The senior members of the Telegraph's literary staff today presented their 50 greatest crime writers of all time, and then for good measure added Robert B. Parker. The creator of Spenser was then interviewed.
I haven't had time to read the Parker interview but the list contains some incredible omissions. Obviously these lists are constructed to stimulate debate, but make a list that at least pretends you have read more than a smattering of crime fiction.
Remember this was touted as the "50 greatest crime writers of all time", but then I suppose it was chosen by the "senior members of .....the literary staff".
No I must not be unkind or nasty, but Denise Mina and no P.D.James!
Pull the other one it's got bells on.
Benjamin Black, the guy has only written two crime novels, which admittedly, I have not read, but how can you leave out Ken Bruen if you want an Irish writer.
Stieg Larsson, which they spelt Steig, only wrote three books of which one has been translated into English, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This sits on my shelf unread as yet, but however good it is he surely does not deserve a place over, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, Karin Fossum, Fred Vargas, or Arnaldur Indridason, all of whom have a solid body of work.
Robert Crais included over Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, John D. MacDonald, Tony Hillerman, Laura Lippman, Peter Temple and Rex Stout, come on let's get real.
William Mcilvanney in and no Colin Dexter or Peter Robinson, absolute nonsense.
And any list of great crime writers that does not include Ross Macdonald has got to be absolute tosh.
Some good inclusions were Andrea Camilleri [of course], Henning Mankell, Reginald Hill, George Pelecanos and Lawrence Block.
I am sure this will stimulate plenty of debate about crime fiction on their forum, which has to be a good thing for the genre. But perhaps they opened a few two many bottles of wine at their lunch, and the suggestion that Robert B. Parker "may be the best crime writer you've never read" makes me feel very old.
They will be spelling Marlowe without the "e" next.