I wanted to call this "It is a capital mistake to theorise without data" as it's my favourite Sherlock Holmes quote, but thought it wasn't clear enough.
Anyway, by far the most books that I own are either straight crime novels, or thrillers that usually involve crime. In fact, I've started to say that I collect early 20th century crime fiction, since several of the authors I'm particularly fond of date to the 1930s, though most continued writing up till the 60s and 70s.
I love some of these early writers, like Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers, who wrote tight, tidy stories, often their books seemed like a novel that happened to have a murder, rather than, say Agatha Christie, who tends to be all plot and no substance. Gladys Mitchell, who is unfortunately out of print at the moment, had a main character who was a psychologist, which gives them a modern edge, while they still seem to suit the time where they were written. (The BBC did some truly rotten adaptions of some of her books, with Diana Rigg as the main character. Not the most obvious casting for someone described as yellow-skinned and a bit like a crocodile...)
On the American side, same time period, I've read Ellery Queen and Erle Stanley Gardner, but my all time favourite has to be Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels. They're a pretty common choice for sticking in my bag when I'm going to be waiting somewhere - immensely re-readable books.
Leaping forward to the present day, there are a few authors whose books I'm always 'waiting' for. Lindsay Davis, whose 'Falco' books are set in ancient Rome, and manage to be informative and funny, always a good thing. Anne Perry has two series' set in early and late Victorian times. (She was also involved in a murder herself as a teen, something I only found out this year
And over the Atlantic, Harlan Coben writes old-style ripping yarns - though the last couple have not been as strong as his first ones. Sue Grafton has a series that started out being written in the present day, but which is now still stuck in the late '80s. And I'm particularly fond of Jeffrey Deaver, who seems to move from the Lincoln Rhyme series to stand alone thrillers with ease. No matter how much I think I've worked out what's going on, there's always one twist I didn't anticipate...
Does anyone else enjoy the genre? I'm always on the lookout for new authors...