The Lineup

The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives


Edited by Otto Penzler

Formats and Prices




$31.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $24.99 $31.99 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 18, 2010. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A great recurring character in a series you love becomes an old friend. You learn about their strange quirks and their haunted pasts and root for them every time they face danger. But where do some of the most fascinating sleuths in the mystery and thriller world really come from?

What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam vet tunnel rat? Why is Jack Reacher a drifter? How did a brief encounter in Botswana inspire Alexander McCall Smith to create Precious Ramotswe? In The Lineup, some of the top mystery writers in the world tell about the genesis of their most beloved characters — or, in some cases, let their creations do the talking.


  • "The best book of its kind.... An exciting omnibus volume that has widespread appeal and adds up to much, much more than the sum of its parts....delivering memorable revelations about the mystery genre and its different incarnations....Candor is no small part of this collection's great value. Time and again these crime writers return to the same questions: Is your character like you? Where did the character's name come from? How did you get published? The answers are always interesting."
    Janet Maslin, New York Times
  • "This book will delight any mystery lover....[and] make readers return to favorite books with a fresh eye."
    Michele Ross, Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • "The natural bridge between authorial intention and reader demand. After all, who are more equipped to discourse on the origins, the motivations, the foibles, and the triumphs of their life's work than some of the best-known and most successful mystery and thriller writers on the planet?"
    Sarah Weinman, Los Angeles Times
  • "The ultimate How-dunit."
    Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • "Tremendous fun--clever, wide-ranging, revealing, even surprising. Bet you can't read just one."
    Raleigh News and Observer
  • "Fiery....The authors take different approaches, but all offer an opportunity to see a familiar character in a new way....It's also a great way to get a taste of some of the series you haven't read yet."
    Maureen Corrigan,

On Sale
Nov 18, 2010
Page Count
416 pages
Back Bay Books