The Classic Era of Crime Fiction

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This lavishly illustrated history features rare covers and classic illustrations, revealing how crucial artists were to establishing the identity and popularity of crime fiction. During its “classic era”—from 1850 to 1950—a variety of writers developed every important element of the genre: the police detective, the professional sleuth, the hard-boiled private eye, the secret agent, and of course, the criminal masterminds, crooks, and gangsters. From Sherlock Holmes and James Bond to Edgar Allan Poe and Joseph Conrad, this book explores an exciting cultural history. Crime enthusiasts can here see how famous (and sometimes infamous) works of crime fiction originally looked, and how unknown writers and illustrators became responsible for one of the cornerstones of popular culture.


Peter Haining worked as a newspaper reporter, journalist, and editorial director of a major London book publisher before becoming a full-time author. His fascination with the literature of detection inspired him to write The Sherlock Holmes Scrapbook, The Television Detectives’ Omnibus, Agatha Christie: Murder in Four Acts, and The Classic Era of the American Pulp Magazines, among others. He lives in London, England.