Sarah Ward's Top Ten Classics

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - John le Carre
Sceptre £7.99

"(1974) Veteran spy George Smiley is lured from his retirement to catch a traitor inside MI6.’The’ classic spy novel which has been copied but never bettered."

2. Arthur Conan Doyle - The Hound of the Baskervilles
Vintage £5.99

"(1902) Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson try to protect a young heir from a supernatural hound in Dartmoor. Atmospheric novella with a sinister and dastardly plot that contains all the essential elements of a Holmes story."

3. Crooked House - Agatha Christie
Harper Collins £6.99

"(1949). Patriarch of the Leonides family, Aristides, is found murdered and Charles Haywood, fiancée of the murdered man's granddaughter, hunts the killer. Despite the absence of Christie's famous sleuths, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, this is a classic country house murder with a shocking ending."

4. Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo - Roseanna
Fourth Estate £7.99

"(1965) DI Martin Beck and his team investigate the murder of an American girl in Stockholm. A solid police procedural before the advent of the internet and mobile phones where clues must be painstakingly pieced together. "

5. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
Virago Modern Classics £8.99

"(1938) Maxim de Winter's new wife becomes obsessed by the fate of Rebecca, the first Mrs De Winter. A tense thriller dealing with obsession, madness and paranoia."

6. Maigret and the Burglar's Wife - George Simenon
Penguin £0

"(1951) A burglar gets more than he bargained for when he breaks into the house of a reclusive dentist. A classic Maigret showing the detective's humanity towards those on the wrong side of the law while hunting down a wily murderer."

7. Murder Must Advertise - Dorothy L. Sayers
New English Library £7.99

"(1933) Lord Peter Wimsey infiltrates Pyms Publicity advertising agency to investigate the suspicious death of an employee. Wimsey is so much better when he isn't going gooey eyed over Harriet Vane and here, he is at his eccentric best."

8. Cop Hater - Ed McBain
Orion £0

"(1956) Steve Carella and his team hunt the murderer of three cops from the 87th Precinct. The first in a series that spawned over fifty novels and is probably the classic police procedural. "

9. Shroud for a Nightingale - P. D. James
Faber £7.99

"(1971) Chief Inspector (later Commander) Dalgliesh investigates the suspicious deaths of two student nurses in teaching hospital. Although the nursing methods may have dated, this book still has a freshness about it before Dalgliesh became the institution he is now."

10. The Battling Prophet - Arthur Upfield
Angus & Robertson £0

"(1956) An eccentric meteorologist living near Adelaide dies from a drinking binge but his policeman friend, Napoleon Bonaparte, is convinced that it was murder. A book looking at the realities of small town Australian life with wonderful descriptions of the landscape."