The Haycraft-Queen Definitive Library
of Detective, Crime, and Mystery Fiction
"A Reader's List of Detective Story Cornerstones"

Date Author Title Comments by Haycraft
and/or Queen
1748 Voltaire * Zadig (The Great-Grandfather of the Detective Story)
1828-29 Francois Eugene Vidocq * Memoirs de Vidocq (The Grandfather of the Detective Story)
1845 Edgar Allan Poe Tales (The Father of the Detective Story)
1852-3 Charles Dickens Bleak House
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1870
1856 "Waters" (William Russell) * Recollections of a Detective Police Officer (The first English detective yellow-back)
1860 Wilkie Collins * The Woman in White
1862 Victor Hugo * Les Miserables (First edition in English, also 1862)
1866 Feodor Dostoevsky * Crime and Punishment (First edition in English, 1886)
1866 Emile Gaboriau L'Affaire Lerouge (The Widow Lerouge) (The Father of the Detective Novel)
* Le Dossier No 113, 1867 (File No. 113)
* Le Crime d'Orcival, 1868 (The Crime of Orcival)
Monsieur Lecoq, 1869 (Monsieur Lecoq)
1868 Wilkie Collins The Moonstone (The Father of the English Detective Novel)
1872 (Harlan Page Halsey) * Old Sleuth, the Detective (The first Dime Novel detective story)
1874 Allan Pinkerton * The Expressman and the Detective
1878 Anna Katharine Green * The Leavenworth Case (The Mother of the American Detective Novel)
1882 Robert Louis Stevenson * The New Arabian Nights
* Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1886 (Was it Maurice Richardson who said of this book that it is the only detective-crime story he knows in which the solution is more terrifying than the problem?)
1887 Fergus W. Hume * The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (An historically important book)
1887 A. Conan Doyle A Study in Scarlet (The listing of all the Sherlock Holmes books -- the complete works -- is sheer idolatry. Surely the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, is an undeniable cornerstone; also The Adventures and The Memoirs; and the best of the novels should also be present in any definitive detective library. Most critics would probably select The Hound as the best novel; John Dickson Carr's choice is The Valley of Fear.)
The Sign of the Four, 1890
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1892
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1894
The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1902
The Return of Sherlock Holmes, 1905
The Valley of Fear, 1915
His Last Bow, 1917
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, 1927
1892 Israel Zangwill The Big Bow Mystery
1894 Mark Twain * The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
1894 Arthur Morrison Martin Hewitt: Investigator
1895 M.P. Shiel * Prince Zaleski
1897 Bram Stoker * Dracula (A mystery classic -- interpreting "mystery" in its broadest sense.)
1899 E.W. Hornung * The Amateur Cracksman (The first Raffles book -- "detection in reverse")
1903 (Erskine Childers) * The Riddle of the Sands (Recommended by Christopher Morley as the classic secret service novel)
1906 Godfrey R. Benson Tracks in the Snow
1906 Robert Barr The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont
1907 Jacques Futrelle The Thinking Machine
1907 Maurice Leblanc * Arsene Lupin: Gentleman-Cambrioleur
* "813," 1910 (The Leblanc-Lupin masterpiece)
Les Huit Coups de L'Horloge, 1922
1907 Gaston Leroux Le Mystere de la Chambre Jaune (English translation: The Mystery of the Yellow Room)
* Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir, 1908-9 (English translation: The Perfume of the Lady in Black
1907 R. Austin Freeman The Red Thumb Mark (The First Dr. Thorndyke book)
* John Thorndyke's Cases, 1909
* The Eye of Osiris, 1911
The Singing Bone, 1912 (The first "inverted" detective stories)
1908 Mary Roberts Rinehart The Circular Staircase (The founding of the Had-I-But-Known school)
1908 O. Henry * The Gentle Grafter
1908 G.K. Chesterton * The Man Who Was Thursday
The Innocence of Father Brown, 1911
1909 Cleveland Moffett * Through the Wall (A neglected highspot)
1909 Baroness Orczy The Old Man in the Corner
1909 Carolyn Wells The Clue (The first Fleming Stone book)
1910 A.E.W. Mason At the Villa Rose (The first Hanaud book)
The House of the Arrow, 1924
1910 William MacHarg and Edwin Balmer * The Achievements of Luther Trant (The first book of short stories to make scientific use of psychology as a method of crime detection)
1912 Arthur B. Reeve The Silent Bullet (The first Craig Kennedy book)
1913 Ms. Belloc Lowndes The Lodger (One of the earliest "suspense" stories)
1913 Sax Rohmer * The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu
1913 E.C. Bentley Trent's Last Case (First U.S. title: The Woman in Black)

(The birth of naturalism in characterization)
1914 Ernest Bramah Max Carrados (The first blind detective)
1914 Louis Joseph Vance * The Lone Wolf
1915 John Buchan * The Thirty-Nine Steps
1916 Thomas Burke * Limehouse Nights
1918 Melville Davisson Post Uncle Abner
1918 J.S. Fletcher The Middle Temple Murder
1920 Agatha Christie * The Mysterious Affair at Styles (The first Hercule Poirot book)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 1926
1920 Freeman Wills Crofts The Cask Inspector French's Greatest Case, 1924
1920 H.C. Bailey Call Mr. Fortune
The Red Castle, 1932
1920 "Sapper" (Cyril McNeile) * Bull-Dog Drummond
1920 Arthur Train * Tutt and Mr. Tutt
1921 Eden Phillpotts The Grey Room
1922 A.A. Milne The Red House Mystery
1923 G.D.H. Cole The Brooklyn Murders
1923 Dorothy L. Sayers * Whose Body? (The first Lord Peter Wimsey book)
The Nine Tailors (1934)
--and Robert Eustace The Documents in the Case, 1930
1924 Philip MacDonald The Rasp (The first Colonel Anthony Gethryn book)
* Warrant for X, 1938 (English title: The Nursemaid Who Disappeared, 1938)
1925 Edgar Wallace The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder
1925 John Rhode The Paddington Mystery (The first Dr. Priestley book)
The Murders in Praed Street, 1928
1925 Earl Derr Biggers The House Without a Key (The first Charlie Chan book)
1925 Theodore Dreiser * An American Tragedy
1925 Liam O'Flaherty * The Informer
1925 Ronald A. Knox The Viaduct Murder
1926 S.S. Van Dine The Benson Murder Case, or (The first Philo Vance book)
The "Canary" Murder Case, 1927
1926 C.S. Forester * Payment Deferred
1927 Frances Noyes Hart The Bellamy Trial
1928 W. Somerset Maugham * Ashenden
1929 Anthony Berkeley The Poisoned Chocolates Case
* Trial and Error
[Frances Iles] Before the Fact, 1932
1929 Ellery Queen The Roman Hat Mystery (The first Ellery Queen book)
* Calamity Town, 1942
[Barnaby Ross] The Tragedy of X, 1932 (The first Drury Lane book)
* The Tragedy of Y, 1932
1929 Rufus King * Murder by the Clock (The first Lieutenant Valcour book)
1929 W.R. Burnett Little Caeser
1929 T.S. Stribling * Clues of the Caribbees (The only Professor Poggioli book)
1929 Harvey J. O'Higgins * Detective Duff Unravels It (The first psychoanalyst detective)
1929 Mignon G. Eberhart The Patient in Room 18
1930 Frederick Irving Anderson The Book of Murder
1930 Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon (The first Sam Spade book)
* The Glass Key, 1931
* The Adventures of Sam Spade, 1944
1930 David Frome The Hammersmith Murders (The first Mr. Pinkerton book)
1931 Stuart Palmer * The Penguin Pool Murder (The first Hildegarde Withers book)
1931 Francis Beeding * Death Walks in Eastrepps (Vincent Starrett considers this book "one of the ten greatest detective novels")
1931 Glen Trevor [James Hilton] * Murder at School
(U.S. title:
Was it Murder?, 1933)
1931 Damon Runyon * Guys and Dolls
1931 Phoebe Atwood Taylor The Cape Cod Mystery (The first Asey Mayo book)
1932 R.A.J. Walling The Fatal Five Minutes
1932 Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson Re-enter Sir John
1933 Erle Stanley Gardner * The Case of the Velvet Claws (The first Perry Mason book)
The Case of the Sulky Girl, 1933
1934 Margery Allingham Death of a Ghost
1934 James M. Cain * The Postman Always Rings Twice
1934 Rex Stout Fer-de-Lance (The first Nero Wolfe book)
* The League of Frightened Men, 1935
1935 Richard Hull The Murder of My Aunt
1935 John P. Marquand * No Hero (The first Mr. Moto book)
1938 John Dickson Carr [Carter Dickson] The Crooked Hinge (In his original list, Mr. Haycraft chose The Arabian Nights Murder by Carr and The Plague Court Murders by Dickson; but on page 43 of his The Art of the Mystery Story Mr. Haycraft wrote: "After careful, and possibly maturer, re-reading I beg to change my vote" to The Crooked Hinge and The Judas Window)
The Judas Window, 1938
* The Curse of the Bronze Lamp, 1945
(English title: Lord of the Sorcerers, 1946)
1938 Nicholas Blake The Beast Must Die
1938 Michael Innes Lament for a Maker
1938 Clayton Rawson * Death from a Top Hat (The first Great Merlini book)
1938 Graham Greene * Brighton Rock
1938 Daphne du Maurier * Rebecca
1938 Mabel Seeley The Listening House
1939 Ngaio Marsh Overture to Death
1939 Eric Ambler A Coffin for Dimitrios
(English title: The Mask of Dmitrios)
1939 Raymond Chandler The Big Sleep or (The first Philip Marlowe book)
Farewell, My Lovely, 1940
1939 Georges Simenon The Patience of Maigret
1940 Raymond Postgate Verdict of Twelve
1940 Frances and Richard Lockridge The Norths Meet Murder
1940 Dorothy B. Hughes The So Blue Marble or
In a Lonely Place, 1947
1940 Cornell Woolrich [William Irish] * The Bride Wore Black
Phantom Lady, 1942
1940 Manning Coles Drink to Yesterday (The first two Tommy Hambledon books)
A Toast to Tomorrow, 1941
(English title: Pray Silence, 1940)
1941 H.F. Heard * A Taste for Honey
1941 Craig Rice Trial by Fury or
Home Sweet Homicide, 1944
1942 H.H. Holmes
(Anthony Boucher)
* Rocket to the Morgue
1942 James Gould Cozzens * The Just and the Unjust
1944 Hilda Lawrence Blood Upon the Snow
1946 Helen Eustis The Horizontal Man
1946 Charlotte Armstrong * The Unsuspected
1946 Lillian de la Torre * Dr. Sam: Johnson, Detector
1946 Edmund Crispin The Moving Toyshop or
Love Lies Bleeding, 1948
1947 Edgar Lustgarten One More Unfortunate
(English title: A Case to Answer)
1947 Roy Vickers * The Department of Dead Ends
1948 Josephine Tey The Franchise Affair
1948 William Faulkner * Intruder in the Dust