers?!

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

I have to confess I've read very few of the 100 and only one of the crime selection. Birmingham library doesn't have the Maigret book alas as I'd like to try it. It was published in 1964. Based on my tv viewing of the BBC productions, I'd take The Moonstone over The Woman in White as well.
For Christie I'd suggest The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and Murder on the Orient Express (1934). I haven't got on very well with Allingham but the one most well spoken of is (I believe) The Tiger in the Smoke (1952).
I wonder what's in Penguin's modern classic, crime section?