Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Top 100 List Combining the Rankings of the CWA and MWA Lists

A Combined Top 100 of the CWA and MWA Lists.

CWA 1990 Lists: (in ranked order) (by author)
MWA 1995 (in ranked order) (by author)

Some 156 works were presented between the CWA and MWA lists. Only 45 books appeared on both lists with 56 unique entries for the Americans and 55 unique entries for the Brits.

In order to create a combined ranking, for those books that appeared on both lists, their ranks were summed and halved. (For example, The Maltese Falcon ranked 10th and 2nd, average 6, which is the fourth best overall.) Two entries on the MWA list appeared too late to be counted on the CWA list and this was not penalized. They were treated as though both lists gave them their MWA ranking (which the CWA surely would have done, given the opportunity.)

For those that appeared on only one list, I began with the assumption that the books would have been acknowledged on the complementary list if the list had been extended to the Top 154 (156 minus the two which appeared late). The corresponding rank of 128 (midpoint between 101 and 154) was added to those which appeared on only one list and the sum was halved. Then the final figures were ranked, 1 to 156.

In the practical application of this method of combining the lists, those books which were on only one list and ranked 63rd or worse did not make the top 100 while all those ranked 62nd or below on just one list or else appeared on both lists, did make the cut.

The cut-off line appropriately came at Charles Dickens' The Mystery of Edward Drood, the only novel on the list with "mystery" in its name. Being an uncompleted work, it seems symbolically fitting, this list also is never finished.

Paula Gosling's The Running Duck, which suffered the indignity of not one but two dreadful film adaptations (Stallone's Cobra and Cindy Crawford's Fair Game (1995)—if you can imagine they came from the same novel), missed the cut by one.

Combined list of CWA and MWA, by rank.

  1 Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951)
  2 John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963)
  3 Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939)
  4 Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930)
  5 Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (1938)
  5 Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone (1868)
  7 Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
  8 Arthur Conan Doyle: The Collected Sherlock Holmes* (1892-1927)
  9 Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (1935)
10 Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Mystery & Imagination (1852)
11 Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely (1940)
11 Raymond Chandler: The Long Goodbye (1953)
13 Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (1939)
14 Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (1980)
15 Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal (1971)
16 Eric Ambler: The Mask of Dimitrios (1939)
17 John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
18 James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
19 Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (1934)
20 Len Deighton: The IPCRESS File (1962)
21 Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent (1987)
22 Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (1860)
23 John le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
24 E. C. Bentley: Trent's Last Case (1913)
25 Geoffrey Household: Rogue Male (1939)
26 Dorothy L. Sayers: Murder Must Advertise (1933)
27 John Grisham: The Firm (1991)
28 Hillary Waugh: Last Seen Wearing ... (1952)
29 Josephine Tey: The Franchise Affair (1948)
30 Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (1946)
31 Dorothy L. Sayers: Strong Poison (1930)
32 Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake (1943)
33 Ian Fleming: From Russia, with Love (1957)
34 Graham Greene: Brighton Rock (1938)
35 Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park (1981)
35 Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
37 Dashiell Hammett: The Glass Key (1931)
38 Graham Greene: The Third Man (1950)
38 Tony Hillerman: A Thief of Time (1989)
40 Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone (1977)
41 Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest (1929)
42 John Dickson Carr: The Hollow Man [aka The Three Coffins] (1935)
43 Robert Traver: Anatomy of a Murder (1958)
44 Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)
45 Mario Puzo: The Godfather (1969)
46 Michael Gilbert: Smallbone Deceased (1950)
46 Francis Iles: Malice Aforethought (1931)
46 Thomas Harris: The Silence of the Lambs (1988)
49 Agatha Christie: The Witness for the Prosecution (1948)
50 Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment (1866)
51 Ken Follett: Eye of the Needle (1978)
52  Margery Allingham: The Tiger in the Smoke (1952)
52 John Mortimer: Rumpole of the Bailey (1978) (short story collection)
52 Margaret Millar: Beast in View (1955)
55 Thomas Harris: Red Dragon (1981)
56 Peter Lovesey: The False Inspector Dew (1982)
57 Peter Lovesey: Wobble to Death (1970)
58 Gregory Mcdonald: Fletch (1974)
58 Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye (1986)
60 Dashiell Hammett: The Thin Man (1934)
61 Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
62 James M. Cain: Double Indemnity (1943)
63 Colin Dexter: The Dead of Jericho (1981)
63 Ed McBain: Cop Hater (1956)
65 Tony Hillerman: Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)
66 Patricia Highsmith: Strangers on a Train (1950)
67 Donald E. Westlake: The Hot Rock (1970)
68 Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase (1908)
69 Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
69 Anthony Berkeley: The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929)
71 Ellis Peters: The Leper of Saint Giles (1981)
72 Vera Caspary: Laura (1942)
72 Ira Levin: A Kiss Before Dying (1953)
74 Mickey Spillane: I, the Jury (1947)
75 Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö: The Laughing Policeman (1968)
76 Donald E. Westlake: Bank Shot (1972)
77 Jim Thompson: The Killer Inside Me (1952)
77 Ruth Rendell: A Demon in My View (1976)
78 Barbara Vine: A Fatal Inversion (1987)
80 John Dickson Carr: The Devil in Velvet (1951)
81 Mary Higgins Clark: Where Are the Children? (1975)
82 Sue Grafton: "A" is for Alibi (1982)
83 Michael Innes: The Journeying Boy (1949)
83 P. D. James: A Taste for Death (1986)
83 Lawrence Sanders: The First Deadly Sin (1973)
86 Truman Capote: In Cold Blood (1966)
86 Jack Higgins: The Eagle Has Landed (1975)
88 Mary Stewart: My Brother Michael (1960)
89 Walter Mosley: Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
89 Susan Moody: Penny Black (1984)
89  Peter Lovesey: Bertie and the Tin Man (1987)
92  G. K. Chesterton: The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)
93  John le Carré: Smiley's People (1979)
93  Len Deighton: Game, Set & Match (1984-1986)
95  Dick Francis: The Danger (1983)
96  P. D. James: Devices and Desires (1989)
96  Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
98  Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (1958)
98  Reginald Hill: Underworld (1988)
100 Mary Stewart: Nine Coaches Waiting (1958)
100 Charles Dickens: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870)

Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.
A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.

A Predator's Game, now available, Rook's Page Publishing.


Back page blurb.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game,  features Nikola Tesla as detective.



  1. I miss Rex Stout on this list and Jan Willem Van de Wetering. And I am sure when I think about it there will be more.

    1. Rex Stout did make the MWA list and just missed the cut-off for the combined lists. Another reader complained about the lack of Sara Paretsky. These lists were assembled in 1990 (CWA) and 1995 (MWA) when Paretsky was still early in her career.