Thursday, September 05, 2013

What are the best classic whodunits of all time?

I don't often read classic whodunits anymore--or maybe fewer writers write them. But for the first ten years or so of reading "mysteries" I read almost exclusively in this area.  Probably my favorite was ROSEANNA by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo because of the depth of the characters and my interest in the setting.

What is your favorite classic whodunit?


12 comments:

Graham Powell said...

I loved ROSEANNA but I'm not sure I would consider it a whodunnit in the traditional sense, because those typically contain several suspects, any of whom could be the killer.

Right now I'd have to say my favorite is THE BURNING COURT by John Dickson Carr. It's not in either of his long-running series, and, unlike his other books, is set in America and populated by Americans, but it's probably his best.

Anonymous said...

I agree on ROSEANNA, Graham. Loved the book but I don't consider it a whodunit of the Golden Age type.

Classic whodunits?

Christie, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE/TEN LITTLE INDIANS

Half a dozen other Christies could male the list - MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is one. THE ABC MURDERS is another.

Jeff M.

George said...

THE BIG SLEEP.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't remember ever reading that one, Graham.
Yes the Christies are the most convincing but maybe because I remember them pretty well after screen versions.

John said...

Too many to choose from for me, but I think I can narrow it down to five.

Christie: MRS MCGINTY'S DEAD

Carr: HE WHO WHISPERS

Helen McCloy: THE DEADLY TRUTH (or DANCE OF DEATH)

Anthony Boucher: THE CASE OF THE SEVEN OF CALVARY

Ross MacDonald: THE CHILL

I pick these because they blew me away with the plotting and the solution. In a whodunnit it's all about plot and surprise for me.

Erik Donald France said...

Jimmy Hoffa by L.H. Oswald ;->

Yvette said...

Off the top of my head:
Tour De Force by Christianna Brand
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The House Sitter by Peter Lovesey
Plot It Yourself by Rex Stout

Anonymous said...

Got to be one of Christie's--but it's so hard to narrow it down to one. Almost all of her mysteries qualify as "classics."

Deb

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Is it just me or am I the only one who finds Agatha Christie a terrible writer?
Love Roseanna but don't find it to be the best of the Martin Beck books.
The Chill is a good choice.
The Long Goodbye by Chandler, altho not a whodunit in the classic sense.

Kelly Robinson said...

I'll put in a vote for Edmund Crispin's THE MOVING TOYSHOP.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Roseanana really is a classic. So is Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd...

Barry Ergang said...

Chandler's The Long Goodbye is my all-time-favorite novel, mystery or other. But if I have to pick something more classically traditional, it'd be either John Dickson Carr's The Three Coffins or Hake Talbot's Rim of the Pit.