Notable Crime Fiction Writers

Salem. 2 vols. Oct. 2021. 930p. ed. by ed. by Robert C. Evans. ISBN 9781637000311. $225. REF
Editor Evans (English, emeritus, Auburn Univ. at Montgomery, AL) curates about 160 entries, compiled in two volumes, updating and distilling information from 2008’s Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction. This new book includes more than 100 new entries; a publisher note states that Salem sought to include more women and BIPOC authors, as well as those from the LGBTQIA+ community. Alphabetically arranged entries cover Agatha Christie (author of dozens of mysteries, including those starring Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple), Robert B. Parker (best remembered for his private eye Spenser), Michael Nava (whose books follow gay Mexican American lawyer/sleuth Harry Rios), and Barbara Ann Neely (creator of Blanche White, a Black domestic worker and amateur sleuth), among many others. Detailed articles usually include an author photograph, along with a biography and a list of the author’s major works and related reading. Each article details authors’ series, principal characters, and the styles of their plots (amateur sleuth, hardboiled, cozy), along with analysis. Appendixes covering mystery settings and situations, terms and jargon, and the history of mystery writing add to utility.
VERDICT Beneficial in academic and public settings; a vital resource for readers’ advisory and mystery and detective buffs.
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