Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme currently being run by the blog That Artsy Reader Girl. Put simply each Tuesday has a theme assigned to it and participating blogs have to come up with a top ten list around it. Last week I shared my Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020 and looking ahead at the next few topics I hope to take part in two themes from August.

I decided to do my list a little bit differently and, in a sense, have done more than one, and in the form of graphs. Firstly, I decided to look at the ten mystery writers I have read the most books by overall, (and completely nerded out by comparing how many of their titles I had actually reviewed on my blog.)

I don’t imagine anyone will be shocked by the first-place winner – Agatha Christie, for both number of overall reads and number of blog reviews, but some blog readers may be a little surprised by some of the authors that made the list. Though at this stage I ought to emphasise it is quantity not quality, which is being assessed. So yes, I really have read 17 novels by P. D. James, (majority of which I have now re-homed), 25 novels by Ngaio Marsh and 15 Gladys Mitchell novels. In fairness, I have enjoyed the odd book by these three writers, but the majority of my reads were more meh or downright duds. Interestingly, blogging has helped me to steer clear of authors I am less keen on, perhaps because it simply reminds me how bad the previous read was! Whilst I think I had quite a wide mystery reading taste pre-blog, (which is probably not reflected in this list), I still think blogging has helped me to read more diversely, as well as notice what writing styles work for me and which ones do not.

I hope it is not too unusual that my top ten list of most read authors is not completely filled with authors I really love. The fact that a lot of my favourite authors wrote less than a handful of books has unfortunately meant the likes of Juanita Sheridan and Joan Coggins did not make the cut.

So having looked at my overall reads, I then decided to do a top ten around the authors I have reviewed the most. I was interested to see which authors from the first list cropped up again, and which new writers joined the ranks.

Naturally Christie tops the charts, but Ames, Berkeley and Carr have all shot up the list into prime positions, which I think shows how this top ten reflects my reading preferences more accurately. This is continued with the new writers in the list: Anthony Gilbert, Conyth Little, Christopher Bush, Leo Bruce and Ethel Lina White; a mixture of intricate puzzle plots, comic crime and atypical suspense fiction. Somehow Marsh has still made the list, (just). However, I imagine if I re-did this list in a year or two’s time, other authors may have pushed her off her perch.

So what about everyone else? Which authors would feature in your list? Are these authors all firm favourites?

46 comments

  1. In my list, first is Christie🙂 Then comes Bellairs.😁 If I will have to include the ones I read before I started to book blog, Ken Follet, David Baldacci, Lee Child and JS Fletcher would make it to the list. I used to be a binge-on-series/author kinda reader before making my presence felt in the blogosphere.😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have read all of the short stories and novels by Holmes, but if you count up the novels and short stories in terms of their collections, the total number wasn’t high enough to make it into the Top Ten. I’ve read some by Stout but I never really warmed to the writing style of characters. Mary Stewart is an author I have been meaning to try. Are there any you would recommend as a first read?

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      • Moon-spinners would be as good a start as any. There are no continuing characters in her work. My Brother Michael was very involving and a really fine read. Both are set in Greece. Her description of the settings are one of the strengths of her work. Stay well and enjoy!!!

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  2. I am not 100% sure of the ranking, except the first two spots.

    Christie over 70
    Westlake/Stark I think about 50, plus rereads
    Rex Stout
    Queen everything up to 1956
    Carr
    Lawrence Sanders(!)
    Eric Ambler

    Everything By Ian Fleming, nearly everything by Len Deighton. Lots by JM Simmell, whom most have never heard of, but was Germany’s best selling writer once upon a time.

    Lots of non mystery writers. Over 10 by Trollope, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Thomas Mann, Kundera

    In the past two years the leader is QPQ, about 10.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here are my top 10 reads since I retired in 2013. I agree with you that many of my favorite authors did not make my list because they simply did not write enough novels.

    Agatha Christie 76
    Rex Stout 53
    Christopher Bush 50
    Kate Ellis 49
    Ellery Queen 44
    George Bellairs 43
    Emily Brightwell 37
    E.R. Punshon 35
    Ngaio Marsh 33
    John Dickson Carr 29

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  4. I’ve read (very close to) everything by most authors I’m interested in, so Carr/Dickson (68 novels) and Christie (66) would top my list, as they were so prolific.

    Ellery Queen (38), the Quentin/Stagge/Patrick consortium (36) and Ngaio Marsh (32) are the next tier, with Michael Innes (27) a bit behind them.

    If we include adventure thrillers, Dick Francis with his 43 titles (+ another 3 by his son Felix) and Alistair MacLean with 28 would also be up there.

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  5. I am so glad to see Rex Stout on several of the lists here. I wanted to do this Top Ten but then I thought I did not have enough authors that I have read a large number of books by. There is a Freebie Top Ten coming up, maybe I will do it then.

    Rex Stout and Agatha Christie would top my list, also Margery Allingham and Len Deighton.

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  6. I’ve read more Simenon, George Bellairs and Jan Willem van de Wettering than any of those. I’ve always felt that Agatha Christie was just plain dull, dull, dull. She had a very limited vocabulary and little variety in settings or character types. The older I grow, the more I firmly believe that “de gustibus, non est disputandum”. Our tastes and needs in authors and the stories we want to be told are probably determined early in our lives. In addition, there are many European writers in Italy, Germany, and France who deserve more reading and would get it too if not for the fact that there are not enough English language translations, I have some French and German and Russian but not enough to tackle a long work. And for me, time is running out. I consider myself lucky that there are some enticing younger writers emerging. No mention of Margery Allingham on the top ten list either, which I lament.

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    • Only read 8 by Allingham, so not enough to make the list. I enjoy trying classic crime fiction which is from outside of the UK/USA, but am stymied by my lack of language skills. Thankfully the likes of Locked Room International and Pushkin Press mean I can enjoy English translations of some author’s work from the period.

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  7. Based on what I own (not all yet read!) and just counting detective novels:

    Georges Simenon: 75
    Agatha Christie: 66
    Ellery Queen: 20
    John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson: 18
    Michael Innes: 14 – but read a few more in the past
    Freeman Wills Crofts: 13 – but will buy another 3 in September
    Colin Dexter: 13
    Nicholas Blake: 12
    Harry Kemelman: 12
    Dorothy L. Sayers: 12

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  8. HOLY CROW @ YOUR AGATHA CHRISTIE COMPLETION.

    I am also a major fan of graphs and charts, so yours are really fun to look at even if I haven’t read any of the authors. You make a good point about blogging helping you realize which authors you didn’t enjoy as much. I’ve noticed something similar since I started writing Goodreads reviews.
    RS

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  9. Data is fascinating of course. Another thing you could look at … over the five years you have been blogging, how many books in total have you read and of those, how many books have you scored above 4?

    For all the GAD bloggers who score their reviews (e.g., you, Laurie, JJ, Dead Yesterday blog, etc.), I would move to see a filtered list of the highest rated books that each had read.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think, after Christie, my list (in purely numerical terms) would be topped by Erle Stanley Gardner (about 55 titles read, out of over 120!). Others on my list would include Austin Freeman, E. C. R. Lorac (aka Carol Carnac) and John Rhode (aka Miles Burton, aka Cecil Waye). That’s over a period of at least 50 years, mind you.

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  11. At the risk of boring your readers Kate, here are many of the authors all of whose crime books I have read: Anthony Berkeley, Nicholas Blake, John & Emery Bonett, Glyn Carr, Douglas Clark, Edmund Crispin, Freeman Wills Crofts, Colin Dexter, Andrew Garve, Michael Innes, Peter Lovesey, Patricia Moyes, Simon Nash, Maurice Procter, Dorothy L. Sayers, Julian Symons, Henry Wade, Douglas Warner, Colin Watson, R.D. Wingfield. Every Leo Bruce except two, likewise Michael Gilbert (not read the last two Luke Pagan books). Every John Dickson Carr except Most Secret & The Hungry Goblin (might not have read The Lost Gallows & Castle Skull). Every Carter Dickson except Fear Is the Same. Every Ellery Queen except A Study in Terror. Every Hilary Waugh book with Fred Fellows. Every Ruth Rendell book with Reg Wexford. Every Hugh Pentecost & Judson Phillips from the early 1960s onwards except one or two. Every Simon Brett with Charles Paris. Every Joyce Porter Dover book. Every Ellis Peters crime novel she wrote before her Cadfael books took off. Almost every Roderic Jeffries/Jeffrey Ashford/Peter Alding. Almost every Roy Lewis with Arnold Landon & also those with Eric Ward. Every Dick Francis except maybe a couple of the last ones. Every Simon Troy except two. I’ll probably think of a few more authors I could add after adding this comment.

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      • Kate, at one time I used to read at least one book a day, I read my first John Dickson Carr (actually a Carter Dickson) probably around 1970, my father had a paperback of The Judas Window (that he bought new in the USA in 1946 and I still have the book), dad also had several green Penguins that I read, one I remember was Edmund Crispin Buried for Pleasure. I’ve read The Judas Window twice and enjoyed it both times, but other Henry Merrivale books I don’t like so much on the re-read, The White Priory Murders particularly was one I gave up on the second time. I hardly read any ‘new’ authors, even those older authors I read still being published today I have mainly lost interest in, apart from the peerless Peter Lovesey. I give up on books much more often nowadays than I ever did, I used to finish every book I started. The main problem these days is deciding what to read, it is not that I am short of books!

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      • ah yes I remember my early blogging days when I could manage over 20 reviews a month! Not quite so prolific nowadays…
        I don’t tend to read much modern crime fiction, though I dabble here and there. Thankfully there are plenty of pre 1960 mystery books to keep us out of mischief!

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