This latest entry in the "Scribner Writers" series will fill a gap in reference collections, appealing to patrons researching popular mystery writers of the mid-19th through the 20th centuries and to librarians offering readers' advisory assistance. Articles on 68 mystery writers ranging from Edgar Allen Poe to Sarah Paretsky run from ten to 20 pages and include information on the life and works as well as solid bibliographies for each author. With the exception of the best-known Europeans (Sjowall, Wahloo, Simeon), most authors profiled here are English or American. In addition to individual biographies and criticism, the second of these two volumes also includes articles on various subgenres--black detective fiction, gay and lesbian mystery fiction, the romantic suspense mystery, and the spy thriller, for example--written by such authorities as H.R.F. Keating and B.J. Rahn and practitioners such as Jon L. Breen, Jennifer Crusie Smith, and Stephen F. Soitos. Also included are pseudonyms and series characters, some mystery and suspense subgenres, and major prize winners. An excellent index guides the reader to information on particular authors in each of the genre articles. Not as inclusive as Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers (St. James, 1991), but more comprehensive, this is an excellent choice for any library. One caveat--this set is sent automatically to libraries that subscribe to Scribner's "American Writers" series.--Cynthia Johnson, Barnard Coll. Lib., New York
Eighty-two lengthy articles cover a wide range of authors and genres. Subjects include the authors of classic tales of deduction (Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe), hard-boiled detective fiction (Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett), the classic English mystery (Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers), the romantic suspense mystery (Daphne du Maurier, Helen MacInnes), and the modern espionage thriller (Ian Fleming, John le Carre). The genre is covered from its 19th- century origins through contemporary figures such as Dick Francis, John Grisham, and James Lee Burke. In addition to the essays on specific authors, fourteen articles address wide-ranging types of mysteries, including the armchair detective, the black detective, the female detective, the gay and lesbian mystery, the legal crime novel, the police procedural, the religious mystery, the romantic suspense novel, and the spy thriller. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.