Nabb, Magdalen (British, 1947-2007)
(Police Procedurals)
From 1975 until her untimely death in 2007, the British-born author Magdalen Nabb made her home in Florence Italy, the scene of her many novels featuring Marshal Guarnaccia of the Italian Carabinieri, or state police.   Rich in atmosphere, the stories are literate studies of setting   (painstakingly authentic) and character; Guarnaccia is a pensive, self-effacing man who abhors violence and evil, and does his best to eradicate them.   An ardent fan, and something of a protégée of Georges Simenon (he wrote the introduction to her third novel), Nabb's rather taciturn protagonist owes much to Simenon's Maigret.
Nadel, Barbara (British)
(Police Procedurals, Historical Mysteries)
Nominated for a CWA Gold Dagger for Best Novel of 2005, Nadel draws upon her family's Turkish roots for her fine series of nearly a dozen tales featuring Inspector Cetin Ikmen of the Istanbul Police.   Not content to leave it there, she has also authored four novels set in London during the Second World War, chronicling the exploits of undertaker and amateur sleuth Francis Hancock .
Nesbø, Jo (Norwegian, 1959- )
(Thrillers, Police Procedurals)
Rising star in the field of Nordic crime writing, Jo Nesbø is attracting new readers with the many translations (into thirty languages, at last count) of his bestselling series of intense novels featuring the flawed Harry Hole , a troubled police inspector based in Oslo.   The Norwegian book clubs awarded him a prize for best Norwegian crime novel ever written , for his personal favourite, The Redbreast .   Nesbø was also shortlisted for a Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Best International Crime Novel in both 2007 and 2009.   If dark plots built around complex characters is your thing, you must read this author.
Neville, Stuart
Nichol, James W.   (Canadian)
(Historical Mysteries)
Playwright and novelist James W. Nichol won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel with Midnight Cab , and was subsequently shortlisted for a 2004 Gold Dagger as well.   Nichol's second crime novel, Transgression , follows a young French woman during the Second World War while she searches for her father, making an unwise alliance that will come back to haunt her.   It was nominated in 2009 for an Ellis Award for Best Novel.   Death Spiral, Nichol's third novel, centers on the experiences of a Canadian soldier following the close of the war.   This time the protagonist is a Spitfire fighter pilot who survives serious injuries and returns home to rebuild his life, but it seems his wartime experiences have followed him back to Canada.   Well-researched and evocatively told, Nichol's standalone novels are rapidly and deservedly gaining him a wide audience.
Paretsky, Sara (American, 1947- )
Sara Paretsky’s hard-edged, larger-than-life heroine, V I Warshawski, burst on the scene in 1982’s Indemnity Only, and was perfectly suited to the times.  The outspoken and indefatigable private eye soon became an iconic figure in empowering women characters in literature, generating a legion of fans and earning her creator the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement in 2002, and a Gold Dagger for Best Novel (Blacklist) in 2004.  Her stories often go beyond the action thriller genre, focusing on issues that are in the forefront of the American social scene.  A founder and former President of Sisters in Crime, Paretsky is also a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers on America.  What more needs to be said?
Parker, Robert B. (American, 1932-2010)
(Police Procedurals)
An unabashed exponent of hard-boiled crime fiction (his doctoral thesis, written in just two weeks, was on the genre), over forty years Robert B. Parker turned out nearly forty novels documenting the exploits of his iconic Boston-based PI known simply as Spenser .   He's also responsible for half a dozen tales featuring ex-cop and PI Sunny Randall , and a rather darker series based on the exploits of a troubled New-England sheriff named Jesse Stone .   The prolific author has also written or co-written two tales featuring Chandler's Philip Marlowe , and over a dozen standalones and non-fiction works.   Winner of an Edgar Award for Best Novel for Promised Land , Parker was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2002.   Apart from Spenser, who considering his background seems remarkably well-adjusted, Parker's character-driven tales often involve flawed protagonists struggling to do the right thing in a world where that is increasingly difficult.   His writing is spare and crisp, and owes a lot to what might be termed the golden age of hardboileds, although he has extended and refined the genre considerably, influencing many writers in the process.   If you enjoy Hammett, Chandler and Ross MacDonald (and if you don't, what's wrong with you?) you must have a look at Parker.   For more information see the tribute on this site.
Pawson, Stuart (British, 1940- )
(Traditional Mysteries)
Pawson is the modest, self-effacing author of more than a dozen well-regarded novels featuring the exploits of Detective Inspector Charlie Priest, head of CID in the fictional Yorkshire mill town of Heckley.  Priest is engagingly human, and all of his characters are believable – sometimes disconcertingly so.  The stories are evocative, layered tales that feature often darkly humourous dialogue and a strong sense of place.   One of the most underrated crime writers in Britain today, Pawson’s novels are always to be savoured.
Peacock, Shane
Pears, Iain (British, 1955- )
(Thrillers, Historical Mysteries)
Oxford-educated Iain Pears has produced more than half a dozen finely-constructed tales featuring art historian Jonathan Argll and Flavia di Stefano, of Italy's Art Theft Squad; but it is in his standalone novels that this erudite, thoughtful writer really shines.   Set in Oxford during the 1660's, An Instance of the Fingerpost turns on the suspicious death of an academic, and perfectly captures the language, manners, and atmosphere of that turbulent time.   In contrast, The Dream of Scipio moves between three very different eras: the Fifth century Roman Empire, the Plague during the Fourteenth century, and World War II, following the fate of three men.   Pears followed that with The Portrait, which centers on the complex relation between an art critic and a painter near the turn of the Twentieth century, and his latest effort, Stone's Fall, is a backwards-moving tale concerning the events that led to the death of a global financier set against the backdrop of World War I.   One of the most creative yet disciplined minds in crime fiction today.
Pelecanos, George (American, 1957- )
(Police Procedurals, Thrillers)
Setting his stories in and around the nation's capital where he was born, Pelecanos nonetheless avoids the overworked genre of political thrillers and focuses instead on commonplace crimes involving ordinary people.   His skillful plotting, combined with his talent for developing sympathetic characters and an informed sense of setting, lift his novels from among the herd and have earned him a wide following.   Pelecanos has been nominated for Dagger, Anthony, Edgar and Shamus awards, and in 2007 won a Barry Award for Best Novel for The Night Gardener .   He has also won Italy's Raymond Chandler Award, the Grand Prix du Roman Noir in France, and Japan's Falcon Award, all indications of his exceptional talent.
Penny, Louise (Canadian, 1958- )
(Traditional Mysteries, Thrillers)
Louise Penny's literary career should motivate any aspiring author out there.   After a long career as a radio host in Canada, Penny submitted a manuscript for an unpublished crime novel for the Debut Dagger competition, hosted by the British-based Crime Writers Association.   It didn't win, but being shortlisted attracted the attention of a London agent.   The rest is history: it was published as Still Life , and went on to win the Arthur Ellis, Anthony, and Barry Awards for Best First Novel, and earned Penny a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list.   She's gone on to publish four more in the series to date, picking up nominations and/or prizes along the way for the Anthony, Macavity, Barry and Agatha Awards.   Set in Quebec, Penny's Inspector Gamache series features a French-Canadian homicide officer and his team, as they confront a series of puzzling murders in the deceptively tranquil village of Three Pines.
Penzler, Otto (ed.)
Perry, Anne (British, 1938- )
(Historical Cozies)
Since 1979 Anne Perry has been entertaining readers with her Victorian mysteries featuring the exploits of Charlotte and Thomas Pitt or William Monk.   More recently she's turned her hand to setting her tales amongst the trenches of the First World War.   Along the way she has garnered a Macavity Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award for Best Novel, and no less than three Agatha Awards for - you guessed it: Best Novel.   A fine author with an unerring eye and ear for period detail and the imagination to produce a compelling plot.
Persson, Leif GW.
Peters, Ellis (Elizabeth Pargeter) (British, 1913-1995)
(Forensics Mysteries, Historical Mysteries)
Author of a police procedural series featuring police detective George Felse , Peters (born Edith Pargeter) is better known for her string of medieval whodunits based on the exploits of 12 th -century Benedictine herbalist and sleuth Brother Cadfael .   In twenty tales she demonstrates that forensic plots need not be based on contemporary gadgets and techniques, by incorporating medieval methodology in crackling good puzzles.   A must read, even if historically-based tales are not your passion.
Pobi, Robert
Poe, Edgar Allan (American, 1809-1849)
(Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Historical Mysteries)
Generally accounted the inventor of the crime novel, and the namesake of the MWA's annual Edgar Awards for excellence in crime writing, Edgar Allan Poe set the stage for later writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, with his emphasis on the challenging puzzle at the heart of the tale.   His Murders in the Rue Morgue , published in 1841 and featuring detective August Dupin up against a homicidal primate in an apparently impossible crime, continues to enthrall (or outrage) readers to this day.
Powell, James
Price, Anthony (British, 1928- )
(Historical Mysteries, Spy Thrillers)
After a stint in the British military following WWII Anthony Price earned an MA from Oxford University, then served as editor of the Oxford Times, somehow finding the time to pen no less than nineteen British spy thrillers.  The cerebral tales centre on a counter-intelligence unit in the Ministry of Defense, and feature historian-turned-spy Dr. David Audley and his head of agency, Colonel Jack Butler.  Price attracted immediate attention when his debut novel, The Labyrinth Makers, earned its author a Silver Dagger in 1970.  His fifth novel, Other Paths to Glory, earned Price the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of1974, and was subsequently shortlisted for the Dagger of Daggers for Best Crime Novel of the past Fifty Years.  High praise indeed, and well deserved, for in the tradition of John Le Carré Price’s characters are nuanced, and his layered plots make for compelling reading.
Pronzini, Bill (American, 1943- )
Bill Pronzini is an American institution.   He is best known for his epic series of hard-boiled novels (34 to date) set in San Francisco and featuring a private investigator named, well, Nameless .   He has also penned two other series and over forty standalone novels and co-authored or edited too many works to mention here.   Pronzini's novels have been nominated for Shamus and Edgar Awards for Best Novel in 1997 and 1998, and he won the Shamus Award for Best Novel in 1982 and again in 1999.   He was also given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Private-Eye Writers of America, and in 2007 was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.
Quartey, Kwei
Qui, Xiaolong (Chinese/American)
(Police Procedurals)
Qui has carved out a respected niche authoring crime novels featuring Inspector (later Chief Inspector) Chen , and set against the backdrop of China during the Communist and post-Communist eras.   The tales are informed by the personal history of this Chinese-born author, and shed light on the tensions in that complex land.   Although a strong political element is woven into his tales, and invariably reflect his own biases, it is Qui's nuanced characterizations and confident grasp of settings that carry the day.   His literate tales rise above the genre of crime fiction.   Begin with When Red is Black for an engrossing tale of political correctness suffocating personal lives, and follow that with Red Manderin Dress , A Case of Two Cities , and his most recent offering, The Mao Case.
Rankin, Ian (Scottish, 1960- )
(Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Caper Tales)
The undisputed king of Tartan Noir, Ian Rankin has at last count received five honourary degrees and an OBE for his services to literature.  The Rebus novels are layered, nuanced works with wholly believable characters, fresh writing, a compelling plotline, and subtle shades of moral ambiguity that mark a master of crime fiction.  After penning seventeen ground-breaking and award-winning novels in the series, Rankin retired Rebus and moved on to create DI Malcolm Fox of the Complaints (or as North Americans would have it, Internal Affairs).  With two novels in the new series under his belt Rankin seems set to hold on to his crown. Years ago I said that no better writer, in or outside of crime fiction, exists today.  It still holds true. 
Redfern, Jon
Redmond, Christopher
Reichs, Kathy (American, 1950- )
(Thrillers, Forensics Mysteries)
Her credentials are impeccable: a forensic anthropologist for both the State of North Carolina and the province of Quebec, Canada, Reichs has participated in the investigation of crime scenes from Guatemala to Rwanda.   In 1997 she took home an Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel for Deja Dead , which went on to become a New York Times bestseller; since then she's penned a dozen crime novels featuring forensic sleuth Dr. Temperance Brennan , and which have formed the basis for her popular TV series, Bones .   Considered graphic when they first appeared, her novels have paled by comparison to others in more recent years.
Rendell, Ruth (British, 1930- )
(Psychological Thrillers, Police Procedurals)
The reigning queen of British psychological thriller writers, Ruth Rendell is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America.   She has won no less than three Edgar Awards from the MWA for Best Crime Novel, trumping that with four Gold Daggers and the Cartier Diamond Dagger (for lifetime achievement) from Britain's Crime Writers Association.   Her nearly two dozen Chief Inspector Wexford novels defined the genre of British police procedurals beginning in the mid-1960s, and continue to entertain readers today.   A prolific writer, under the pseudonym of Barbara Vine she has also penned fifteen mystery tales, along with twenty-six standalones and numerous anthologies, as well as non-fiction works, and has firmly established her place among the top tier of British crime writers. Writing under her pen name, Ruth Rendell has, over the past twenty years, delivered over a dozen finely-crafted standalone thrillers with an emphasis on psychological suspense.   In 1987 she won an Edgar Award for Best Novel, for A Dark Adapted Eye , and has as well two Edgars for her short stories.   Rendell's writing challenges the distinction between popular and literary fiction by raising important social issues rooted in her conviction that we live in a fundamentally amoral world.
ReynoldsJohn Lawrence (Canadian, 1939 – present) 
Some people get off to a formidable start right out of the gate.  Reynold’s debut novel, The Man Who Murdered God (1989), garnered the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.  Over the next fourteen years it was followed by five other novels in the Joe McGuire series, including 1993’s Gypsy Sins, which earned him a second Arthur Ellis Award, this time for Best Novel.  Reynolds has also published more than a dozen non-fiction titles, several dealing with true crime.  In 2012 he returned to crime fiction with Beach Strip, the compelling tale of a police detective’s widow trying to get to the bottom of her husband’s apparent suicide.  A past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Reynolds was born and raised in Hamilton, receiving, he insists, the best possible training for a novelist: a life of poverty and squalor.  He and his wife Judy still make their home in Hamilton, Ontario.
Richards, Linda L.   (Canadian)
(Hard-boiled, Thrillers)
Canadian crime writer Linda Richards has two series going.   The Madeline Carter novels follow the exploits of a stockbroker from The Big Apple who moves to L.A. in search of some sanity.   (Go figure.)   What she gets is more grief than she expected, involving insider trading, Hollywood intrigue, and the death of her ex-husband.   Her second, and to my mind more interesting, tales are set in L. A. during the Depression, and center on private eye Dexter Theroux and his secretary Kitty Pangborn .   Kitty spends much of her time trying to keep Dexter from getting in over his head, and Richards' tales ( Death Was the Other Woman, Death Was in the Picture ) perfectly capture the flavour of those turbulent times.
Rimington, Stella
Ripley, Ann (American, 1957- )
The old adage says, write what you know about.   Ann Ripley has applied that dictum to produce a series of entertaining tales with a gardening theme.   But beware: as another saying goes, as ye sow, so shall ye reap...
Ripley, Mike
Robb, Candace (British, 1950- )
(Historical Mysteries)
Candace Robb draws on her postgraduate studies in medieval history to skillfully detail the exploits of Owen Archer , dispatched to solve a number of mysteries plaguing the Church, his tasks taking him from the archdiocese of York to Windsor Castle to Wales, the country of his birth.   Of special appeal to fans of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael novels.   Robb's second series features Margaret Kerr , an amateur sleuth in 13 th -century Scotland, drawn by her husband's death into the political machinations of those troubled times.
Roberts, Gillian
Robinson, Peter (British/Canadian, 1950- )
(Police Procedurals)
One of the strongest crime writers around, Peter Robinson has penned almost twenty Inspector Banks novels over the past two decades.   His debut novel, Gallows View , was shortlisted for both a John Creasey Award and the Canadian Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.   Subsequent works have earned him two Edgar and four Macavity nominations for Best Novel, to which he has added no less than three Arthur Ellis Awards and an Anthony award for Best Novel.   An engaging protagonist that is Everyman, constantly struggling to do what is right, Banks struggles to cope with challenges in both his professional and personal lives, and his passion for Jazz is an added bonus for readers.   Robinson's multilayered tales just keep getting better and better, and fans of the Yorkshire-based series can savour the work of a writer at the peak of his powers.
Rose, Michael E.   (Canadian)
With but three novels under his belt, Michael Rose is quickly attracting the attention of thriller fans around the world.   A journalist and former Chief of Communications and Publications for Interpol, Rose draws on his experience to fashion crisp tales that bristle with authenticity.   His novels to date feature the exploits of Canadian investigastive journalist Frank Delaney , and focus on Polish art treasures that disappeared during World War Two ( The Mazovia Legacy ), a Canadian spy who has gone missing in Bangkok ( The Burma Effect ), and a victim of the 2004 Tsunami whose identity is being concealed by the very persons responsible for identifying the dead ( The Tsunami File ).   Finely-crafted stories from someone who's been there.
Rotenberg, Robert
Rowe, Rosemary
Rowlands, Betty (British, 1923- )
(Contemporary Cozies, Police Procedurals)
Centering on the investigations of crime-writer and amateur sleuth Melissa Craig , Rowlands has fashioned a dozen entertaining novels set in the Cotswolds that make agreeable bedtime reading.   She has also authored a series of traditional tales featuring the investigations of DC Susan (Sukey) Reynolds , a Crime Scene Investigator.
Rowse, Sharon
Rozan, S. J. (American)
(Traditional Mysteries)
Native New Yorker S. J. Rozan trained as an architect before adding crime writing to her formidable list of accomplishments.  The author of more than a dozen crime novels and the editor or co-editor of several anthologies, her work has received widespread acclaim, earning her in the process no less than two Edgar awards, five Shamus awards, three Anthony awards, and a Macavity for good measure.  She runs six-word story contests from her website, and an unabashed jock, Rozan counts being a Knicks fan among her obsessions.  When she is not running summer writing workshops in Italy she makes her home in New York’s Greenwich Village.  As they say, life is tough.
Ryan, William