100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century


100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century


Selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association

The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association list of 100 favorite mysteries of the 20th century represents the accumulated wisdom of the most knowledgeable people in the business. These are the books that we most enjoy, the books we present to our customers over and over again, and the books that we ourselves return to when we want to visit with cherished friends. In this book, we journey through our list of 100, with reviews contributed by booksellers across the United States and Canada. The book also features individual booksellers' list of titles that did not make the final list of 100 but should have, insights about mysteries and what our favorites mean to us, a directory of independent booksellers specializing in mysteries and, finally, a shopping list with current publication information about our 100 favorites.

The new fourth printing (February 2006) updates the bookseller directory and the shopping list, and adds an index, making this book more useful than ever.

Agatha Award Winner | Anthony Award Winner | Macavity Award Nominee
for Best Non-fiction of 2000!

Paperback | ISBN: 978-0-9625804-6-8 | 2000 | $12.00

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Praise for 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century

The Crum Creek Press has given us an amusing little book: 100 Favorite Mysteries, edited by Jim Huang. Members of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association greet the true end of the century by choosing a favorite mystery, and the result is idiosyncratic and often intriguing.

Most of the obvious choices are here - Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie's "Roger Ackroyd," Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep" - but the pleasure in this collection, which lists its honorees by decade, is in seeing which writers from the last 20 years these knowledgeable people believe will last. Robert Barnard is represented by "Death by Sheer Torture," which strikes me as more than idiosyncratic, whereas K. C. Constantine is introduced with "The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes," which strikes me as precisely right. (Both books are from 1982.) This compilation can be used to find books one had meant to read and never did - I am in the midst of "Crocodile on the Sandbank," by Elizabeth Peters (1975), and a splendid book it is - or to guide a novice into fascinatingly diverse examples of the genre. Some of the reviews themselves are a bit quixotic, and at times they were written as though they were fan letters, which actually adds to the attractiveness of this slim volume.

-- Robin W. Winks in The Boston Globe

Who better to ask to pick a good mystery than the owner of a mystery bookstore? How about the owners of 38 mystery bookstores? Someone did, and the result is 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century (Crum Creek Press, $12.00, 160 pages), selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association and edited by Jim Huang. This perceptively annotated list is an absolute must for anyone who reads more than five mysteries a year, and it would serve equally well as a guide for the totally uninitiated....

If you violently disagree with some of the choices, you’re not alone. Dissenting booksellers involved in the project submitted their own minority reports, which make up the second half of the book and are as interesting to read as the winning entries. You won’t go wrong with any of the books on the list, but it’s a sad reflection on the modern publishing world that nearly one quarter of the books picked (24) are no longer in print. Even so, you’re going to have to make lots of room on your to-be-read stack for the mysteries this list is going to send you off looking for.

-- The Denver Post

... a delightful new book called 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century. The 100 were picked by members of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, a North American organization of some 60 dealers in crime fiction... The procedures set up by the IMBA to arrive at the choice 100 seem to have been complex but scrupulously fair and balanced, and in addition to many other virtues, the final picks present readers with the material for much instruction, discussion and screaming fits of disagreement.

In format, the book offers 100 short essays, one per novel, written by various bookstore owners, the people who ought to know the genre more thoroughly than we humble readers and reviewers... 100 Favorite Mysteries also provides a second section in which the booksellers are invited to add supplementary lists of five or fewer titles that didn't survive the cut to the big 100. This cover-all-the-bases tactic proves to be wise, since the authors who failed to make the final list include such masters from the past as Georges Simenon and such rising stars of the present as Ian Rankin.

Many of the essays are lovely and surprising bits of writing...

-- Jack Batten in The Toronto Star

Yesterday I received [an advance reading copy] in the mail from Jim Huang, Director of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. The title of this book is 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century. This looked so intriguing that I put aside the review books I should have been reading to jump into this one. And I was right to do so. It was absolutely captivating.

Part I simply lists the 100 books by the decade in which they were published. Of course, my first step was to determine how many of them I had read. I was pleased to find that I had read over half of them, but that leaves me with a great many to find and read. Following the list is what is called ‘descriptions,’ but are in reality essays and reviews. Each book is discussed by one of the booksellers who participated. It was delightful to find how well these booksellers knew their books and were able to provide the flavor and the justification for including that book. I read those essays voraciously and enjoyed every single one of them.

Part II allowed each business who wished to comment on the list and also to submit a list of up to five titles that did not make the final list, but should have. So now there is even more reading to do! The comments are most interesting. One book story owner remarked that they had set up a reading group for the purpose of reading or rereading every single one of these books. This is a very fine idea.

This is a delicious cornucopia for the mystery reader. What a wonderful resource to check our reading. My recommendation to you is to get a copy of this in your hot little hands as soon as it is available (which is December of 2000). You will find it fascinating, useful, and provocative. And you'll probably want to pick up copies for your friends and relatives for Christmas gifts as well. And, best of all, you can buy a copy from your local independent mystery book store. What could be more fitting?"

-- Sally Fellows on DorothyL (an internet mystery mailing list)

More about the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association can be found at www.mysterybooksellers.com