“Where’s the body?” Criminal’s Guide to Crime Fiction

Sep 26, 2017 · 3 min read

“I keep saying ‘where’s the body? Kill someone,’” Marilyn Stasio told us in the latest episode of Criminal. She reads at least 200 crime novels a year to determine which are worthy of her prestigious “Crime Column” in the New York Times Book Review. We spoke with her about crime as entertainment — and why people are so addicted to the genre that she can’t stay away from: “My fingers just itch when I see something that’s says ‘murder.’”

Her favorite Agatha Christie novel is The Murderous Affair at Styles (the book in which Christie introduced the world to her famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot). But Stasio says her all-time favorite crime novel is The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins. Listen to the full conversation here.

We asked our listeners to send in their favorite crime novels, which we’re listing here. Add yours in the comments below. Happy puzzling!


Traitor’s Purse by Margery Allingham

Blaze by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

The Naturals (series) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Trent’s Last Case by Edmund C. Bentley

Minute for Murder by Nicholas Blake

The Burglar in the Rye by Lawrence Block

The Face On The Cutting-Room Floor by Ernest Borneman writing as Cameron McCabe (true crime)

The Cat Who… (series) by Lilian Jackson Braun

The Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre

And The Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson

Tin Roof Blowdown by James Burke

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (true crime)

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Poirot & Marple (series) by Agatha Christie

The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor by William A. Clark

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin

Inspector Morse (series) by Colin Dexter

The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Big Nowhere by James Ellroy

Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy

White Jazz by James Ellroy

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

The Collector by John Fowles

High Stakes by Dick Francis

Dublin Murder Squad (series) by Tana French

Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert

Zodiac by Robert Graysmith (true crime)

That Affair Next Door by Anna Katharine Green

The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Who Guards the Prince? by Reginald Hill

Mortal Fear by Greg Iles

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by Phyllis D. James

Bags of Bones by Stephen King

Intensity by Dean Koontz

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The False Inspection Dew by Peter Lovesey

One Step Behind by Henning Mankell

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

The City & the City by China Miéville

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart

In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Eyes of Prey by John Sandford

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

Les Sept Jours du Talion by Patrick Senécal (no English translation of the book though, so that was probably suggested by a francophone…)

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Nero Wolfe (series) by Rex Stout

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

A Dark Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine

A Dark Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine

The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

Leave Her to Heaven by Ben Ames Williams

Inspector Jack Frost (series) by Rodney D. Wingfield

Authors suggested for “anything by…” include Michael Connelly, Tana French, Joe Lansdale, Louise Penny, Dorothy L. Sayers.


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A show about people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. From @radiotopia.

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