The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books On My Syllabus if I taught a Classic Mystery 101 class.
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Reason: It's a fantastic mix of history and modern day (well modern-ish) detective work. Plus it illustrates that you can have an interesting and complex mystery with the detective not even leaving his bed. And really this is just one everyone should read.
2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Reason: There are so many reasons why this one should be examined. The fact that you really can't trust anything that you are simply told. An example of how easy it is to have conflicting physical evidence. And of course, the concept of justice in the first place.
3. Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Reason: This was the book that really made Agatha famous and for good reason. There could be some really great discussions on twists and authors can effectively use clues within the book. Then there's the question - did she cheat?
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Reason: While probably not technically a mystery Jackson's ability to magically infuse a book with atmosphere is definitely something that needs to be studied. And Hill House is definitely more than a little creepy though in my opinion not as terrifying as it's reputation makes it sound.
5. False Scent by Ngaio Marsh
Reason: Partly because Marsh should be represented and partly because this is the clearest example that the motive for a murder doesn't have to be big or sinister and the murderer doesn't need to obviously be a madman.
6. The Listening Eye by Patricia Wentworth
Reason: Patricia Wentworth is another author that really must be represented when talking about classic mysteries. Her Miss Silver has the art of interrogation down to an exact science and this book has a particularly interesting motive.
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Reason: I need an American mystery writer in with all these Brits! Rinehart was writing in the same time period as Christie and Sayers so the comparison between the British and American mysteries would be interesting and The Circular Staircase is just a good mystery!
8. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Reason: Not only is this a fascinating look at the legal and ethic definitions of murder but it takes the classic locked room murder to whole new levels.
9. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
Reason: Lord Peter Wimsey is such an unusual character and Sayers' books are just so smart they are definitely worth studying. I love the whole disturbance of the class structure and how it bothers both the police detectives and Wimsey's peers.
10. Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
Reason: Because a mystery doesn't always have to have a murder and be a typical whodunnit and this is one of the best examples of that.
These would be the books I would make my students read if I was teaching a class on classic mysteries. What kind of class would you teach? Have you read any of these?