A Study in Scarlet

For me, this year's winner is elementary. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's inaugural Sherlock Holmes mystery introduced one of fiction's most famous roommate pairings: Doctor John Watson and the brilliant detective. Holmes's agile mind is a pleasure to indulge, and so is Doyle's exceptional skill as a storyteller, particularly when the narrative becomes a gripping Western. —Anthony Salveggi, CL contributor