Sarah Dunant's Bookshelf
By Umberto Eco
The story of a trail of murders in a godforsaken monastery in medieval Europe, this is the classiest whodunit ever written. Erudition, theology and scholarship are all words you don't expect to use when describing a crime thriller, but this one smashed the genre. It pulsates with atmosphere and the sense of a dark, bleak past, with the smell of burning flesh from the Inquisition all around. When all those blackened tongues and secret staircases finally lead through a labyrinth of books to the bibliophile's answer, you are not disappointed. I would die happy to have written this.