Friday Fun: The Fourteen Best Private Eye Novels of All Time

Apr 06 2012 Published by under friday fun

I love me some private eye novels, that's for sure. I also love me some lists of books.

So combining them is pure heaven!

Anyways, an old friend of mine, Kevin Burton Smith, the proprietor of The Thrilling Detective web site and zine decided to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the site by running a poll to find out his reader's 14 all time favourite private eye novels.

On April 1st he published the results. And here they are:


(Links on the private eye's name lead to the profile on Kevin's site. Check it out!)

  1. The Taste of Ashes by Howard Browne (Paul Pine)
  2. Promised Land by Robert B. Parker (Spenser)
  3. Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer (Karl Craven)
  4. The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald (Lew Archer)
  5. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  6. Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane (Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro)
  7. I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane (Mike Hammer)
  8. The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley (C.W. Sughrue)
  9. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block (Matt Scudder)
  10. L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais (Elvis Cole)
  11. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins)
  12. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  13. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  14. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (Sam Spade)

I've read about half of the books on the list -- so I have some very fine reading ahead of me I'm sure.

My favourite PI is definitely Robert B. Parker's Spenser with Looking for Rachel Wallace being my favourite of the Spenser novels.

And one final note: the poll results page also has quite a nice listing of the runners up and the best of the rest. Lots more great reading to be sure.

(And yes, it would have been nice to see some more women writers and PIs on the various lists.)

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