The Telegraph (UK) has a list of Fifty Crime Writers to Read before You Die. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/02/23/bocrime123.xml&page=2
Like most such lists it's fun, completely subjective and occasionally bizzare. Nothing to quibble about with the classic authors though two or three of the contemporary ones strike me as more trendy than substantial. And no Ross Macdonald. (I've scanned this three times and do believe he's missing.) Which makes the two or three trendy selections especially irritating.
But well worth a look.
Every year about this time a few of you write me off-line to ask if I'm going to the Edgars. I'm afraid not. I'm not good in crowds (potential lynch mobs) and maybe it's the fanboy in me but I don't feel right being in the presence of my betters. I hope I don't sound like Uriah Heep here--immodesty as a mask--but I mean that. I think I belong in Cedar Rapids.
I've been reading my way through Simon R. Green's urban fantasy/horror series and really enjoying myself. If you're looking for something different in your p.i. diet, the Nightside series is worth your tim. If you remember a great sleazy song called "One Night in Bangcock" you'll have some idea of what does on in the mean sttreetsof supernatural London.
Opening of all the books:
"My name is John Taylor. I've made that a name to be respected and feared, but it's also made me a target my whole life.
"I operate as a private eye, in a world where gods and monsters are real. The Nightside: the sick, secret magical heart of London. A place where dreams come true, whether you want them to or not. It's not easy to find a way in, and it can be even harder to find a way out. I can find anything, solve any mystery. Except the answers to the dark and deadly secrets of my own past.
"My name is John Taylor. And if you've come looking for me, either you're in trouble, or you're about to be."