Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-2000
by Allen J. Hubin
Addenda to the Revised Edition: Introduction
It might be useful to begin with a little history. (Another version of this saga, with more details regarding the bibliographic tools and resources I used, can be found in “My Life in Crime Fiction,” an article I wrote for Mystery Scene Number 83 in 2004.)
My 35+ years of involvement in crime fiction bibliography began innocently. A chap named Ordean Hagen, a librarian in North Dakota, was under contract to do the world’s first bibliography of the field. He asked to use my library as a source of information, and I agreed to help in any way I could. He came down to White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where I’ve lived since 1962, and we did some work together.
In due course, his manuscript was ready for publication and he asked me (I was doing the New York Times Book Review column “Criminals at Large” at the time) to write an introduction. This I did, and his Who Done It was published by Bowker in 1969 – but not, alas, before Ordean had died.
Corrections and additions to Hagen’s work began to accumulate, and I decided (in more innocence, and at William F. Nolan’s suggestion) to publish them in the pages of The Armchair Detective (TAD), which I began to edit and publish (out of my basement) in 1967. The first installment of such material appeared already in the October 1969 issue. Batches of this material continued to appear in the next two issues, whereupon I went into a huddle with myself. This approach seemed not to be working well, since it produced a sort of smorgasbord of information, and I began to contemplate starting over and publishing a new version as an appendix to TAD. I invited TAD’s readers into my huddle, and received encouragement to proceed. Little did I know, of course, what a long and involved course I was setting out on.
The first instalment of the “Bibliography of Crime Fiction” appeared in the January 1971 issue of TAD, and we worked our way through the alphabet in succeeding issues. By the time TAD went west in 1976 (to become part of the Mystery Library project at the University of California San Diego Extension), we were well into the S’s. I finished the alphabet and the final section was sent out separately to subscribers, and there the matter might have ended.
But the Mystery Library decided to issue some original works, in addition to its initial raison d’etre of reprinting classic mysteries with scholarly introductions and end matter. And would I bring the coverage of the bibliography up to a specific cutoff date, incorporate all new/corrected information received (from vastly helpful TADians), and produce an updated manuscript for the Mystery Library? An awesome task, if one remembers that the tools available to me were print references (at the University of Minnesota Library) and a typewriter.
But the manuscript somehow got done, and the first book version of the bibliography (The Bibliography of Crime Fiction 1749-1975) was published in 1979 by University Extension University of California, San Diego in Cooperation with Publisher’s Inc., Del Mar, California. There! It was done, I was done, and I settled back to enjoy a flow of royalties.
Whereupon the Mystery Library went belly up (owing me a goodly bit of change).
I could (should?) have said “enough, already,” and just gone back to being a reader and collector of mysteries. But this seemed not so happy a note to end on, and I thought about the trivial (hah!) task of adding another five years of coverage, a new feature or two, and finding another publisher. I put together a proposal and sent it to a half dozen publishers that I thought might have an interest in such a reference work. I hoped to find one such, and had the astonishment and pleasure of several eager publishers, bidding against each other for the bibliography. In due course, for better or worse, I selected Garland as the publisher, and Crime Fiction, 1749-1980: A Comprehensive Bibliography appeared in 1984.
Ever a glutton for publishment, I proposed another edition (with a further new feature or two) in five years, but Garland said let’s go for a 5-year supplement. All right, I said, I’ll try it. New features went in, additions and corrections to the previous volume were incorporated, and 1981-1985 Supplement to Crime Fiction, 1749-1980: A Comprehensive Bibliography was published by Garland in 1988.
Five more years passed and Garland was willing one more time. The work was growing seriously large, and (with another new feature incorporated) Crime Fiction II: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-1990 came out in 1994 in two volumes.
But Garland had had enough. When I proposed a new edition with a further five years added, Garland wasn’t interested. Nor was any other print publisher. But Bill Contento and Locus Press was, so Crime Fiction III: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-1995 was issued on CDROM in 1999.
Again I thought that would be enough for me, but the appeal of extending coverage through the end of the 20th century was considerable. So in 2003 Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-2000 appeared on CDROM from Locus Press and in print form (five volumes) from George Vanderburgh’s Battered Silicon Dispatch Box in Canada.
And I happily announced my retirement from bibliographic work.
Although I have stuck to that announcement (in the sense that I leave coverage of books first appearing after year 2000 to someone – anyone – else), the flow of information (from wonderful helpful, knowledgeable and resourceful folks, and my own continued digging) was continuous and unending. Eventually I had some 600 pages (if separately printed) of new/corrected information relating to 1749-2000 books and authors. Early in 2006 I shipped this off to Bill Contento for a Revised Crime Fiction IV on CDROM, and I updated Vanderburgh’s WordPerfect files for print version of same. I continue to hope that the Revised CFIV will appear one day, though neither publisher has been willing to give me a target date.
Of course, my decision to close the “book” on the Revised CFIV did not mean that information flow stopped. Far from it. Mystery writers keep dying, their birth dates keep being found, books published before 2001 that should have been included (or excluded) keep being discovered, pseudonyms keep being uncovered. Those wonderfully helpful people keep sending information. And I had the idea, prompted by the availability of a couple of very good reference works, of adding television movies based on listed print works to my long-existing coverage of theatrical films based on those works.
I expect that none of the information to be gathered here will ever appear in a fresh edition of Crime Fiction IV. But making it available on the web will, I hope, find favor with crime fiction fans, in particular those who have CFIV (and eventually, perhaps, the Revised CFIV).
The plan is to add new information to this site in batches, with each batch being presented separately before being integrated in the overall listing. My part is to collect and compile the information; Steve Lewis gets full credit for establishing the site, for uploading the information, for accomplishing the integration, and for establishing linkages.
I should say a word or two about sources. The TV movie information comes from the Internet Movie Database, Leonard Mustazza’s The Literary Filmography and Alvin H. Marill’s Movies Made for Television. Many British author birth dates have been extracted from the FreeBMD web site. The AustLit site has provided similar information about Australian authors. I extend heartfelt thanks to individuals who have contributed to the information below; these include (alphabetically) Bob Adey, John Fraser, Rowan Gibbs, Doug Greene, Pat Hawk, Willetta Heising, John Herrington, Steve Holland, Marv Lachman, Steve Lewis, Gary Mercer, Al Navis, Bill Pronzini, Charlie Shibuk, and Jamie Sturgeon.
Abbreviations employed include:
dir = director
hc = hard cover
pb = paperback
SC = series character
Scot. = Scotland
scw = screenwriter
ss = short story
TCF = 20th Century Fox
U.K. = United Kingdom
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Copyright © 2006 by Allen J. Hubin.
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