Quiz Time: The Answers

OK, time for the results of my quiz from a couple of days ago – namely because somebody got one bit of it right. Namely which of the ten books listed from the Crime Writers’ Association Top 100 books have I actually read. The list in question was, in case you’ve forgotten, was the following:

  1. Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
  2. Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon
  3. Dorothy L Sayers – Gaudy Night
  4. Francis Iles – Malice Aforethought
  5. John Buchan – The Thirty-Nine Steps
  6. Margery Allingham – The Tiger In The Smoke
  7. Patricia Highsmith – Strangers On A Train
  8. Reginald Hill – Deadheads
  9. P D James – A Taste For Death
  10. Nicholas Blake – The Beast Must Die

Ten books (or authors at least) that any self-respecting crime reviewer should have read. But who said I had any self-respect…

Anyway, for those who felt like deducing things, you can eliminate Chandler and Hammett straight off, due to their noir-ness, and Buchan for his thriller-ness (although the theory that I might have read it at school was a good one.) Never got on with PD James, never liked the idea of the inverted mystery (so no Iles) and I’m in no rush to return to Sayers and Allingham as implied by my reviews of them. I think the most likely wrong answer was the Blake book – it’s actually sitting on my shelf – but the correct answer is Deadheads. And for the record, while I do generally enjoy Hill a lot, this one left me flat, for exactly the same spoilery reason that other praise it.

Congrats to Ben Hakala who worked it out and Santosh Iyer who remembered that I mentioned that I’d read it when I reviewed Child’s Play a couple of years ago…

Actually, I thought people would guess it a little earlier as the other nine books on the list are cast-iron classics and there are plenty more that could have been on the list. So Deadheads stood out as an odd choice if it was a red herring, so therefore the only reason for it being on the list is if it was the answer…

But nobody came close to the magic number of how many books in the list that I’ve actually read.

The books from the Top 100 that I’ve read are:

So the magic number is… twenty. Yup, that sounds pretty weak for a crime reviewer and no one guessed even close to it, but I’ll be honest, there’s not a vast amount of books on the list that I haven’t read and still want to read. As I’ve mentioned before, the blog is a catalogue of what I read and I read what I want to read. I might read more Sayers or Allingham if I feel like it, but there’s no sense of duty there.

Looking at the list, there are a few that are on my radar – namely:

  • Francis Iles: Malice Aforethought
  • Nicholas Blake: The Beast Must Die

… and that’s about it, really. Nothing else really leaps out. But if you want completeness, do pop over to Past Offences where Rich has read and reviewed all of the 100 books.


    • I’ll be honest, I almost gave ten classics that I hadn’t read as the trick, partly as I thought Deadheads stood out too much as being a non-classic. So you weren’t being unreasonable there…


  1. Well I’ve only managed 10 more than you from the CWA list, but like you I don’t have much interest in reading the others, being in styles I don’t enjoy. I would definitely recommend the Iles and the Blake book though.


    • Those really are the only two that I feel that I ought to read – and they happen to be on my shelf ready and waiting… Have to say, the list is pretty wonky. Even of those that I’ve read, I wouldn’t pick them. There are better Hill books, there are better Christie book and, Zeus help us, two Cadfael books? I understand including one for its importance to the genre, but two?


  2. ” No mention of Brian Flynn at all. What were they thinking?”
    Well, this is not surprising since Brian Flynn had been virtually an obscure author. It was only by fluke that a Mathematics teacher (also a mystery blogger) got a book by Brian Flynn as a Christmas present from his sister-in-law. He was so impressed by it that he started blogging often about the author and his books, as a result of which the author became well-known world-wide. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My count for that list is 69. But I have read all of the “best you have never read”, so that must count for something!
    Hammett is a must, and most are in fact “fair play” ( Falcon is) but I won’t try to persuade you. Malice is great.
    The American list is higher quality overall though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.