Dead body outline from

The London Telegraph has published its list of the 50 crime writers you must read before you die.

Predictably, the list is sprinkled with European favorites unfamiliar to many U.S.-centric American readers. I certainly applaud the inclusion of the Scots author Denise Mina and the Dutchman Janwillem de Wetering (whose book on his stay in a Zen monastery, The Empty Mirror, is also superb). Both certainly should be better known over here. But how the editors could include those and not Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, the creators of the terrific, pioneering Martin Beck series is a mystery. For one thing, without Beck, there'd be no Grijpstra and de Gier, de Wetering's cop duo. (Americans know the series best for The Laughing Policeman, made into a so-so 1973 film with Walter Matthau. The 1976 Swedish effort, Mannen pa taket (aka Man on the Roof), is a much better translation of Beck to the screen.)

And how anyone could overlook Martin Cruz Smith (all the Arkady Renko thrillers) or Richard Price (Clockers and his brilliant new Lush Life) is beyond me.

February 26, 2008 10:45 AM |



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