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"The Crown Crime Companion: The Top 100...


"The Crown Crime Companion: The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time," Selected by the Mystery Writers of America, annotated by Otto Penzler; compiled by Mickey Friedman. 192 pages. New York: Crown Publishers. $12

Mystery buffs may not always agree with the rankings: Is John Grisham's "The Firm" (No. 42) better than Graham Greene's "The Third Man" (No. 48)? Still, they're fun to ponder, and the lists of favorites in such categories as suspense, espionage and legal are each introduced by a well-known mystery writer in that particular field. Joseph Wambaugh, for instance, dissects the police procedural, while Sue Grafton weighs in on the private eye. As to the top mystery of all time? Elementary, my dear Watson. It's "The Complete Sherlock Holmes."

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