My top 7 detective fiction writers

My top 7 detective fiction writers

I read a lot of detective fiction. It's armchair traveling and so the setting matters as much as the characters and the plot. These are my favorite 7 writers:

Georges Simenon - prolific Belgian writer famous for his Paris Commissaire Jules Maigret. I was first drawn in by the novels set in and around the canals and locks and coasts of northern France. Simenon obviously loved boats.

Agatha Christie - equally prolific English writer, discussed in this chapter. Her heroes are never police detectives and I much prefer Miss Marple over Hercule Poirot. So did Christie, who reportedly said Poirot was "insufferable" as early as 1930.

Jörg Bong (nom de plume: Jean-Luc Bannalec) - German writer whose Commissaire Dupin novels are set in Brittany, which shimmers in his writing. Although the novels have been translated into English, he still doesn't have an English Wikipedia entry.

Donna Leon - American writer whose Commissario Guido Brunetti novels are set in Venice. I like her focus on environmental themes, a police detective who isn't neurotic, and who among us doesn't love Venice?

Ian Rankin - Scottish writer, whose Inspector Rebus novels are set in Edinburgh. I enjoy the rough around the edges (but essentially honest) Rebus and his efforts to navigate the contradictions of police work, as well as his work partner Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke.

Andrea Camilleri - Sicilian writer whose Inspector Montalbano novels are set in Sicily and who regularly made me laugh.

Valerio Varesi - Italian writer whose Commissario Soneri novels are set in Parma and have an existential and dream-like nature - it's reflected in the titles of his novels.

Honorable mention: Antonio Manzini (Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone in Aosta, Italy) and Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexler, U.K.).

I wish there were more women detectives to like - Rankin's Siobhan Clarke and Leon's female detectives stand out. I also wish women detective writers were less sadistic toward their characters (Louise Penny, Fred Vargas, and pretty much all English women writers), which means the sadism is directed at the reader too, but that's another story.