Posted in Award Winners

Peter James voted best crime writer of all time by WHSmiths Readers

Peter James

Peter James, was voted Best Crime Writer of all time by WHSmiths Readers this week against stiff competition including Ian Rankin, Lee Child, PD James, Patricia Cornwell, Val McDermid, James Patterson, Martina Cole, Agatha Christie and many others.

I have to say I was delighted to see this news come through on my twitter feed this morning as because as loyal readers of this blog will know this is my favourite crime series of all times. For once it appears my tastes are in line with the majority (well of WHSmiths voters anyway)

I honestly can’t remember when I picked up the first in the Roy Grace series, Dead Simple, but it was published in 2005 and since my copy has been through the two house moves I’ve undertaken since then I think I was early on the uptake! I do know that for many years I look forward to June not for the better weather, ice-creams, lighter evenings (although I enjoy those too) but because that is the month that the next in the series is published.

This year I have it on good authority that You Are Dead, the eleventh in the series, will be published in May 2015 and you won’t have to wait long see my review here.

So what does Peter have to say about his runaway win?

 “I was amazed – it is truly a list of giants. I am thrilled beyond words.  It is a massive honour, and a wonderful feeling that so many readers out there like my work enough to have voted for me.  I’d like to thank them all so much.”

Geoff Duffield, Commercial Director of Pan Macmillan added: “It’s not a surprise to see Peter voted as the best-loved thriller writer. This accolade is a direct response to his uncanny ability to connect to his readers through his writing, and through Detective Superintendent Roy Grace in particular”.

Why do I enjoy this series so much? Well for me there is always at least one good mystery in each book to solve, not that I ever do, Roy Grace isn’t a maverick detective, obnoxious or an alcoholic, instead he comes across as a very ordinary type of man, the story arc about his missing believed dead wife Sandy along with his now settled home-life with Cleo (what a brilliant choice of name that has no bearing on my love of this series) is neither dismissed nor too big a part of each book and Peter James draws believable characters to populate Brighton. What’s not to like?

Peter’s Roy Grace novels, Dead Like You, Dead Man’s Grip, Not Dead Yet, Dead Man’s Time and Want You Dead all went straight into the bestseller lists at No 1. in the Autumn of 2012, Not Dead Yet toppled the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy off the No 1 paperback fiction slot, ending its 25 week domination of the chart. His novella, ‘The Perfect Murder’ (2010) went straight in at No 1 in the iBooks chart and spent 40 consecutive weeks in the iBooks Top 10. In 2014 it was adapted into a play called The Perfect Murder which had sell out audiences. Peter’s second play Dead Simple is currently on a sell out 6-month UK tour.

If you haven’t read any of Roy Grace Series by Peter James, you really should so  here are the books in order:

Dead Simple
Looking Good Dead
Not Dead Enough
Dead Man’s Footsteps
Dead Tomorrow
Dead Like You
Dead Man’s Grip
Not Dead Yet
Dead Man’s Time
Want You Dead

Click here to see more information on the top twenty crime writers along with all those authors who were voted for by WHSmiths’ readers. I’m very pleased to see that a fair few of my favourites made the list, are your favourites there too?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

18 thoughts on “Peter James voted best crime writer of all time by WHSmiths Readers

  1. I tweeted about this earlier, as the list irritated me a bit. Great names, but, imho, in the wrong order (Agatha Christie 5th?) There was also a husband-and-wife team in the Top 20 (NOT Nicci French, a bit of an omission) of whom I’d never heard. I voted for Ian Rankin, no surprise there! (He was 4th!) As it was run by WHSmith it’s the more commercial authors who’d do well (James Patterson, for example, was No.2 – it’s a bit incomprehensible that he’s regarded as a better crime writer than Agatha Christie, PD James, Ruth Rendell – when he gets other authors to write books from his outlines.) But you’ll never please everyone with these polls. And it could’ve been worse – Martina Cole could’ve won! Interesting post, Cleo – forgive my rant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you say it is a list voted upon by WHSmiths readers and therefore tends to reflect those authors who hit their top 100 books. I also think that these types of votes tend to garner more hits when the voter has recently read something, I agree that some of the big names who have delivered so many books over so many years have missed out unfairly. That said I do love Peter James so I’m delighted he got the top spot even if everyone didn’t vote according properly 😉 I was quite surprised at how many names made the list that I’d not even heard of… perhaps I shouldn’t consider myself a crime fiction lover after all? You rant away, I don’t mind although I don’t tend to take these things quite so seriously and Yay one of my favourites won 😉


  2. OK, I will say that I had heard of Peter James, but I’ve not ever read one of his books. I trotted right over to Amazon and picked up DEAD SIMPLE, because why not? I do have a few favorites on the list: Val McDermid, Karin Slaughter, and I’ve read a few Karen Rose books. Well, and of course Agatha Christie. I’ve read others but those are probably my favorites from the list. Looking forward to meeting Roy Grace. 🙂


  3. Well, my man Rankin came 4th, and I bet he’d have won if he hadn’t had last year off! I’m considering whether I should challenge you to a duel… 😉

    I did wish they hadn’t called it ‘of all time’ because apart from a couple, all the writers are really the bestsellers of ‘the present time’. But it’s an interesting list…


    1. Yes see my comments with Crimeworm above, I get the feeling that some people don’t follow the rules when they vote on things like this which isn’t entirely sporting. It is odd how we stick to our favourites though, I have to say the one Rankin I tried did nothing for me and I know you weren’t overly impressed by PJ – no need for a duel, my choice is top of the list :0P

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely post Cleo! Paying homage to one of your favourite writers. I’ve not read all of his books but the ones I have – WOW – I never expect the endings and the way he draws you into the action. I am now off to buy some more (they’ve changed the covers so I have to of course) hehe


  5. I was glad Peter James won. I adore Roy Grace and I used to live in Brighton. But voting in these lists makes me feel guilty. There are just so many top crime authors. I want them all to be recognised.


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