So here we are – the final results for the top eight Golden Age mystery writers of all time.
OK, arguably that’s not quite right – I did a third-to-eighth place play-off to get round any issues with someone getting an unlucky draw in the first round, but there are writers who went out in earlier rounds that maybe – maybe – would have made it through with a different first round draw. Would Christianna Brand have made it further if she’d been up against Rex Stout? Would Chesterton have got pace Josephine Tey? Who knows? But this is what did happen in the poll as it stood. In reverse order, obviously.
Eighth Place – 6% of the vote – Josephine Tey
Not a particular favourite of mine, but to be fair, I was put off by The Daughter Of Time (which I know a lot of people love). Possibly the relatively small number of titles counted against her?
Seventh Place – 9% of the vote – Anthony Berkeley
Another non-favourite – I know people like his experimentation with the genre, but some of that experimentation moves the book too far from the genre for my liking. And Roger Sheringham is such an unlikeable lead.
Sixth Place – 13% of the vote – Rex Stout
Easily the most successful of the authors who I omitted from my original list and the one who got the most requests to be put on the list. I’ve only read Prisoner’s Base but enjoyed it enough. Probably need to give Stout more of a try.
Fifth Place – 17% of the vote – Edmund Crispin
Crispin is a favourite of mine and I was pleased he got through to the semi-finals but he did have an easier passage to the semi-finals than others. Quite pleased he was still placed highly here.
Well, this is an interesting one. Dorothy L Sayers and Ellery Queen were left in this bit of the competition, and while Sayers took an early lead, she never was more than a few votes ahead of dear old Ellery. This morning when I checked the scores, she was ahead by a solitary vote.
At noon, as promised, and checked the votes for the final time. And…
Third Place Equal – 28% of the vote each – Dorothy L Sayers and Ellery Queen
Yup, a dead heat. Ellery caught up at the last minute but couldn’t overtake Sayers. I personally much prefer the good Queen books (which aren’t necessarily the ones that others think are the good ones) but at some point, I must give Sayers a little more time. Probably.
And so, the Grand Final – Christie vs Carr, as it always should have been.
Neither were particularly troubled on their way to the final, with Christie in particular steamrolling the competition. However John Dickson Carr proved to be much stiffer competition. So in the final, with just 54% of the 319 votes cast, the winner was…
Agatha Christie! Not a surprise, but this was a lot, lot closer than I thought it would be. So Agatha Christie is indeed the Queen of Crime (the one and only, in my book) and
Brian Flynn John Dickson Carr is officially the King of Crime.
Right, what poll can we do next? Or should I get back to actually reading books?