Abbott, Victoria  (Pen-name of Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini, Canadians)
Since 1999 Mary Jane Maffini has been entertaining readers with more than a dozen humourous mysteries in three different series.  Now she’s teamed up with her daughter Victoria, and under the name of Victoria Abbott they’re proving that it’s possible to write collectively and engagingly and still remain the best of friends.  Having made their debut with The Christie Curse, about a missing manuscript, the pair’s next effort will continue the theme with The Sayers Swindle.  A talented duo that suggests it’s in the genes.
Akunin, Boris (Grigor Tchkhartichvili) (Russian, 1956-)
(Historical Mysteries)
First appearing on the crime-writing scene in 2003, Akunin soon claimed an enviable niche as the author of two well-regarded and highly original series of tales featuring amateur sleuths and set primarily in tsarist Russia.   The first centers on the gentleman sleuth Erast Fandorin ; the second focuses on the exploits of a Russian nun, Sister Pelagia .   Akunin's debut crime novel, The Winter Queen , won him a Dagger nomination for Best Novel of 2003.   What Agatha Christie would have written had she been born in Russia.
Albert, Susan Wittig

Allin, Lou (Canadian-American, 1945- )
Toronto-born Lou Allin earned her doctorate in English Renaissance Literature in the U.S. before signing on as a professor of English at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario.   She based her first series of mysteries featuring realtor Belle Palmer in the surrounding landscape of Northern Ontario; the tales include Northern Winters are Murder, Blackflies are Murder, Bush Poodles are Murder, Murder, Eh? and Memories are Murder .   Readers may sense a theme here.   After moving to Vancouver Island, she begana new series of mysteries featuring RCMP corporal Holly Martin , the first being And on the Surface Die .   Its sequel, scheduled for 2010, is titled She Felt No Pain .   Allin has also penned three standalone works.

Allingham, Margery (British, 1904-1966)
(Historical Mysteries, Cozies)
Along with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Allingham formed the triumvirate of British mystery writers during the Golden Age of crime fiction during the thirties and forties.   By the time of her death in 1966 she had penned more than two dozen tales featuring the deceptively bland amateur sleuth Albert Campion, who lives, conveniently, above a police station in Piccadilly.   Memorably filmed for television, featuring Peter Davison as Campion and Brian Glove as Lugg, an ex-burglar and Campion's eccentric manservant.   It is a mark of her talent that, fifty years after her death, Allingham's books continue to attract readers.


Andrews, Donna (American,
(Humourous mysteries, Cozies)
Born in Yorktown, Virginia, the prolific Donna Andrews Andrews has carved out a career as the chronicler of the comic adventures of amateur sleuth Meg Langslow.   Her dozen titles to date include Stork Raving Mad, Swan for the Money, Six Geese a-Slaying, Cockatiels at Seven, Owl's Well That Ends Well, Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon - well, you get the idea.   She's also penned a series of computer-based tales featuring virtual personality Turing Hopper .   Blessed with a deliciously sly sense of humour Andrews has garnered an Agatha Award for Best Novel of 2002, as well as no less than five subsequent Agatha nominations for Best Novel.   If you like a good laugh and can put your skeptical skills on hold, you'll enjoy her work.

Atkinson, Kate (British, 1951- )
(Thrillers, Police Procedurals)
Featuring ex-cop turned private investigator, Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series moves throughout Britain, shifting easily from the present to the past and back again, and showcasing her remarkable ability to create finely crafted, literate tales about intersecting lives.   First published in 1995, it's pushing language to term Atkinson an emerging writer, but her more recent forays into the genre of crime fiction make her an author well worth looking at.


Baantjer, A. C.   (Dutch, 1923- )
(Police Procedurals)
Author of the popular Inspector DeKok mysteries, A. C. Baantjer is himself a former Inspector in the Amsterdam Police.   His novels, many of which are available in English, have been translated into several languages, and some have also been filmed and are the focus of a long-running TV series, albeit in Dutch.


Baby, Andre K.

Baldacci, David (American, 1960- )
A man of many talents, author David Baldacci has three series running concurrently - including a series for young readers known as Freddy and the French Fries - and an impressive list of standalone novels.   Fast-paced, with plenty of twists and turns, his works have sold 90 million copies, have been published in at least forty-five languages, and some have been filmed as well.   It's a hard call as to Baldacci's best work, but I'd go with his standalones.

Bale, Tom (David Harrison) (British, 1966- )
A promising UK writer, Bale debuted with Sins of the Father in 2006, which was strongly written and well-received, but coming from a small publishing house, not widely read.   He followed that with Skin and Bones (2009, reviewed here), and cranked the tension up a notch in 2010's Terror's Reach .   With a distinctive voice and strong plotting, Bale is a writer to watch.

Ballem, John (Canadian, 1925-2010)
(Cozies, Thrillers)
Very much a gentleman of the Old School, lawyer and former Navy pilot John Ballem drew on his professional knowledge, interests and world travels to pen over a dozen mysteries, as well as poetry and legal texts, over more than three decades, before he died suddenly in 2010.   Among his most memorable works are The Judas Conspiracy, Sacrifice Play, Oilpatch Empire, Murder as a Fine Art, and A Victim of Convenience .   His short story "Rigged to Blow" was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award in 1998.

Barclay, Linwood (Canadian)
(Thrillers, Humourous Mysteries)
Novelist Linwood Barclay has been entertaining readers for the past several years with his tongue-in-cheek Zack Walker series, about a know-it-all journalist who moves his family from the big city to the suburbs in search of a safer environment.   What he gets is anything but, and over the space of several novels his protagonist is lumbered with crooked land developers, sadistic killers, and radical anarchists seeking to commit mayhem.   Did I mention suburban dominatrix?   A side-splitting series that will leave you wanting more, but no such luck: Barclay has moved on to thrillers, and it has paid off handsomely.   His first novel in that genre, No Time to Say Goodbye, follows the saga of a young girl who returns home from school to find her entire family missing.   They are never found, and twenty-five years later she is still trying to rebuild her life when events make it necessary to revisit those dark days.   The book proved to be the breakout novel for Barclay, and his sequel, Too Close to home earned Barclay a 2009 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel, and in the process jumped to the top of the bestseller charts in the UK.   For those who have not yet read Linwood Barclay, pick up one of his novels.   Any one; they're all good.


Barnard, Robert (British, 1936-2013 )
(Traditional mysteries, humourous mysteries)
For four decades Robert Barnard entertained readers with his sly sense of humour.  Of his four series, the Perry Trethowan books feature a London-based CID Inspector called upon to solve cases that real-world coppers can only dream of, while his Charlie Peace tales provided the Oxford-educated author to showcase his mordant wit.  Add to the mix nearly two dozen standalones and scholarly studies of Dickens, Christie, and Emily Bronte and you have an impressive body of highly original and immensely readable work.  Nominated several times for Edgar Awards, and holder of the 2003 Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, the Yorkshire-born writer deftly wove borderline farce with insightful social commentary to produce erudite stories that both educated and entertained.


Barr, Nevada (American, 1952- )
They say write what you know about.   Author of the highly successful Anna Pigeon series, Barr has carved out an original and refreshing niche featuring the exploits of a female National Parks ranger in such disparate settings as the Sierras of California, Colorado, the American Southwest, Texas, Michigan, New York City, the Deep South, and the Florida Keys.   Her novels have been nominated for three Anthony Awards and a Macavity; not surprising when you learn that Barr was herself a park ranger in many of the settings she so skillfully describes.
Barris, Chuck

Bateman, Colin (Irish, 1962- )
(Humourous Mysteries, Thrillers)
Perhaps Colin Bateman's irrepressible wit can be best explained by his land of birth; it can't have been easy growing up in Northern Ireland during what are still referred to euphemistically as the Troubles.   Whatever the cause, his eccentric black humour is infectious. In fifteen years the prolific author has penned no less than five series and, for good measure, a dozen standalones.   In his spare time Colin also writes scripts for films and television.   For a showcase of his diverse talents try Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men, Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett, Mohammed Maguire, and The Day of the Jack Russell .   I guarantee you'll be back for more.

Batten, Jack
Beaton, M. C.   (Marion Chesney) (British)
(Cozies, Humourous Puzzles)
The Scottish-born author returns to her roots with her widely popular Hamish Macbeth novels, over two dozen colourful tales about an offbeat police constable trying to maintain peace in the remote village of Lochdubh, far in the Scottish highlands.   A delightful series, as much for the cast of off-beat, colourful characters as for the puzzles Hamish encounters.   Beaton has also penned almost as many tales set in the Cotswolds, and featuring newcomer-to-the-village and amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin .   The flavour of these tales, which owe much to Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories, is sufficiently revealed by the title of her debut novel in the series: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.   'Nuff said.
Benison, C. C. (Douglas Whiteway) (Canadian)
(Traditional Mysteries)
The author of five novels to date, C. C. Benison has launched a new series of British village-based puzzle tales featuring a vicar named Tom Christmas (giving rise, predictably, to the name of Father Christmas).  But don’t be put off by the word-play; the series features a cast of characters interesting enough to sustain the series, living out their lives (in some cases literally) in the quaint village of Thornford Regis.  It’s all very Agatha-you-know-who, but with a slightly edgier and more contemporary feel to it.  And crucially, the protagonist has a backstory that will sustain further tales.  The series will appeal to readers in search of an entertaining alternative to the spate of serial killers and zombies currently dominating crime writing.
Bidulka, Anthony (Canadian)
(Humourous Mysteries, Action Thrillers)
A campy and original voice with an engaging protagonist - Russell Quant is a gay PI based, of all places, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.   Bidulka populates his novels with a delightful mix of eccentrics, transports them to exotic places, and moves the plot along at a zany pace.   Great fun.   Winner of the Lambda Literary Award, Best Gay Men's Mystery, in 2004, and shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel (2003), and the Lambda Literary Award, Best Men's Mystery, in 2007 and 2008.
Billingham, Mark (British)
(Police Procedurals, Thrillers)
With nearly a dozen novels to his credit Mark Billingham is hardly what you'd term a new writer.   But the Birmingham-born author ranks near the top of seasoned British crime writers, deftly combining the genre of police procedurals with well-crafted suspense thrillers.   The 2001 launch of his debut novel Sleepyhead introduced DI Tom Thorne, and earned its author critical acclaim; it went on to become an immediate bestseller in the UK.   He followed that success with Scaredy Cat , which was nominated for the Best Crime Novel of 2002 and won the Sherlock Award for Best Detective Novel by a UK Author.   Establishing something of a pattern, Billingham's fifth in the series, Lifeless , was nominated for BCA's Crime Thriller of 2006, and in 2009 he became the first crime writer to win the Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year award twice.   The Thorne tales have been filmed for TV by Britain's Sky1 channel, but regrettably they're not yet available outside the UK.   Often mentioned in the same breath as the works of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, Billingham's novels are quickly earning him a global audience.   No mere one-trick pony, his body of work also includes a chilling standalone, short stories, his musings about the craft of writing, a children's thriller, and his own take on the evolution of crime fiction.   Did I mention that he also performs stand-up comedy?

Black, Cara (American, 1951- ) 
An unabashed Francophile, since 1999 Cara Black has been building an enthusiastic following for her series of crime thrillers featuring Aimée Leduc, a spirited Parisian sleuth with a penchant for getting into, and then having to extricate herself from, the dangers that go with her job.  Often navigating Paris on a pink Vespa, the quirky heroine uses her considerable private stock of vintage and second-hand clothing to produce disguises that sometimes fail her.  Rounding out Black’s tales are her informed descriptions of the various districts that make up Paris, and a cast of colourful and eccentric friends and adversaries that appeal to her many readers.  Several of her books have been nominated for Anthony and Macavity Awards.
Black, Ethan

Blair, Michael (Canadian)
One of Canada's better-kept secrets, Montreal-based Michael Blair has two series of crime novels going and is presently working on a third series.   His Granville Island Mysteries are set in Vancouver, B.C., and feature professional photographer and amateur sleuth Tom McCall .   Who knew that photographers led such eventful lives?   Blair's other series (one novel to date, The Dells) centers on the return to the Toronto of his youth of Vancouver-based PI Joe Schumacher , who arrives to discover the police virtually in his parent's backyard, investigating a homicide.   An insightful, evocative tale that delves into Shoe's youth, and will resonate with many reader's own coming-of-age experiences.

Blair, Peggy
Blanc, Nero
Blechta, Rick
Blunt, Giles (Canadian, 1952- )
(Thrillers, Humourous Tales)
Not easy to categorize, this talented author has penned dark psychological thrillers, humourous caper tales, and highly-charged political tales that center on crimes against humanity.   His atmospheric John Cardinal series focuses on the exploits of a police detective based in Algonquin Bay, Northern Ontario.   Cardinal and his colleague Lise Delorme wrestle with missing teens and serial killers, Indian lore and big-city cops, while he attempts to cope with his troubled wife, who is hospitalized with clinical depression.   Although many of his tales are intense and can be difficult to read, Blunt is an evocative, thoughtful writer who will reac your very core.   For a lighter but no less entertaining read try his No Such Creature , about a gang of quixotic road thieves who only rob rich Republicans.   Winner of the 2001 CWA Silver Dagger for Best Novel and the 2004 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel, and shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger in 2007, as well as Hammett, Anthony and Macavity Awards, Blunt is quickly and deservedly attracting a global audience.
Bohjalian, Chris (American, 1962 - )
(Historical and traditional suspense novels)
Following a successful career in journalism, Chris Bohjalian released his first novel, A Killing in the Real World, in 1988.  By 2013 he had followed that with fourteen other novels, several of which have become award-winning bestsellers, including the ANCA Freedom Award and the ANCA Arts and Letters Award and two New England Society Book Awards.  Literate and insightful, his books are largely issue-driven, and have dealt with such diverse themes as midwifery, the human suffering caused by the Second World War, the Armenian Genocide, homelessness, animal rights, and environmentalism; Bohjalian’s characters include ordinary people caught up in circumstances beyond their control, and the conflicts that inevitably result.
Bork, Lisa (American)
Traditional Mysteries, Cozies
Her debut novel For Better, for Murder, was a finalist for a 2009 Agatha Award, and features Jolene Parker, thrown into the spotlight when a body is found in her sports car showroom.  At the time estranged from her husband Ray (a Deputy Sheriff) and on the cusp of a divorce, Jolene had been dating the man, and is thrown into the role of amateur sleuth in order to clear herself and hopefully rebuild their marriage.  In her second outing in the series, For Richer, for Danger, Jolene and Ray have patched things up, and are about to adopt a baby girl, Noelle, when they learn that the birth mother has lied about her identity.  They must sort things out before the adoption can go through, and when they locate the woman they find she is the leading suspect in a murder.  When Ray hires a former flame to defend the woman, the tensions that grow between Jolene and Ray threaten to destroy their newly-restored relationship.  A mix of colourful characters immersed in the travails of life drives this engaging series, set in the Finger Lakes region of western New York.
Boswell, Joan (ed.)
Bowen, Gail (Canadian, 1942- )
Canadian Gail Bowen is the award-winning creator of a series of tales featuring amateur sleuth Joanne Kilbourn, a Canadian university professor and occasional political columnist who often finds herself drawn into events concerning her colleagues, friends, and family.   A former university academic herself, Bowen's Canadian Prairie settings open up new vistas for her readers.   Several of her novels have been made into television movies.
Bowen, Rhys (Janet Quin-Harkin) (British/American)
(Cozies, Humourous and Historical Mysteries)
Creator of the Welsh-based Constable Evan Evans series, Rhys Bowen explores her own roots in engaging tales that reflect the unique landscape and quirky people of Wales.   Not above a bit of gentle humour herself (with titles like Evans Above, Evan and Elle , and Evanly Bodies ) Bowen branched out in 2001 to develop a new series of tales featuring aspiring private investigator Molly Murphy in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City.   Here again her sense of humour shows through, with such titles as Murphy's Law, For the Love of Mike , and In Like Flynn .   More recently Bowen has begun another Victorian series, this one featuring a penniless heiress who is thirty-fourth in line to the British throne, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (Lady Georgina to her friends).    Titles to date include Her Royal Spyness, A Royal Pain , and Royal Flush .   Bowen's novels have been nominated for three Agatha Awards for Best Novel, Macavity, Edgar and Barry awards (also for Best Novel), and in 2001 she moved from bridesmaid to bride, winning the Agatha Award for Best Novel for Murphy's Law .   If you enjoy a sly sense of humour wrapped around an entertaining puzzle, then you will find many hours of enjoyment in the hands of this gifted writer.
Box, C. J.   (American)
Joe Picket , a Forest Service game warden in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains, wrestles with a volatile mix of ranchers, environmentalists, missing persons, and gangsters, to name a few, while attempting to keep his own head above water and look out for his friends.   A decidedly Western flavour from this bestselling author, who won an Edgar for Best Novel of 2009.

Bradby, Tom (British, 1967- )
(Historical Thrillers)
The Maltese-born correspondent for ITN for nearly two decades and political editor for ITV, Tom Bradby is the author of six well-received crime novels spanning a variety of styles and periods, each marked by fast-paced action and gripping suspense.   Set in Shanghai in the 1920s, The Master of Rain was shortlisted for the CWA's Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of 2002.   It was followed by The White Russian , an epic tale set in St. Petersburg on the eve of the Russian Revolution, which was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Award for Best Historical Crime Novel of 2003.   Other standalone works by this talented author include Shadow Dancer (1998), The Sleep of the Dead (2001), and The God of Chaos (2004).   Each saga has an engrossing historical puzzle at its core, and all are impeccably researched and exquisitely told.

Bradley, Alan (Canadian)
(Cozies, Young Readers)
Winner of the 2007 Debut Dagger as well as Anthony and Agatha awards for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie , Canadian author Alan Bradley is a delightful addition to the genre with his 50's-based British series about a precocious eleven-year-old budding sleuth named Flavia de Luce .   Don't overlook Bradley's standalone tales, including The Shoebox Bible and the provocative Ms. Holmes of Baker Street .
Brady, John (Irish-Canadian, 1942- )
(Police Procedurals)
Irish-born (now Canadian) author John Brady has penned nearly a dozen novels featuring Inspector Matt Minogue.  His debut novel, A Stone of the Heart, won Canada’s 1989 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel, and Islandbridge, released in 2005, was shortlisted for the Dashiell Hammett Award.  Insightful and atmospheric, Brady’s novels nail the soul of his birthplace.  His tales feature fully-developed characters, crackling dialogue, evocative settings and in-your-face action, all brought together in a compelling mix that will leave you wondering why you haven’t heard of Brady before.
Brett, Alex
Brett, Simon (British, 1945- )
(Cozies, Humourous Mysteries, Young Readers)
After taking a First in English at Oxford Simon Brett turned his talents to radio and television work, producing the pilot episode of The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy , followed by stints writing scripts for such popular series as Foul Play , No Commitments , and After Henry .   But it is through his cozy-genre mystery novels that Brett has, over the years, attracted a global following of loyal readers.   His Charles Paris series features a middle-aged actor committed to enjoying the ladies and fine wine, whilst solving a variety of crimes and struggling to hang on to a precarious career.   His Mrs. Pargeter tales focus on a wealthy widow and amateur sleuth with an indefatigable sense of curiousity and a skeleton in her closet.   The Feathering mysteries center on a self-contained retirement settlement on England's southern coast, and feature the exploits of a strait-laced Carole Seddon and her laid-back neighbour Jude as they are confronted by all manner of misdeeds in the otherwise placid community.    Brett's wry humour shows in his titles: Situation Tragedy ; Not Dead, Only Resting ; What Bloody Man is That ; A Nice Class of Corpse ; and Mrs., Presumed Dead .   An entertaining mix of fine plotting and gentle humour.
Brown, Dan (American, 1964- )
I don't usually trash authors per se, so I won't here.   Suffice to say that Brown's bestselling magnum opus, the Da Vinci Code , is both grossly misleading and badly written.   Misleading in such claims as "all descriptions of this novel are accurate," (not so), and in his assertion that a secret society known as the Priory of Scion, founded in 1099, actually existed.   The Priory has been definitively shown to be a hoax, yet Brown strongly suggests it is genuine in the preface to his book.   While it is certainly legitimate to ground a work of fiction in fact, it is not legitimate, and only fosters ignorance, to found it in fiction claimed to be fact.   The novel is also overwritten from the opening line. Then there's the matter of his protagonist's peripatetic adventures around much of Western Europe, all compressed within a single day.   The man doesn't even stop to pee.   I could go on, but check out my review if you're really interested.   If you like this sort of thing, try David Hewson' s novels instead.
Brown, E. R. (Canadian, 1955 -  )
Some people know how to make an entrance.  After many years as an advertising copywriter and short-story writer Montreal-born E. R. Brown’s debut crime novel, Almost Criminal, appeared on the scene in 2013, and before long was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original.  For good reason, it turns out.  The chronicle of an engaging young man who gets drawn into the shadowy world of pot producers in a small town in rural British Columbia is topical but written with a fresh voice, and the action is nicely paced, the details impeccably researched.  If his first work is anything to judge by, crime fiction fans are in for a treat.
Bruce, Alison

Bruen, Ken (Irish, 1951- )
(Thrillers, Noir Crime Fiction Crime Fiction)
After an internship of twenty-five years teaching English around the world, Ken Bruen turned his hand to writing thrillers.   His Inspector Brant series features a pair of memorable CID officers based in south-east London who will bend the rules to solve a case, especially when it hits home.   Equally compelling is Bruen's atmospheric Jack Taylor series, about a disgraced ex-cop who has returned to Ireland to find himself enmeshed in a series of murders that only he can solve.   It seems that old habits die hard, but it's not long before Taylor finds that serving the public good can exact a horrendous cost in his personal life.   The author of dark, complex tales that will both challenge and entertain the reader, Bruen has piled up the honours: his stories have earned him nominations for seven prizes for Best Novel, winning him the Shamus, Macavity, and Edgar awards in the process.   Did I mention that Bruen has also penned more than a dozen standalones?
Brunet, Rob (Canadian)
(Comic Caper tales)
Born and raised in Ottawa, Rob Brunet began his working life producing interactive software before deciding in 2010 to turn his attention to writing.  His short crime fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Magazine, Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Noir Nation, and various anthologies.  He has also produced award-winning Web productions for film and TV, including LOST, Frank Miller’s Sin City, and the cult series Alias.  Stinking Rich marked Brunet’s crime novel debut in 2014.  Today Brunet and his wife, daughter, and son live in Toronto and split their time between Toronto and the Kawarthas.
Burke, James Lee (American, 1936- )
Winner of two Edgars and a Dagger Award for Best Novel, and nominated for six other Edgar, Dagger, Macavity and Anthony Awards, the laconic, Texas-born James Lee Burke has just about cornered the market in dark, gritty crime novels set in New Orleans and the surrounding bayou country.   When he's not running a boat-rental and bait shop, Sheriff's Detective Dave Robicheaux wrestles with a troubled past as he takes on cases no one else wants to touch.
Cain, James M.  (American, 1892-1977)
(Noir Crime Fiction)
More well-known today for his screenplays than his novels, Cain is responsible for some of the seminal American crime writing of the thirties and forties.  After serving in the US Army during the First World War, Cain became a journalist in Baltimore and New York; but he discovered his métier when, in 1934, he published his first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, which went on to become a screen classic starring John Garfield and Lana Turner a decade later.  In 1941 he published Mildred Pierce, and two years later issued yet another classic, Double Indemnity.  Turned into a film starring Barbara Stanwick, Fred McMurray, and Edward G. Robinson, it was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
Cain went on to write twenty novels in all, and nearly as many films were adapted from his stories.  There is a strong element of Noir fiction in his works, though Cain argued that he was not writing crime novels at all, but merely documenting the conflicts and tragedy of everyday people.  His work was widely popular in his day, and continues to find an appreciative audience worldwide.
Camilleri, Andrea  (Italian, 1925- )
(Humourous Mysteries, Police Procedurals)
Acclaimed author of the Inspector Montalbano series of tales set in Sicily. Widely translated, the series has only been available in English in the past few years.   Camilleri combines wry humour with insightful social commentary, wrapped around a self-effacing detective who has an unerring ability for irritating the women in his life, and who will do almost anything to avoid being promoted.
Carr, John Dickson (American, 1906-1977)
(Historical Mysteries)
Between 1930 and his death in 1977, American Carter Dickson gave Agatha Christie a run for her money with nearly two dozen British-based tales featuring aristocratic sleuth Sir Henry Merrivale .   Writing under his own name - John Dickson Carr - he added another two dozen stories to the mix, this time based on the exploits of Oxford eccentric (is that redundant?) Dr. Gideon Fell .   Not content to leave it there, Carr authored yet another two dozen standalones!   Literate, ingeniously crafted, and often involving locked rooms and impossible crimes, his plot-driven stories continue to challenge and amuse readers today.   In 1981 Carr's 1935 mystery, The Hollow Man , was selected by a panel of seventeen reviewers and mystery writers as the best locked-room mystery of all time , and in 1963 he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.
Carré, John le (David John Cornwell) (British, 1931- )
While it would be going too far to say he invented the genre of spy thrillers, it is certainly fair to say that, more than anyone else, John le Carré (aka David Cornwell) defined and shaped it during the second half of the twentieth century.   Drawing on his own experience in British Intelligence, and beginning with A Call for the Dead (not forgetting The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People ) his carefully-plotted tales are masterpieces of the genre, putting to shame the gadget-laden, fast-paced tales of supercilious superheroes with glamorous women hanging on their every word.   Le Carré's cat-and-mouse games of international intrigue are layered works with nuanced characters, and the reader is swept up in them, positively willing spymaster George Smiley to prevail and restore moral order to an immoral world.   His tales are as compelling today as when they were first written.
Carrick, Donna (Canadian)
(Traditional Mysteries)
Born on Canada’s East Coast, Donna Carrick and her husband Alex traveled to Nanning, China in 2003 to adopt their youngest child.  Together with her husband and their three children she presently makes her home in Toronto, where she set her first novel, The Noon God, an academic murder mystery, in 2006.  In the same year Carrick followed that with Gold and Fishes, an evocative tale revolving around the Asian tsunami of December 2004.  Her third novel, The First Excellence, was published in 2009.  Set in China, it follows the odyssey of a young woman who left her family as a young child, and returns to the land of her birth to discover her roots, only to find herself immersed in intrigues that she must solve before she can lay the past to rest.  With a gift for intricate plotting and memorable settings, Carrick’s writing will appeal to readers in search of a well-crafted international tale.
Carrisi, Donato (Italian, 1973 - )
Born in Martina Franca, Italy, Donato Carrisi studied law and criminology before beginning work as a TV screenwriter.  He is highly regarded in Europe, where his work has won the Italian Bancarella Prizes and the French Prix Du Polar, and sold over a million copies worldwide.  His novels include The Whisperer, The Lost Girls of Rome, The Vanished Ones, and 2015’s The Hunter of the Dark.  He lives in Rome.
Carter, Stephen L.
Caspary, Vera  (American, 1899-1987)
(Traditional Mysteries)
Vera Caspary’s life was as interesting as that of any of her characters.  Born to second-generation German and Russian Jewish immigrants, as a young woman Caspary devised and marketed correspondence courses in classic ballet and screenwriting, subjects in which she had absolutely no formal training or experience.  She also wrote articles for several publications, and by the age of twenty-three she quit her job at an advertising agency to write fiction full time.  Caspary’s first novel, Ladies and Gents, was published in 1929; it was followed by three others before she published the work for which she continues to be primarily known, Laura, in 1942.  It is the tale of a young woman found dead in a fashionable Manhattan apartment, and the efforts of a blue-collar police detective to understand her in order to solve her murder.  The book was made into a film directed by Otto Preminger which became a monumental success.
Laura was followed by nineteen other novels, the last appearing in 1979.  Caspary also wrote several plays,  and a non-fiction work, A Manual of Classic Dancing, and collaborated on more than two dozen films.  She died of a stroke in New York in 1987.

Castillo, Linda (American)
Although Texas-based author Linda Castillo is best known for her bestselling romantic suspense novels, it is her recent tales centering on a small Amish community in Ohio, that will be of most interest to crime fiction fans.   Kate Burkholder was raised in the rural community, but left when she realized she didn't belong there.   Now, years later she's returned as Police Chief, and finds that the small town harbours more than it's share of dark secrets.   The first in the series, Sworn to Silence , became a New York Times bestseller; it's sequel, Pray for Silence , is every bit as good.   An original series from a talented and experienced writer; let's hope there are more to come.

Chandler, Raymond (American, 1888-1959)
Along with his precursor Dasheill Hammett, Raymond Chandler is responsible for the ascendancy of a uniquely American form of crime fiction known as hard-boiled stories. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, epitomizes the hard-drinking, tough-talking, womanizing private eye of L.A. during the 1940's, and served as a role model for those who followed, including such enduring writers as Ross MacDonald, Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker, and Walter Moseley.   Merely listing a few of Chandler's titles - The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake - suffices to establish his influence.   But Chandler is not merely an historical footnote: his stories are taut, riveting tales that will keep you up late finishing his books.

Chang, Henry (American)
(Noir Thrillers)
Fortunately for crime fiction buffs, native New Yorker Henry Chang augments his interest in writing poetry by penning cracking good reads about the seamy side of New York's Chinatown. Chinatown Beat, featuring NYPD detective Jack Yu, was published to great acclaim in 2007, and was followed by Year of the Dog (2008) and Red Jade (2010). Chang writes with the sure hand of an insider, someone who doesn't need to make it up as he goes along. If you like Noir, this is some of the best.
Chapman, Brenda

Chercover, Sean (American)
They say write about what you know, and Sean Chercover has taken that to heart.   An ex-private investigator based in Chicago and New Orleans, he writes about - what else?- a PI based in Chicago.   Chercover's short stories have garnered Britain's CWC Dagger award, an Anthony, and have been shortlisted for the Edgar and Macavity awards.   His debut novel Big City, Bad Blood , won multiple awards for best first novel, and was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis, Barry, and Anthony awards as well.   He followed that up with Trigger City , which earned him the Crimespree Award and the Dilys Award for Best Novel.   If you long for the days of mean streets and even meaner characters, and savour good writing, then by all means check him out.

Child, Lee (British, 1954- )
Reversing the usual trend in crime novelists who set their tales in other lands, English-born Lee Child moved to the U.S. where he created the Jack Reacher series of crime thrillers.   Reacher is a paradox, a loner and drifter who studiously avoids being co-opted by the system, and a medal-winning graduate of West Point and an ex-Army officer /Military Policeman who has seen duty in South America and the Middle East.   Although he tries to avoid any personal entanglements, trouble always seems to find him, and Reacher is drawn into cases ranging from stalkers and kidnappings to serial killings and attempted political assassinations.   Child's debut novel Killing Floor , won him an Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 1998.   Later nominated for Anthony and Macavity awards for Best Novel, Child's novels have become consistent bestsellers, and earned him a global following. But his protagonist is rather one-dimensional, his writing uneven, and the violence is often over the top.  If thrillers are your thing, try Peter James and Linwood Barclay instead.
Christie, Agatha (British, 1890-1976)
Whether featuring amateur sleuth Miss Marple or the Belgian private investigator Hercule Poirot , Agatha Christie, more than anyone else, defined the Golden Age of British crime writing.   Her characters, it must be said, are pale reflections of real people, cultural stereotypes that span the social register from the Lord of the Manor to below-stairs maid, and run the gamut from fair-haired damsels to swarthy foreigners with equally-dark pasts.   We are not inclined to take them seriously.   No matter: with Dame Agatha it's all about plot, her cunningly contrived schemes in which the author toys with her readers, daring them to figure things out.   P. D. James has said that "None of the plots could possibly happen in real life.   And doesn't seem to matter because we are in Christieland."   She's right.
Chudley, Ron
Church, James
Cleeves, Ann (British, 1954- )
(Psychological Thrillers)
With four distinct series to her credit, Ann Cleeves has more than earned her place among contemporary crime writers.   Her debut Palmer-Jones series has a recurring bird motif, but don't let that put you off; it's a collection of well-told tales.   She followed that with her somewhat edgier Inspector Ramsay tales.   Cleeves turned to the dark dales of Yorkshire for her stories featuring Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope , and most recently she has given readers her Shetland Island Quartet , reminiscent of the brooding thrillers of Scandinavian crime writers.   One of the quartet, Raven Black , earned Cleeves the CWA Dagger Award for Best Novel for 2006.
Coben, Harlan (American, 1962- )
Nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Shamus Awards for Best Novel, Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series skillfully explores the saga of a former FBI agent, now sports agent and private investigator, caught up in a lethal mix of superstar athletes, sex, organized crime, blackmail, and murder.   If sports are not your thing, Coben's also penned an impressive array of standalone thrillers.
Cole, Emma
See Susanna Kearsley


Connelly, Michael (American, 1956- )
(Police Procedurals, Thrillers)
Hardly needing an introduction to most crime fiction fans, Michael Connelly has won multiple Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Shamus, and Barry awards and nominations, in addition to a slew of foreign honors for his novels.   By far the most successful of his series are the dozen-plus tales that feature ex-PI and returned-to-the-fold LAPD detective Harry (short for Hieronymous) Bosch .   In 2005 Connelly began a new series featuring defense attorney Mickey Haller, which have been filmed as The Lincoln Lawyer.  His standalones include the award-winning Blood Work, also made into a film starring Clint Eastwood.  Finely crafted and perfectly paced, Connelly’s novels hold readers until the very last page.
Cook, Troy
Coontz, Stephen
Cooper, Natasha (Daphne Wright) (British, 1951- )
(Thriller, Police Procedurals)
Natasha Cooper has two series of note, the first a rather lighthearted series of tales featuring novelist and investigator Willow King , the second focusing on Trish Maquire , a barrister who wrestles to combine a strong personal ambition with an equally strong social conscience.   A recent addition to Cooper's oeuvre is No Escape , the first novel featuring forensic psychologist Karen Taylor and her partner, DCI Charlie Trench .   With gripping plots, a strong sense of place, and insightful characterization, her novels will appeal to a wide range of readers.
Cotterill, Colin (British, based in Thailand, 1952- )
(Cozies, Thrillers)
One of the more exotic crime series in print, Colin Cotterill's tales center on Dr. Siri Paiboun, the aging national coronor of Laos, as he wends his way through various cases that would defeat someone of more tender years, dogged in his determination to solve a case no matter where the trail may lead.   Cotterill plays out his layered tales against a country both beautiful and corrupt, in stories that for their charm have been compared to those of Alexander McCall Smith, but for their subtle complexity could with equal justice be compared to the novels of Graham Greene.
Creasey, John (British, 1908-1973)
(Police Procedurals)
'Prolific' doesn't even begin to describe the career of crime writer John Creasey, who published nearly six hundred books, first written in longhand, under various pseudonyms during his lifetime.   The best known of his crime novels are his series of sixty-eight tales about "the Toff," a detective with a passion for cricket, and his twenty-eight Gideon novels featuring Commander George Gideon of Scotland Yard, written under the pen name of J. J. Marric.   Winner of an Edgar Award for Best Novel in 1968, the following year Creasey was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.   His influence was immense, shaping the direction of British crime fiction for decades.
Crispin, Edmund (aka Robert Bruce Montgomery) (British, 1921-1978)
(Traditional Mysteries)
Edmund Crispin was the nom de plume of the Oxford-educated Bruce Montgomery (1921-78), who was by turns an organist and choirmaster, later writer and composer, and for many years also the regular crime-fiction reviewer for the London Sunday Times.  He is best known for his series of nine traditional mysteries featuring the eccentric Oxford pedagogue Professor Gervase Fen, perhaps the most intriguing of which is The Moving Toyshop.  Combining challenging puzzles with wry humour and not-always-believable plots, Crispin’s works are reminiscent of those of John Dickson Carr and Michael Innes, and will appeal to readers in search of a literate, mannered tale set in a bygone era.
Crombie, Deborah (American, 1952- )
(Police Procedurals)
Author of the popular Inspector Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James novels (both long since promoted), Deborah Crombie made a dramatic entrance into the crime writing world when she was nominated for Agatha and Macavity Awards for Best First Novel, for A Share of Death .   It proved to be a portent: her fifth novel, Dreaming of the Bones , was nominated for Edgar and Agatha Awards, and won a Macavity Award for Best Novel as well; it was subsequently chosen by the Independent Mystery Booksellers of America as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century.   Crombie's since been nominated for Best Novel twice more, for Water Like a Stone and Where Memories Lie .   What do they say about no smoke without fire?

Crumley, James (American, 1939-2008)
Awarded a Silver Dagger for Best Novel in 2002, for The Final Country , James Crumley penned two series featuring distinct-but-not-so-different PIs, along with four standalones and several unpublished screenplays.   Emerging at a time when the hard-boiled crime novel began showing signs of becoming slightly respectable, Crumley firmly jammed on the brakes.   By deftly putting his finger on the pulse of post-Vietnam America he built his tales around the easy amorality of the day.   His magnum opus is generally agreed to be The Last Good Kiss , published in 1978.   Anti-hero C. W. Sughrue, is a hard-drinking ex-army Vietnam War criminal who swapped a prison term in return for spying on American liberals, and who has settled into civilian life as a PI.   He accepts a job chasing down a writer on a world-class bender around the country, and when he finds him Sughrue gives in to the pleadings of a bar owner to track down her daughter, who's been missing for ten years.   The two are joined by a whisky-drinking bulldog that had just saved their skins in a bar fight.   Thus begins an odyssey that snakes around the American northwest, with enough guilt for everyone and a body count that holds its own against today's video games.   The Last Good Kiss was followed by The Mexican Tree Duck (1993), Bordersnakes (1996), and The Right Madness (2005).   A writer's writer, Crumley's complex characters and brittle prose influenced the next generation of American crime writers, but somehow popular success always eluded him.   Not for the prissy or faint of heart, the opening lines of The Last Good Kiss are as good as anything out there.   If by some chance you haven't read Mr. Crumley's work, have a look.

Culiner, Jill