Each of these books has been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Critical/Biographical Work. They are ranked by honors received.
The world’s greatest mystery writers on the world’s greatest mystery novels:
- Michael Connelly on The Little Sister …
- Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs…
- Mark Billingham on The Maltese Falcon…
- Ian Rankin on I Was Dora Suarez…
With so many mystery novels to choose among, and so many new titles appearing each year, where should a reader start? What are the classics of the genre? Which are the hidden gems?
In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to…[more]
A fascinating exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie’s seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories
When Agatha Christie died in 1976, aged 85, she had become the world’s most popular author. With sales of more than two billion copies worldwide in more than 100 countries, she had achieved the impossible—more than one book every year since the 1920s, every one a bestseller.
So prolific was Agatha Christie’s output—66 crime novels, 20 plays, 6 romance books under a pseudonym and over 150 short stories—it was often claimed that she had a photographic memory. Was this true? Or did she resort over those 55 years to more mundane methods of working out her ingenious crimes? …[more]
This remarkable annotated collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s previously unpublished private correspondence offers unique insight into one of the world’s most popular authors. For the first time, Conan Doyle emerges from the shadow of Sherlock Holmes, revealing a man whose character and exploits rival that of his famous creation. In particular, Conan Doyle’s correspondence with his mother exposes his endless search for fulfillment and success outside the Holmes stories.
At age sixteen Conan Doyle began studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Just months shy of graduating, he made the adventurous decision to accept a position as a surgeon on a whaling ship heading to the Arctic. He returned to Edinburgh, graduated, and struggled to establish his own medical practice while simultaneously writing and promoting his stories. He suffered years of disappointment as both doctor and author; yet, to his amazement, just two months after the first Sherlock Holmes short stories,…[more]
A plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women’s libbers) to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers’ lives. Now, in a narrative with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancy’s adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery:
Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon?
The brainchild of children’s book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy was brought to life by two women: Mildred Wirt Benson, a pioneering journalist from Iowa, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a well-bred wife and mother who took over as CEO after her father died. In a century-spanning story Rehak traces their roles—and Nancy’s—in forging the modern American woman. With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak celebrates our unstoppable girl detective.
This is the first biography of the cinematic hero Charlie Chan, whose character was inspired by the real-life story of Chang Apana, a bullwhip-wielding, five-foot-tall Chinese immigrant detective whose raids on opium dens and gambling parlors made him into a legend. Emerging against the backdrop of racially riven early-twentieth-century Hawaii, Apana’s bravado inspired mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, a Harvard graduate, to write six best-selling Charlie Chan novels. The resulting Hollywood character was not a stereotypical “Chinaman” but a wisecracking sleuth with a knack for turning Oriental wisdom into soup-alley Chinatown blues.
Yunte Huang’s exploration of this remarkable story asks whether Chan is a “Yellow Uncle Tom” or a “swell dish of chop suey mystery.” Examining Charlie Chan in fact and fiction, Huang follows this untold story from the glittering beaches of Waikiki to the movie studios of Hollywood.
In a perfect marriage of author and subject, P. D. James—one of the most widely admired writers of detective fiction at work today—gives us a personal, lively, illuminating exploration of the human appetite for mystery and mayhem, and of those writers who have satisfied it.
P. D. James examines the genre from top to bottom, beginning with the mysteries at the hearts of such novels as Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and bringing us into the present with such writers as Colin Dexter and Henning Mankell. Along the way she writes about Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie (“arch-breaker of rules”), Josephine Tey, Dashiell Hammett, and Peter Lovesey, among many others. She traces their lives into and out of their fiction, clarifies their individual styles, and gives us indelible portraits of the characters they’ve created,…[more]
This fresh, compelling biography examines the extraordinary life and strange contrasts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the struggling provincial doctor who became the most popular storyteller of his age. From his youthful exploits aboard a whaling ship to his often stormy friendships with such figures as Harry Houdini and George Bernard Shaw, Conan Doyle lived a life as gripping as one of his adventures. Exhaustively researched and elegantly written, Teller of Tales sets aside many myths and misconceptions to present a vivid portrait of the man behind the leg of Baker Street, with a particular emphasis on the Psychic Crusade that dominated his final years-the work that Conan Doyle himself felt to be “the most important thing in the world.
This ambitious study examines the works of modern African American mystery writers within the social and historical contexts of African American literature on crime and justice. It begins with a historical overview that describes the movement by African American authors from slave narratives and antebellum newspapers into fiction writing, the work of early genre writers, such as Pauline Hopkins and Rudolph Fisher, the protest writers of the 1940s and 1950s, and the authors who followed in the 1960s. The historical section concludes with a discussion of works by late twentieth-century writers such as Toni Morrison and Ernest Gaines and the expansion of the audience for works by African American writers.
The heart of the book is an analysis of works by modern African American mystery writers, focusing on sleuths, the social locations of crime, victims and offenders, the notion of “doing justice,” and the role of African American cultural vernacular…[more]
A cause for international celebration—the most important Sherlock Holmes publication in four decades.
This monumental edition promises to be the most important new contribution to Sherlock Holmes literature since William Baring-Gould’s 1967 classic work. In this boxed set, Leslie Klinger, a leading world authority, reassembles Arthur Conan Doyle’s 56 classic short stories in the order in which they appeared in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century book editions. Inside, readers will find a cornucopia of insights: beginners will benefit from Klinger’s insightful biographies of Holmes, Watson, and Conan Doyle; history lovers will revel in the wealth of Victorian literary and cultural details; Sherlockian fanatics will puzzle over tantalizing new theories; art lovers will thrill to the 700-plus illustrations, which make this the most lavishly illustrated edition of the Holmes tales ever produced. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes illuminates the timeless genius of Arthur Conan Doyle for an entirely new generation of readers.
The first and highly anticipated biography of the author of such classics of suspense as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
The life of Patricia Highsmith was as secretive and unusual as that of many of the best-known characters who people her “peerlessly disturbing” writing. Yet even as her work—her thrillers, short stories, and the pseudonymous lesbian novel The Price of Salt—have found new popularity in the last few years, the life of this famously elusive writer has remained a mystery.
For Beautiful Shadow, the first biography of Highsmith, journalist Andrew Wilson mined the vast archive of diaries, notebooks, and letters that Patricia Highsmith left behind, astonishing in their candor and detail. He interviewed her closest…[more]