Oh how I enjoyed writing this list! Although when I first saw the topic of Top Ten villains, criminals and degenerates at The Broke and The Bookish is was left thinking, is it my favorite nasties I'm supposed to list, because I generally don't like them... So begins my list of the greatest literary meanies, murderers, and threats to mankind, as well as the criminals who warm my heart as well.
Prince Humperdink (should have made Connie's list of most unfortunate names) and partner in crime, the Six-Fingered Man from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. This pair are truly evil. Inventing machines of torture, starting wars, murderous plots, lying, slaughtering, I think this is as nasty as they come.
Mr Fox from Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl. With the ability to rob three greedy farmers without leaving his hole, a mind as sharp as a steel trap and a hefty dose of charm to boot, let's face it: this is one cunning woodland creature.
Moriarty, arch nemesis of Sherlock Holmes by Aurthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty almost matches the detective himself in wit and intelligence, with an eye for elaborate plots of murder and other such devilish criminal activities, including cutting life short for my favorite arrogant, opium addict investigator.
Lady Marchmain from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. Technically not a villain, criminal or degenerate, but I sure didn't like her. To me, she was the source of much suffering in this novel.
You Know Who from the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling. I'll bet my bottom dollar that this villain will make nearly everyone's list. Lord Voldemort is absolutely cruel, need I explain? (I also loathe Bellatrix Lestrange).
Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I'll admit to being more than a little smitten with Henry, but anyone who gives his child self lessons in lock picking, pick pocketing, bashing people up and lying is a crook in my books.
Abigail Williams from The Crucible by Aurthur Miller. It's her motives and utter ruthlessness which put Abigail on this list. Her accusations of witchcraft are driven primarily by a ravenous hunger for power but also by jealousy and lust.
Uncle Al from Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. In order to avoid paying employees, he has them 'red lighted,' that is, thrown off the moving train. How would you like him as a boss?
I also found this wonderful extended list (here). Watch out for spoilers though.