Cover image for Mystery and suspense writers : the literature of crime, detection, and espionage
Mystery and suspense writers : the literature of crime, detection, and espionage
Winks, Robin W.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner's Sons, [1998]

Physical Description:
2 volumes (xiv, 1296 pages) ; 29 cm.
v. 1. Margery Allingham to John D. MacDonald -- v. 2. Ross MacDonald to women of mystery.



Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR830.D4 M97 1998 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
PR830.D4 M97 1998 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



The encyclopaedia offers definitive biographies of key people by noted scholars, from world leaders to sports heroes, and from magnates and Mafiosi to clergy and intelligentsia. This first volume covers the people who died in the period 1981-85.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This volume marks the official break in Scribner's tradition of publishing supplements to the Dictionary of American Biography (DAB), and also, perhaps, the beginning of some confusion on the part of library patrons. As readers may know, DAB was published under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. ACLS announced the launch of a new work, American National Biography, due for release in 1999 and published by Oxford University Press. Scribner's was allowed to publish supplements to DAB covering individuals through 1980, though supplements nine and ten of that work were not published under ACLS auspices. Following a 1997 court order, however, no publisher may use the DAB name. The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives (SEAL), covering Americans who died between 1981 and 1985, thus marks the first volume in Scribner's new series. Notwithstanding the lack of the DAB name, SEAL bears a great deal of resemblance to the work it continues to update--not surprising, since it retains the editorial hand of Kenneth T. Jackson, professor of history at Columbia University, as did supplements nine and ten of DAB. As the preface points out, however, there are several enhancements. SEAL has a photograph of most subjects, a subject listing by occupation in the back of the volume, and a brief opening description for each subject outlining key achievements. This is a particularly refreshing change. Whereas DAB would simply open with the subject's name, birth and death dates, and a word or two summarizing his or her occupation or avocation, the present volume elaborates with a full paragraph highlighting claims to fame. SEAL features 494 entries for people who died between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1985, written by 332 different contributors. Final judgment of whom to include in the volume was made by an advisory board. The preface indicates that future volumes will cover five-year periods, much like previous DAB supplements. Entries range from just about a column in length (for Lazar Margulies, developer of the IUD), to around four pages (for General Omar Nelson Bradley). Among others profiled in these pages are Count Basie, John Belushi, Roman Catholic Cardinals Cody and Cooke, McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, Jessica Savitch, and Orson Welles. All entries conclude with brief annotated bibliographies. The photographs are a welcome addition, but the date of the photograph is not always given. The photos for actress Selma Diamond and writer E. B. White are both dated as being taken in 1960, but the photos for college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and actor William Holden have no dates at all. Libraries that have invested in DAB will clearly want to add this reasonably priced volume to their collections, and will likely want to continue to add future supplements. Volume 2, available in December 1998 but not received in time for this review, covers individuals who died between 1986 and 1990, among them Ted Bundy, Huey Newton, and Geraldine Page.

Library Journal Review

The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives (SEAL) is a biographical dictionary series in which each subsequent volume will cover a five-year period. Scribner envisions SEAL as the continuation of the Dictionary of American Biography (DAB). Volume 1 "contains the biographies of 494 persons who died between 1 January 1981 and 31 December 1985." Selection criteria are that the biographees made significant contributions to American life and culture, e.g., Grace Kelly and Archibald Macleish, or "deserve to be remembered," e.g., Dian Fossey, Dewey Markham, and Karen Ann Quinlan. An appreciable number of women and people of color are recognized. All biographies are signed contributions by 332 scholars. Readable and of varying length, these entries contain biographical references, and most are accompanied by a photograph of the biographee. Three essays include the "traditional biographical data, such as birth and death dates, place of birth and place of death, and a chronological order of the details of the biographee's life, for example, parents, family life, occupation (s) or careers, marriage, and achievements. The volume has an occupations index and directory of contributions and their contributions, though for quick reference an index of biographees would have been welcomed. Perhaps future volumes will also include a topical index‘a feature of DAB‘listing historical events and names of institutions, religions, organizations, etc., that were prominent in a biographee's life. However, SEAL's greatest importance is that it places the individual in historical context. A valuable successor of the highly respected scholarly tradition set by DAB. [See Inside Track, "Dueling Dictionaries, LJ 11/15/98.‘Ed.]‘Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

SEAL continues the publication of biographies of notable Americans begun by Dictionary of American Biography and carried on with supplements. The lead editors for the first volume of SEAL are the same as those for supplement 10 of DAB, which contained biographies of persons who died 1976-80. Like the ninth and tenth supplements to DAB, SEAL is not produced under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies, but it follows the tradition of the supplements in providing authoritative, signed biographies for 494 persons who died during the five years covered. Each essay ends with a note on sources that supplies information for further reading or research. SEAL is characterized by an enlarged format and photographs of each subject. The new title and volume represent an agreement between the publisher and ACLS. The editors commendably include persons from a wide variety of backgrounds who made significant contributions in politics, business, scholarship, education, sports, popular culture, and the arts and entertainment. Volume 2 of SEAL (1986-90) is expected in January 1999, volume 3 (1991-95) in 2000, and new volumes thereafter every five to eight years. Libraries that own DAB and its supplements will want to add this volume. J. W. Barnes; Shepherd College