Crime Writer Rich List

The first ever Alibi Crime Writers Rich List reveals the authors who have reaped the biggest financial rewards since launching their writing careers. So who were the writers with the biggest criminal profits?

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple

James Bond creator Ian Fleming has been named as the most successful British crime and thriller writer of all time according to a study which names the most financially successful authors from the UK and abroad in the crime and thriller writing genre.

But what about the rest of our UK writers? Find out by reading our UK top ten richest crime writers.

1. Ian Fleming - £100 million +

Fleming was part of the canny banking dynasty, Robert Fleming & Partners but it was as the creator of James Bond that made him his fortune. The Bond books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide and the brand is as strong as ever.

2. Agatha Christie - £100 million

Agatha Christie is of course best known for her Poirot and Miss Marple novels which have been made into successful films and TV series. Book sales continue to flourish and there is a company called Agatha Christie Ltd that gives some clue to her wealth. There is also income from The Mousetrap to be considered, the West End's longest running show.

3. Jeffrey Archer - £70 million

The Clifton Chronicles, a Forsyth Saga-style epic of five volumes, will be written by Lord Archer over the next five years, with the first to be published later this year. The publisher Macmillan denied reports that the deal was worth £18m to Archer. But there are book deals totalling at least £54m over the years. There has also been TV mini-series on both sides of the Atlantic which will have bolstered his coffers too.

4. Jack Higgins - £50 million +

Newcastle born Higgins has lived in tax exile in Jersey ever since his 1975 book, The Eagle Has Landed was published and optioned for a film. The book has gone on to sell more than 50 million copies and there are a further 60 novels, eleven of which have been made into films, only three for the big screen though - the rest have been made for TV.

5. Ken Follett - £50 million

While working in London as a reporter, Ken Follett wrote his first novel. His first best-seller was his eleventh book, Eye of the Needle, which debuted in 1977. A string of blockbusters followed. Married to former Labour MP Barbara Follett, he has an extensive property portfolio. His most successful book was 1989's The Pillars of the Earth which has sold 19m copies.

6. Dick Francis - £50 million

Former jockey, Dick Francis turned first to journalism and latterly became a best-selling crime writer. Every one of the 43 books - written over a near 50-year period - is still in print both in the UK and the all important US market. Francis himself died at home in the Cayman Islands, where he was a tax exile. But his son, Felix, continues to exploit the brand and promises that there will be more books.

7. Ruth Rendell - £30 million +

Labour peer, Ruth Rendell is nothing if not prolific. Now dividing her time between the House of Lords and writing, she is the author of over fifty (mainly) thrillers many of which have been best sellers and several have been turned into films. Her creation of the character Inspector Wexford was very profitable as they were adapted for the TV and shown in 48 episodes on TV.

8. Lee Child - £30 million

Lee Child is the pen name for the former British television executive Jim Grant. Child was made redundant by Granada TV in 1995 and immediately turned to crime fiction. He has written fifteen books, every one a best seller and has topped the New York Times best seller list on numerous occasions. Last year his books sold more than £7m worth in the UK alone and probably ten times that in the US, where all his novels are based.

9. Iain Rankin - £25 million

Rankin has been churning out crime thrillers since 1986. The Edinburgh detective, Sergeant Rebus being his most famous confection. Most of the books are best sellers and many have been turned into TV thrillers for the small screen. So grateful was Rankin to Rebus that he named his company, John Rebus after him.

10. Alexander McCall Smith - £20 million

McCall Smith has had an eclectic career. First as a professor at various universities around the world and author of academic tomes. Then as the writer of children's books and finally as the creator of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series which have sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

And the US's Top 10 Richest Crime Writers are:

John Grisham ($600 million), Dan Brown ($400 million), Patricia Cornwell ($300 million), Robert Ludlum ($300 million), Michael Crichton ($300 million), Michael Connelly ($250 million), Thomas Harris ($150 million)Elmore Leonard - $100 million, Ed McBain ($75 million), James Ellroy ($50 million)