I recently read an article at Crime Reads with the provocative title: "The Art of the Twist Ending: 15 of the Greatest 'Twist' Endings Ever Written", by British poet and crime fiction writer Sophie Hannah.
I commented on this article in a recent call to friends to come up with a better, more comprehensive list:
"Her list is incredibly disappointing. Had she entitled it '15 of the Greatest Twists Ever Written in Domestic Thrillers and Literary Novels With Unreliable Narrators,' I feel like her list would have been more complete."
I wouldn't have even minded so much if she had made it, "15 of my FAVORITE novels with twist endings," because, as I said, this list is HIGHLY subjective.
I found her list doubly disappointing once I put it together that Ms. Hannah is the author selected by the estate of Agatha Christie to continue the Hercule Poirot series of novels (and not ONE of Christie's novels made her list. Not. ONE.), but it DOES mention The Woman in the Wind by the now-seeming colossal fraud A.J. Finn (Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about).
So I decided to make up my own list and use it as my next rotation post here at the Sleuthsayers blog. But these wouldn't be my choices (well, not solely). I crowdsourced the question to my friends on Facebook.
The resulting list of titles is below. And while it's more comprehensive than Ms. Hannah's, it is by no means definitive. Also, I can't vouch for all of these titles, as I haven't (YET) read several of them.
That said, I trust the tastes of the friends who suggested this list. and so I offer them as fodder for those of you who love a good literary twist, and might be in the market for something to read.
Only one of Ms. Hannah's choices (Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca) would come close to cracking my personal list, with another two (Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island) qualifying based on being mentioned by the aforementioned friends whose collective taste I so trust.
So here they are, in no particular order:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Cartel by Don Winslow
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg
The Yellow Room by Mary Rhinehart
The Chill by Ross MacDonald
The Pick-Up by Charles Willeford
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Defending Jacob by William Landay
The Beast in View by Margaret Millar
The Ax by Donald Westlake
The Dramatist by Ken Bruen
And You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
In the Best Families by Rex Stout
The Servant's Tale by Margaret Frazer
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Killing Time by Donald E. Westlake
The Poet by Michael Connelly
A Family Affair by Rex Stout
A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett
Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham
The Collector by John Fowles
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
And of course no such list would be complete without this suggestion by our own Rob Lopresti. The hilariously titled Bimbos of the Death Sun, by Sharyn McCrumb!
A Heartfelt Thanks (Also in No Particular Order) To Our Contributors:
James W. Ziskin
J. D. Rhoades
So many books, so little time! Hope you found some new titles to interest you! Thanks for reading, and see you in two weeks!