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Collins, Wilkie (2008) The Woman in White. (First published 1859)

This upper-class Victorian love story is certainly one of the greatest literary thrillers. For slow, delicious reading.

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Dorothy L. Sayers (1995) Gaudy Nights. (First published in 1935)

This Lord Peter Wimsey mystery unfolds at the all-female Shrewsbury College at Oxford. Harriet Vane, mystery writer and alumna of the College, comes back for the annual Gaudy night, where she receives a note full of hatred. Some time later she is called back by the Dean because the unpleasant events have intensified. Academic life, mixed with vitriolic hate.

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Len Deighton (1995) The Ipcress File.

Cold war spy thriller that set the standards for the genre. Highly unusual, with a shrewd sense of humour.

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Daphne Du Maurier (1997) Rebecca. (First published in 1938)

The narrator, a young and shy woman, meets wealthy widow, Maxim de Winter, and falls in love with him. On his grand English estate, Manderley, she is immediately haunted by the powerful presence of the former mistress of Manderley, Maxim's flamboyant late wife Rebecca. This story of emotional horror and evil is classic masterpiece.

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Ruth Rendell (2000) A Judgement in Stone. (First published 1977)

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Stella Rimington (2010) Dead Line (Kindle Edition)

After working for 27 years in Britain's intelligence agency MI 5, Rimington knows what she is talking about. When she retired as Director General of the agency she started a series of credible espionage thrillers. Her fourth thriller is about a plot to disrupt a Middle East peace conference in Scotland.

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Sarah Waters (2002) Fingersmith.

This hypnotic suspense novel is a sumptuous slice of lesbian Victoriana, featuring pickpockets (finger smiths), grim prisons, lunatic asylums, and stolen fortunes.

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Wilkie Collins (2009) The Moonstone. (First published in 1868)

Like no other, this classical masterpiece of a mystery novel captures 19th century characters and atmosphere. "The first and greatest of English detective novels." (T. S. Eliot)

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P. D. James (2001) The Black Tower. (First published in 1975)

James' deeply bleak novel is set in an isolated home for patients with a fatal muscular disease. The home's elderly chaplain invites Adam Dalgliesh asking for help. But when Dalgliesh arrives, the chaplain has died. As Commander Danlgliesh begins to investigate, more murder victims keep piling up.

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P. D. James (2001) Innocent Blood

Essential reading from a very smart lady. A crime novel at the peak of the art. (The London Times) James was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008.

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Copyright 2012 by Claudia Heilig-Staindl. All Rights Reserved.