My favourite crime novelists are strong on character and place: Jim Fusilli (my latest discovery) writes about New York City, George Pelecanos about Washington, D.C., Laura Lippman about Baltimore, Scott Turow about Chicago (although fictionalized as "Kindle County"), and P.D. James about London.
He has also written a fine piece about why read crime fiction:
Perhaps crime stories also attract readers because they offer a relatively simple and direct version of that which attracts us in all stories. If N.T. Wright is correct when he follows Vladimir Propp in arguing that we as human beings are hard-wired for stories with a particular structure, then crime novels offer perhaps the most abstracted and uncomplicated contemporary expression of that ur-structure of story. Which, for a fun read on the beach or in a plane, may be just the thing for many of us.I also enjoy reading crime fiction. So I thought I'd make some recommendations.
My three favourite UK authors are Ian Rankin, who writes about Rebus in Edinburgh, Peter Robinson whose detective, Inspector Banks, is based in Yorkshire and Mark Billingham - set in London. Rankin and Robinson have both written about a dozen books and are all well worth reading (Rankin is more consitent than Robinson) particularly in chronological order as it is interesting to see how the characters develop. Billingham has written about four books all of which are very good.
My favourite US detective is Harry Bosch written by Michael Connolley.
I have recently started to read some Swedish detectives, particularly good is Henning Mankell (Kurt Wallander - though my favourite of Mankell's doesn't feature Wallender The Return of the Dancing Master) and Ake Edwardson - though I have only been able to get hold of one title by Edwardson Sun and Shadow.
I've just obtained from my local library 'A Rejkjavik Murder Mystery' Tainted Blood by Arnaldur Indridason. I've become interested in things Icelandic ever since discovering the music of Stafraen Hakon. So I'm really looking forward to starting this book; reading while listening to Hakon and sipping a great Islay malt (I know it's not Icelandic - but hey who cares!). I'm fresh out of Ardbeg, so it will have to be Bruichladdich. mmmmm
Perhaps one day we'll see a Dooyeweerdian detective who solves the crime by examining the different modal aspects in the crime and identifying the groundmotive and worldview of the culprit by looking at how (s)he commits the crime.