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Top Five Crime And Mystery Novels Of 2008

To swipe the immortal lines uttered by Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, a great mystery should take "the lid off life and let [you] look at the works." Sure, entertainment is important; if these stories weren't fun, who would read them?

But the corpses, stolen gems and purloined letters that litter the pages of the classic detective tale are just excuses to set the plot in motion; they're not the point. A great crime story also tackles the big mysteries: love, death, the problem of God, the presence of evil in the world. This year's top five mysteries all provide suspenseful plots with satisfying solutions while also affirming that the eternal enigmas can't be cracked.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, is The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2019, Corrigan was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle.