The New Yorker (4/9/07) helped me cheat on my self-imposed year-long homework to improve my readers' advisory skills. Well, reading reviews and summaries isn't really cheating, it just makes for a nice opening line. In "Blood on the Borders," Clive James takes a look at several writers in the crime - suspense genre. He focuses on both setting and "seriousness" of the writer.
James credits Georges Simenon (Maigret) for "giving the modern crime novel its aspirations to seriousness." He praises Donna Leon's novels set in Italy for giving "intimate details of the decaying city [Venice] while never delaying the action." Raymond Chandler serves as a standard. Gene Kerrigan also receives praise for strong writing.
Also: on LibraryThing, I am keeping quick summaries of YA novels to help build RA skills in that area.