10 Swinging Sixties Crime Novels You May Enjoy


“1. Victor Canning: Doubled in Diamonds. Canning was a star crime writer in the ’60s and in Rex Carver he created one of the best wise-cracking British private detectives ever. The four Carver novels are narrated in the first person. … 2. Agatha Christie: A Caribbean Mystery. I may be cheating a bit here: although Christie penned this Miss Marple cozy mystery in 1964 she doesn’t explicitly say when it’s set although the descriptions infer it’s contemporary. … 3. Len Deighton: The Ipcress File. You could call this a spy novel but the hero, Harry Palmer, takes on a whole regiment of criminals and secret agents as he pursues his quarry – Bluejay. … 4. Desmond Bagley: Running Blind. Bagley was another top performer during the ’60s producing a string of excellent crime novels including The Freedom Trap and The Spoilers. Running Blind predates Icelandic noir by decades. … 5. Alistair Maclean: Puppet on a Chain. MacLean is best known for his set piece war novels such as The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare. Puppet on a Chain is set mostly in ’60s Amsterdam. … 6. Ed McBain: The Empty Hours. McBain was in his pomp during the ’60s writing the gritty contemporary cop tales in his US-based 87th Precinct series. … 7. Ross Macdonald. Black Money. Many speak of Macdonald as the true heir of Raymond Chandler. And Macdonald was at his peak during the ’60s turning out a string of his hard-boiled Lew Archer crime mysteries. … 8. Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö: The Laughing Policeman. This woman (Sjöwall) and man (Wahlöö) pair were early entrants into the Nordic noir field with this contemporary cop mystery published in 1968. Detective Beck investigates what lies behind the machine-gun slaughter of eight people on a bus and discovers a link to a previous crime. 9. John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. This is the ’60s spy thriller which set the benchmark for all the others. Probably le Carré’s shortest book, but none the worse for that. The plot is assembled with machine-tool precision and every twist comes as a shock both to the reader and to the tragic anti-hero Alec Leamas – played brilliantly in the film version by Richard Burton. … 10. Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal. Set at the height of the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète (OAS) terror in Paris in 1962, the plot concerns a hired assassin’s attempt to kill President General de Gaulle. …”
Peter Bartram

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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