David Lehman, in his The Perfect Murder: A study in Detection (1989), provides a list of recommended titles. They "were chosen for their importance in the evolution of the mystery genre or simply for the pleasure they reliably give; in many cases, both reasons apply."


Allingham, Margery The Fashion in Shrouds. 1938
Auster, Paul The New York Trilogy. 1985-86
Bentley, E.C. Trent's Last Case. 1912
Bergman, Andrew The Big Kiss-Off of 1944. 1974
Berkeley, Anthony The Poisoned Chocolates Case. 1929
Blake, Nicholas Thou Shell of Death. 1936
Blake, Nicholas The Beast Must Die. 1938
Blake, Nicholas The Corpse in the Snowman. 1941
Blake, Nicholas Minute for Murder. 1947
Blake, Nicholas The Widow's Cruise. 1959
Cain, James M. Double Indemnity. 1936
Candy, Edward Words for Murder Perhaps. 1971
Carr, John Dickson The Three Coffins. 1935
Carr, John Dickson The Burning Court. 1937
Carr, John Dickson The Crooked Hinge. 1938
Chandler, Raymond The Big Sleep. 1939
Chandler, Raymond Farewell, My Lovely. 1940
Chandler, Raymond The High Window. 1942
Chandler, Raymond The Long Good-bye. 1954
Chesterton, Gilbert Keith The Club of Queer Trades. 1935
Chesterton, Gilbert Keith The Man Who Was Thursday. 1908
Chesterton, Gilbert Keith The Innocence of Father Brown. 1911
Chesterton, Gilbert Keith The Wisdom of Father Brown. 1914
Christie, Agatha The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. 1926
Christie, Agatha Murder in the Orient Express. 1934
Christie, Agatha The ABC Murders. 1936
Christie, Agatha And Then There Were None. 1940
Christie, Agatha Curtain. 1975
Collins, Wilkie The Moonstone. 1868
Crispin, Edmund The Moving Toyshop. 1946
Crumley, James Dancing Bear. 1985
Dickson, Carter The Judas Window. 1938
Dickson, Carter The Reader Is Warned. 1939
Doyle, Arthur Conan A Study in Scarlet. 1887
Doyle, Arthur Conan The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. 1892
Doyle, Arthur Conan The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. 1894
Doyle, Arthur Conan The Hound of the Baskervilles. 1902
Eco, Umberto The Name of the Rose. 1983
Ellin, Stanley Mystery Stories. 1956
Ellin, Stanley The Eighth Circle. 1958
Fearing, Kenneth The Big Clock. 1946
Freeman, R. Austin The Red Thumb Mark. 1907
Grafton, Sue "C" is for Corpse
Hammett, Dashiell Red Harvest. 1929
Hammett, Dashiell The Maltese Falcon. 1930
Hammett, Dashiell The Glass Key. 1931
Highsmith, Patricia Strangers on a Train. 1949
Highsmith, Patricia The Talented Mr. Ripley. 1957
Hjortsberg, William Falling Angel. 1977
Innes, Michael Hamlet, Revenge!
James, P. D. Death of an Expert Witness. 1977
James, P. D. A Taste for Death. 1986 
Kemelman, Harry Friday the Rabbi Slept Late. 1964
Leonard, Elmore Glitz. 1985
Levin, Ira A Kiss Before Dying. 1953
Lyons, Arthur Hard Trade. 1981
McBain, Ed Ten Plus One. 1963
McBain, Ed Long Time No See. 1977
McBain, Ed Ice. 1983
MacDonald, Ross The Chill. 1964
MacDonald, Ross The Good-bye Look. 1969
MacDonald, Ross The Underground Man. 1971
Marsh, Ngaio Overture to Death. 1936
Maxwell, Thomas Kiss Me Once. 1986
Nash, Simon Death Over Deep Water. 1963
Paretsky, Sara Bitter Medicine. 1987
Poe, Edgar Allan Tales. 1845
Postgate, Raymond Verdict of Twelve. 1940
Potter, Dennis The Singing Detective. 1986
Queen, Ellery The Chinese Orange Mystery. 1934
Rendell, Ruth Means of Evil. 1977
Rendell, Ruth The Killing Doll. 1985
Rosen, Richard Strike Three, You're Dead. 1984
Sayers, Dorothy Strong Poison. 1930
Sayers, Dorothy Murder Must Advertise. 1933
Simon, Roger The Big Fix. 1974
Smith, Mark The Death of the Detective. 1974
Stout, Rex Too Many Women. 1947
Stout, Rex And Be a Villain. 1948
Stout, Rex The Second Confession. 1949
Symons, Julian The 31st of February. 1951
Tey, Josephine The Daughter of Time. 1951 
Thompson, Jim The Killer Inside Me. 1952
Thompson, Jim The Getaway. 1959
Vine, Barbara A Fatal Inversion. 1987
Wade, Henry Heir Presumptive