The Top 5 Mystery Writers?

Smoking Gun

The Top 5 Mystery Writers?

In the process of preparing for the release of the first in my series of mystery novels, I commissioned a market survey of book buyers.  One of the survey questions was: ” Who are your favorite mystery writers?”

Aside from the insight I gained for marketing purposes, I personally found the results surprising.  See what you think.

Stephen King came in at Number 1.

John Grisham and James Patterson tied for Number 2.

Dick Francis and Mary Higgins Clark tied for Number 3.

Number 4 was Dan Brown.

There was a 5 way tie for Number 5:  Joel Goldman, J.K. Rowling, Robert Ludlum, Stephanie Meyer, Agatha Christie.

What Were You Smoking?

 Okay, so . . . it’s true.  While they are all top authors, they’re not exactly the list of mystery writers I would have come up with.  Come on, Stephanie Meyer is the bestselling author of the Twilight Series which is considered a Young Adult Paranormal Romance.  Then there’s J.K. Rowling, the billionaire author of the Harry Potter books.  A fabulous success story and publishing phenomena, but a mystery writer?  I can almost see how Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum could make the list.  Still, their works are largely known as thrillers.  Thrillers, mysteries, are we picking nits here?  And what about Stephen King?  In my mind, one of the greatest, most prolific horror writers of all time.  And arguably, many of his works are easily classified as mystery stories.  However, he’s not widely known for his mystery novels.

How Could the Book Buying Public Be So Wrong?

 Some of my favorite mystery writers didn’t even make the top 10.  For starters, what about James Lee Burke, or Michael Connelly?

At the end of the day, book buyers aren’t wrong.  The customer is NEVER wrong.  If they say these authors pen their favorite mystery books, then of course they’re right.  After all, good mystery stories are in the eye of the reader.

Mystery, Undefined

 Among other things, the survey results prove that what makes a good mystery story is still a mystery.

Who’s Missing?

 Who are your Top 5 mystery writers?


My mystery books Dark Side of Sunset Pointe,  Flight of the Tarantula Hawk, and Grey Daze are available on Amazon. Cut-Throat Syndrome, the newest Lance Underphal Mystery is in progress and will be released later this year.

You may also check out the book trailers for Dark Side of Sunset Pointe and Flight of the Tarantula Hawk on YouTube.

For more on the mystery writer, Michael Allan Scott, and the Lance Underphal mystery series, as well as free short stories and book excerpts go to

If you’re interested in my reading tastes, please join Michael Allan Scott on Goodreads for my reading lists and book reviews.


Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.

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