Cover image for Reference guide to mystery and detective fiction
Reference guide to mystery and detective fiction
Bleiler, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 391 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3448.D4 B56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Covering a broad spectrum of primary and secondary reference resources about mystery and detective fiction, this annotated bibliography focuses on all print and key electronic sources in the field that are produced in English. Organized thematically, it reviews encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, annotated guides, bibliographies, bio-bibliographies, vade mecums, compendiums, indexes, and so on. Many Web sites are also described. Lengthy, informed reviews often provide evaluative information and compare books to similar or related titles. Essential to researchers, this is a valuable guide for any collection that holds a substantial number of mystery and detective titles, including college, university, public, and some high school libraries.

Author Notes

RICHARD J. BLEILER is Humanities Reference Librarian, Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

tig /f James /r series ed.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In his introduction, genre-fiction expert Bleiler defines mystery and detective fiction and explains how he has chosen the materials that appear in this volume. The result is a useful resource for readers and librarians. The book is arranged in several sections, including "Reader's Guides and Genre Bibliographies," "Magazine and Anthology Indexes," "Character Indexes and Bibliographies," and "Electronic Sources." Each section begins with a scope note that defines the type of material found in the chapter. Each entry is numbered sequentially; that number is the reference number used in the index. Bleiler provides complete bibliographic information and an evaluative annotation for each resource listed. In many cases, the annotations are extensive and detailed. Although the majority of the references are to American and British works, national bibliographies are included for such countries as Australia, Canada, and Germany. The bulk of the text is devoted to the "Biographical Sources" section, which, in addition to general titles, lists resources on individual writers. These include classic authors, such as Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dorothy Sayers, as well as such contemporary favorites as Dick Francis, Sue Grafton, and Anne Perry. Many of these biographical sources are Web sites, some maintained by the authors themselves and others by devoted fans. The evaluation of these sites is very helpful. Because it concentrates on the secondary literature, this volume is useful as an aid to research as well as to collection development and reader's advisory. It complements resources that list mystery titles, such as such as Allan J. Hubin's Crime Fiction II [RBB Ag 94], or that provide coverage of authors, such as St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers (1996). Current and comprehensive (there is even a section on mystery calendars), with thorough annotations, Bleiler's book is sure to be of value in public and academic libraries.

Library Journal Review

Another outstanding guide to genre fiction from someone who has authored many (e.g., The Annotated Index to the Thrill Book), this work focuses on separately published English-language reference sources documenting and describing the primary and secondary literatures of mystery and detective fiction, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, companions, bibliographies, indexes, directories, handbooks, and a few, highly selective web sites and electronic databases. While detective and mystery fiction may range widely, including everything from science to religious fiction, Bleiler chooses to limit the scope to the commonly understood genre, excluding works devoted to classical thrillers, adventure and espionage stories, gangster tales, historical novels, Westerns, and true-crime stories. The book is arranged in chapters by reference type and then alphabetically by reference, with each entry containing standard bibliographic information: author or editor, title, place and year of publication, publisher, pagination, series title, index, edition or revision notes, and ISBN and LC numbers. Annotations furnish descriptions of intent, organization, and content along with perceptively critical evaluations varying in length from a single short paragraph to one page. A worthwhile addition to the literature; recommended for public and academic libraries.√ĄMarilyn Rosenthal, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Bleiler (reference librarian, Univ. of Connecticut) has compiled the definitive guide to reference works in the mystery genre. Its scope is vast: more than 750 entries cover pre-1998 readers' guides, bibliographies, magazine and anthology indexes, guides to fictional characters, and biobibliographies. Core serials and professional organizations are listed, as are Web sites for authors of three or more novels. The titles cited (most from the compiler's personal library) offer, besides complete bibliographic information, critical annotations that range in length from a paragraph to a page. The author knows his subject well and never hesitates to mention the advantages and drawbacks of a work. Although he focuses on English-language works, international sources are mentioned if significant. Two minor warnings: the index omits some authors listed in the table of contents, and the chapter "Biographical Sources" could more aptly be called "Author Bibliographies." Libraries that already own Jon L. Breen's What about MURDER? (CH, Sep'81) and its supplement (1993), which covers works published 1981-91, will still want to purchase this volume. Highly recommended for reference collections in popular culture. S. L. Nesbeitt; Bridgewater State College