In terms of sales and public opinion, some of the best mystery writers of all time are Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Grisham, Michael Connelly and Edgar Allen Poe. Authors such as Graham Greene, Tom Clancy and Stieg Larsson were also highly rated, as were Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler.
Many of the most successful mystery authors have drawn on their real world experiences to shape their writing style. John Grisham, for example, was a lawyer before becoming a writer, and used his legal expertise to create unique thrillers.
Michael Connelly was an award winning investigative journalist before becoming an author, and used his experiences of crime reporting and investigation to create his works.
Janet Evanovich is also a very popular mystery writer. Her books focus on the bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her escapades. Evanovich has won a number of awards for her works.
Max Allen Collins is a veteran of the genre, having penned a number of Dick Tracy adventures as well as more historical novels.
Patricia Cornwell is well-known for the accuracy of scientific and forensic investigation techniques, which helps make her work stand out in the mystery and thriller genres.
Tony Hillerman is also considered one of the giants of the genre, having won a number of awards for his southwestern based mystery novels.