At the end of a year when murder mysteries rode high in the charts, we ask crime writers to celebrate the best fictional detectives

I first saw the literary possibilities of the “crime novel” when I was in my middle teens, and my older brother gave me a copy of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Until then I had mostly known the jigsaw puzzles of Agatha Christie or the barely bearable Wimseycalities of Dorothy L Sayers. Here, in Chandler, was style.

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