From the classic whodunnits of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers to the hard boiled school, we love crime fiction and we know you do too. Here are fifty classic crime novels - vote for your favourite and let us know why in the comments section below or on Twitter @stylistmagazine
This complex crime novel is the first in Chandler's acclaimed series about private detective Philip Marlowe.
Considered to be the first detective book in the English language, this details the complex case of a stolen diamond.
Hailed by some as the best spy novel of all time, this is a landmark tale of British Cold War espionage.
Alan Grant investigates a mystery involving King Richard III in the Scottish author's final book.
Starring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, this novel blazed the path for twist endings in crime fiction.
This novel features main character Sam Spade, one of the first in the 'hard-boiled' detective genre.
Two sets of sisters share a renovated house where a murder took place in this stand-out Rendell mystery.
Featuring aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey this yarn combines classic poison messages and malicious pranks.
A chiller which sees a girl reminisce about her past, this made Du Maurier one of the world's most popular authors.
Set in the walls of an Italian monastery, this historical murder mystery is Eco's first and most famous work of fiction.
Miss Marple solves a series of grisly murders in a quintissentially sleepy English village where all sorts of horror lurks beneath the surface...
Can crime fiction be funny? It can in the hands of Colin Batemen, who in Mystery Man gives us a private eye who fals into problem-solving quite by accident when he inherits the cases of the detective agency next door to his Belfast bookshop, No Alibis...
Blacklands is an astonishingly accomplished debut novel, featuring a fascinating battle of wills between a convicted murderer and a 12 year old boy named Steven. Steven is determined to find out if Arnold Avery was responsible for the disappearance of a member of his family, and isn't afraid to put himself in the gravest danger to get to the truth.
An amazing twist of a book by a brilliant author. Actually can’t put it down once you start.
Dashiell Hammett was one of the foremost writers of so-called 'hardboiled' detective fiction in America and is regarded as one of the greatest mystery writers of all time. His 1931 novel, The Glass Key, follows Ned Beaumont in his investigations into the murder of a local senator's son and is a slick, stylish example of the genre.
Taking its title from an Oscar Wilde quote, this classic detective story from Len Deighton follows an unnamed narrator through a tangled web of international espionage and double-crossing.
Sir Derek Jacobi brought the quietly courageous detective monk Cadfael to live on television, but the Ellis Peters books are just as compelling.
Easily one of the most iconic of the school of hard-boiled detective novels, James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia was inspired by the true story of the murder of Elizabeth Short. The book was the first in Ellroy's famous L.A. Quartet - a series of dark, gritty stories set in Los Angeles in the '40s and '50s.
This bleak, gritty thriller was most recently adapted for the big screen by Rowan Joffe, but the original book contains as much menace and suspense as any movie.
The tenacious Inspector Ghote is one of the most attractive detectives in crime fiction, thanks to his self-effacing manner and quiet courage. H. R. F. Keating's Ghote novels also give the reader a fascinating insight into everyday life - and crime - in India's teeming metropolis, Mumbai.
Based on a real-life serial killer, the haunting ending will stay with you forever.
Patricia Highsmith's novel was famously adapted into a movie starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon as the Mr Ripley of the title. This disturbing, compelling tale contains glamour and gore in equal measure.
Set in Berlin pre and post WW2, anti-hero Gunther is like an acerbic Jack Bauer – and wonderful for it.
Over My Dead Body is the seventh of Rex Stout's novels featuring the gargantuan - and orchid-obsessed - detective, Nero Wolfe. As the story unfolds (stolen diamonds and a fencing academy feature) we start to learn more about Wolfe's mysterious past, before he installed himself and his household in his New York brownstone.
One of the original - and best - adventure thrillers, John Buchan's 39 Steps introduces us to the intrepid Richard Hannay, a man caught up in circumstances that affect more than his own destiny, but the security of the entire nation during WW1.
Margery Allingham's Campion novels were highly regarded as literature, as well as being addictive whodunnits. The Fashion in Shrouds is a perfect period piece, bringing in a glamorous London couture house, an unpleasant aviator and all the false glitter of the bright young things.
Arthur Conan Doyle gave us one of the most enduring mysteries in literature with the third of his Sherlock Holmes novels. Featuring a demonic glowing hellhound roaming the moors of Devon and a family curse, it stands up to re-reading and still thrills with its eerie atmosphere.
This political thriller was lauded for the way it captured the zeitgeist of post-9/11 America. Featuring a trio of central characters from very different backgrounds, it deals with themes including cyberspace, technology and virtual worlds.
The False Inspector Dew is a critically acclaimed humorous crime novel set in the '20s. Alma Webster devises a plan with her dentist love to murder his wife aboard the ocean liner Mauretania, which involves him assuming the identity of Inspector Walter Dew. Clever and funny, this is a hugely entertaining read with an ending you won't predict.
Dorothy L. Sayers' aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey investigates a 20 yeard old mystery involving a stolen emerald necklace - and picks up some useful knowledge about bell ringing along the way.
Despite being just 100 pages long, The Postman Always Rings Twice is regarded as one of the most important crime novels of the 20th century and features the iconic femme fatale Cora, who conspires with her lover to murder her husband.
Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White was serialized between 1859 and 1869 and is widely considered to be one of the first ever detective novels with the book's hero, Walter Hartright, using many of the investigative techniques we tend to associate with later sleuths. Fans of 20th century crime fiction will find this gives a fascinating insight into the origins of the genre.
Ian Fleming's 1957 novel, From Russia With Love, was the fifth in his James Bond series and finds the legendary spy attempting to avert an act of terrorism, smuggle a decoding device out of Turkey and handle a beautiful Russian double agent - of course.
Raymond Chandler is regarded by many as the greatest noir writer and The Lady in the Lake is one of his best novels. Chandler's famously laconic private eye Philip Marlowe is transported from his usual L.A. stomping ground to a small mountain town outside the city, where he has to untangle a fantastically complicated web of murder and mistaken identity - all while protecting his own reputation.
Trent's Last Case earned its place in detective fiction history because it was the earliest send-up of the genre, featuring as it does a detective who draws all the wrong conclusions and falls in love with a suspect.
Some of Agatha Christie's best mystery novels don't actually feature Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. The protagonist of They Came to Baghdad is the intrepid Victoria Jones - an ordinary London typist who finds herself caught up in an international crisis. Using MacGyver-style ingenuity, Victoria plays an instrumental part in foiling the evil plans of a power-crazed fascist group.