The best old-school crime fiction novels that stood the test of time

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a South African crime fiction author. My books are published in 27 languages in more than 40 countries worldwide. Two of my books were turned into international TV series. Accolades for my books include Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policière from France, the Deutsche Krimi Preis, the Swedish Martin Beck Award, and the Barry Award for Best Thriller in the USA.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Dark Flood

What is my book about?

One last chance. Almost fired for insubordination, detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido find themselves demoted, exiled from the elite Hawks unit and dispatched to the leafy streets of Stellenbosch. Working a missing persons report on student Callie de Bruin is not the level of work they are used to, but it’s all they get. And soon, it takes a dangerous, deeply disturbing turn.

Stellenbosch is beautiful, but its economy has been ruined by one man. Jasper Boonstra and his gigantic corporate fraud have crashed the local property market, just when estate agent Sandra Steenberg desperately needs a big sale. Bringing up twins and supporting her academic husband, she is facing disaster. Then she gets a call from Jasper Boonstra, fraudster, sexual predator and owner of a superb property worth millions.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Ten Plus One

Deon Meyer Why did I love this book?

The late, great Ed McBain inspired a whole generation of crime fiction authors (including me) and influenced television too. Hill Street Blues was based on his character-driven novels and changed cop shows forever.

Ten Plus One is just one of the many in the 87th Precinct series, and as close to the perfect crime fiction novel that a mere mortal can get.

By Ed McBain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Plus One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Anthony Forrest walked out of the office building, the only thoughts on his mind were of an impending birthday and a meeting with his wife for dinner. And a deadly bullet saw to it that they were the last thoughts on his mind.

The problem for Detectives Steve Carella and Meyer Meyer of the 87th Precinct is that Forrest isn’t alone. An anonymous sniper is unofficially holding the city hostage, frustrating the police as one by one the denizens of Isola drop like flies. With fear gripping the citizenry and the pressure on the 87th mounting, finding a killer…


Book cover of The Deep Blue Good-By

Deon Meyer Why did I love this book?

I read this, the first in MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, as a teenager, and have been hooked on the series ever since. It was the characterization that did it. McGee is a loose-limbed, laid-back knight in dented armor, living on a houseboat called The Busted Flush (yes, he won it in a poker game) in Fort Lauderdale.

He even inspired the legendary Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.

By John D. MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Deep Blue Good-By as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Travis McGee, beach bum and 'salvage expert' (he'll retrieve what you've lost for 50 per cent), lives on a houseboat in Fort Lauderdale.Instead of taking retirement at sixty, he takes it in chunks as he goes along. If he likes you he'll help you, and he likes Cathy Kerr, who has been robbed of everything but her dignity ...the first in the series establishes the fast-talking, wisecracking standard MacDonald maintained for over 20 years.


Book cover of Early Autumn

Deon Meyer Why did I love this book?

When I think about the interaction of my own two detectives, Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido, I know Parker’s influence is still present. The banter between his iconic private eyes Spenser and Hawk is some of the very best dialogue you will find in crime fiction. He also had the wonderful ability to make even minor characters three-dimensional and interesting.

By Robert B. Parker,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Early Autumn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[Robert B.] Parker's brilliance is in his simple dialogue, and in Spenser.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

A bitter divorce is only the beginning. First the father hires thugs to kidnap his son. Then the mother hires Spenser to get the boy back. But as soon as Spenser senses the lay of the land, he decides to do some kidnapping of his own.

With a contract out on his life, he heads for the Maine woods, determined to give a puny 15 year old a crash course in survival and to beat his dangerous opponents at their own brutal game.


Book cover of The Anderson Tapes

Deon Meyer Why did I love this book?

Sanders’ protagonist, the delightful New York Police Department Captain Edward X. Delaney, had the wonderful habit of building delicious sandwiches that he ate over the kitchen basin. From him, I learnt that crime fiction characters can be quirky. And what they ate said as much about them as what they said.

By Lawrence Sanders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Anderson Tapes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The explosive Edgar Award–winning debut novel—told entirely through surveillance recordings, eyewitness reports, and other “official” documents—by New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Sanders

New York City. Summer 1968.Newly sprung from prison, professional burglar John Anderson is preparing for the biggest heist of his criminal career. The mark is a Manhattan luxury apartment building with the tony address of 535 East Seventy-Third Street. Enlisting a crew of scouts, con artists, and a getaway driver, Anderson orchestrates what he believes to be a foolproof plan. To pull off the big score, he needs one last thing: the permission of the local mafia,…


Book cover of Fletch

Deon Meyer Why did I love this book?

Who said crime fiction couldn’t be hilarious? McDonald created the former Marine turned investigative reporter Irwin Maurice "Fletch" Fletcher in 1974, and eventually wrote nine novels in the series. Fletch and the second, Confess, Fletch, was the only time a novel and its sequel won back-to-back Edgars. 

In 1985, Fletch was adapted into a movie with Chevy Chase in the title role.

By Gregory McDonald,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Fletch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book one in the bestselling mystery series that brought to life an iconic literary antihero of subversion and schemes
Fletch, investigative reporter extraordinaire, can’t be bothered with deadlines or expense-account budgets when it comes to getting his story.

Working undercover at the beach to dig up a drug-trafficking scheme for his next blockbuster piece, Fletch is invited into a much deeper narrative. Alan Stanwyk, CEO of Collins Aviation and all-around family man, mistakes the reporter for a strung-out vagabond and asks him for a favor: kill him and escape to Brazil with $50,000. Intrigued, Fletch can’t help but dig into…


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Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

Book cover of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

Wendy Lee Hermance Author Of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

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Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Lee Hermance was heard on National Public Radio (NPR) stations with her Missouri Folklore series in the 1980s. She earned a journalism degree from Stephens College, served as Editor and Features Writer for Midwestern and Southern university and regional publications, then settled into writing real estate contracts. In 2012 she attended University of Sydney, earning a master’s degree by research thesis. Her books include Where I’m Going with this Poem, a memoir in poetry and prose. Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat marks her return to feature writing as collections of narrative non-fiction stories.

Wendy's book list on why Portugal is weird

What is my book about?

Weird Foods of Portugal describes the author's first years trying to make sense of a strange new place and a home there for herself.

Witty, dreamlike, and at times jarring, the book sizzles with social commentary looking back at America and beautiful, finely drawn descriptions of Portugal and its people. Part dark-humor cautionary tale, part travel adventure, ultimately, Hermance's book of narrative non-fiction serves as affirmation for any who wish to make a similar move themselves.

Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

What is this book about?

"Wendy Lee Hermance describes Portugal´s colorful people and places - including taxi drivers and animals - with a poet´s empathy and dark humor. Part travel adventure, part cautionary tale, Weird Foods of Portugal is at it´s heart, affirmation for all who consider making such a move themselves."


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