Lawrence Block or Donald E. Westlake are modern legends in the Mystery field. Each has an enormous body of work, they both write in many, many different genres (thriller, humor, hard-boiled), and many of their books have won awards. There is a lot of information about them online, and their books are not often considered for essays or assigned reading, so you would be preparing a unique study instead of treading old ground.
See Block's information here, and Westlake's information here. You can also find literary articles written by and about them online with a simple Google search.