1. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his “charming” friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.
2. The complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection includes every Sherlock Holmes tale penned by the great Arthur Conan Doyle.
3. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.
4. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett’s coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.
5. A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne
Set in the Washington, D.C., suburbs during the summer of the Watergate break-ins, Berne’s assured, skillful first novel is about what can happen when a child’s accusation is the only lead in a case of sexual assault and murder.
6. A Dark-Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell
The award-winning author and acclaimed mistress of suspense delves deeply into the heart of a family to uncover the circumstances that lead to murder more than thirty years ago. The story of a family’s long-buried secret past is revealed–and the deadly consequences.
7. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre
In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse—a desk job—Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service—with himself as the bait.
8. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
“I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused,” Graham Greene’s narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous “Quiet American” of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.
As young Pyle’s well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler’s motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler’s beautiful Vietnamese mistress.
9. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution–a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism.
10. Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg
A thriller, and a whacking good thriller, too. Cutter is a scarred and crippled Vietnam veteran, obsessed with a murder he’s convinced his buddy, Bone, witnessed. That it was committed by the powerful tycoon JJ Wolfe only makes Cutter even surer that Bone saw the unthinkable. Captivated by Cutter’s demented logic, Bone is prepared to cross the country with Cutter in search of proof of the murder. Their quest takes them into the Ozarks—home base of the Wolfe empire—where Bone discovers that Cutter is pursuing both a cold-blooded killer, but also an even bigger and more elusive enemy.