Desert [Not “Dessert”!] Island Books

Well, it seems that I haven’t posted anything here except my own fiction for a while–a sincere thank you to everyone who has looked at it and especially to those who have commented!–but I’ll try to remedy that with this question–er, game– for all of the mystery bloggers out there.

I’ll call it “desert island books,” but it’s a bit different from the “mysteries you would take to a desert island.” (I wouldn’t take a mystery to a desert island; I’d follow Chesterton’s lead, and take A Practical Guide to Ship-Building! 😀 ) Desert Island Discs

So, here are the “rules,” then (your mission, if you choose to accept it): you choose your ten favorite mystery authors, first of all, and then have to choose one book from each to take with you. Only one–no more! (You can pick a runner-up, though, if you’d like.) I would prefer that we stick to novels, which unfortunately means no Chesterton and little of Conan Doyle. (I’m going to try to keep to the formal, fair-play, “puzzle-plot” mystery, but you can be a bit more open with your criteria if you want.) A bit like Carr’s list, which I suppose we all know–at least, I hope so, because I no longer seem to be able to find a copy online!

Anyway… Anyone game?


My Favorites:

John Dickson Carr: The Crooked Hinge (runner-up: He Who Whispers)

Agatha Christie: Death on the Nile (runner-up: Five Little Pigs)

Ellery Queen: Ten Days’ Wonder (runner-up: Cat of Many Tails)

Dorothy L. Sayers: Unnatural Death (runner-up: The Nine Tailors)

Gladys Mitchell: Come Away, Death (runner-up: When Last I Died)

Christianna Brand: Death of Jezebel (runner-up: Green for Danger)

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Valley of Fear (runner-up: The Sign of the Four)

A.E.W. Mason: The House of the Arrow (runner-up: At the Villa Rose)

E.C. Bentley: Trent’s Last Case

Rex Stout: Some Buried Caesar (runner-up: Too Many Cooks)



P.S. Unless something unforeseen occurs, I’m intending to post the solution to “The Unhinged Man” tomorrow, if that’s OK for everyone! 🙂

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3 Responses to Desert [Not “Dessert”!] Island Books

  1. JJ says:

    Nice idea! I can generally do without backups, I think, though please forgive the blatant piece of self-promotion (they’re great books, I promise!):

    Anthony Berkeley – Malice Aforethought (Poisoned Chocolates)
    Norman Berrow – The Footprints of Satan
    Christianna Brand – Death of Jezebel
    Leo Bruce – Case for Three Detectives (Case with No Conclusion)
    John Dickson Carr – The Problem of the Green Capsule
    Agatha Christie – Evil Under the Sun
    Paul Halter – The Tiger’s Head
    Rupert Penny – Policeman in Armour
    Theodore Roscoe – I’ll Grind Their Bones (Murder on the Way!)
    Jim Thompson – The Killer Inside Me (Pop. 1280)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apologies for never responding to your comment here, JJ–and an excellent list, too!

      I have not, for my sins, read Malice Aforethought, The Footprints of Satan, Case with No Conclusion, Policeman in Armour, either of the Roscoes, or either of the Thompsons.

      (I will be sure, however, to pick up Murder on the Way!–I’ve been interested in the book ever since TomCat recommended it years ago, and your role in the publishing effort, for which I am ever thankful, only flamed the interest even more.)

      I’m also thinking of doing a more straightforward “top ten” including favorite mysteries from non-literary sources as well (e.g., The Last of Sheila is on my top 10 list); I’m not sure if this format is the best, though I was inspired because I was directing someone to “The Grandest Game in the World,” and Carr’s top 10 appeared there, in this fashion, of course.



  2. I don’t usually read a lot of mystery, but it’s not because I don’t enjoy them.

    I’m going to cheat and list only 5 authors because the genre is largely unknown to me.
    1. Rex Stout (most titles – he’s a recent discovery)
    2. Raymond Chandler (Does that count as mystery?)
    3. Dashiell Hammett (same question as above)
    4. John Grisham
    5. Nancy Drew Mysteries (I’m serious! That’s allowed, right? It’s for nostalgia purposes.)


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