I discovered that I had read only 39 ot the 50 selections for the Greatest Crime Writers, which is probably why I came up with a my list of those 'missing in action' [see below].
How do we define a great Crime Writer, well my criteria would be that they would:
1) To have written a prolific body of work.
2) To have had a great influence on other writers.
3) To have produced new inventive ideas, or created a new sub genre.
4) To have had a longlasting appeal.
5) To have won a number of crime fiction prizes. [the least important factor]
6) To have invented truly memorable character, or characters.
If these criteria were applied to general fiction would Harper Lee be classified as a great author, or just someone who had written one great book and created a memorable character. I think To Kill a Mocking Bird and Atticus Finch would automatically put her in the great author list. But there is no crime fiction book in that super category, and I think that a large body of work is required to be a great crime fiction writer.
Among the Times selections I would challenge some of the choices as not meeting my criteria.
Are these crime fiction writers really great; Sara Paretsky, Henning Mankell, Ian Rankin, Harlan Coben, Scott Trurow, Michael Dibdin, Minette Walters, and Manuel Vazquez Montalban?
I know I am being a bit hard in the case of Hennig Mankell, but I don't think he is quite as good as Indridason or Nesbo.
Are they any better or had more influence on the crime fiction genre than my first thoughts 'missing in action' list of:
John D. MacDonald
Robert B. Parker
Donald E. Westlake
and Tony Hillerman?
Perhaps not. Who else have I forgotten?
The debate goes on and we can expect another list from The Rap Sheet soon I hope.