Cover image for The Mammoth encyclopedia of modern crime fiction
The Mammoth encyclopedia of modern crime fiction
Ashley, Michael.
First Carroll & Graf edition, 2002.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf Pub., [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 780 pages ; 20 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3448.D4 M33 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Never before has there been a comprehensive, inexpensive reference guide and overview to the genre of crime fiction like The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Crime Fiction. Veteran editor Mike Ashley's historical introduction gives an overview of the crime genre, showing the background and development of crime fiction from the earliest days with Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler through to the modern exponents of the craft such as Elmore Leonard and Ian Rankin. His A to Z covers five hundred entries on the major writers in the crime fiction field, from Edward S. Aarons to Mark Zubro, from the cult favorites to the best known, including Marjorie Allingham, Patricia Cornwell, Colin Dexter, Jim Thompson, and Minette Walters. The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Crime Fiction packs more information into its author entries than more expensive hardcover reference works. Each entry gives a brief biographical background with highlights for the cross-referenced key works, provides a full bibliography, and notes significant films/series adapted from their works. There are also added bonuses of a crime fiction glossary that defines the genre's special terms and expressions, such as "hardboiled," "impossible crime," and "police procedural" and four appendices covering key characters, key books and magazines, key films and TV series, and awards and award winners, including the Edgar Awards, the Dagger Awards, the Shamus Awards, and other important awards. Crime fiction buffs, mystery booksellers, and anyone interested in crime fiction will find The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Crime Fiction to be an indispensable reference and an unbeatable bargain.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When faced with the challenge of producing a new encyclopedia on the topic of crime fiction, Ashley chose to include only those authors whose stories contain actual crimes, thereby eliminating related genres such as suspense or horror fiction. He focuses primarily on material written since the 1960s by writers from the U.S., the UK, and several other countries. Written in an entertaining style, more than 500 author entries contain a discussion of writings; biographical details; information concerning Web sites, awards, and pseudonyms; a pointer to authors writing in a similar style; and a recommendation as to which title to read first. Each entry ends with a personal item of interest, such as the fact that James Patterson's first book was rejected 31 times before it was published. Adding depth and interest is the section "Television Series and Major Films," which describes more than 400 major productions. Two appendixes follow: "Award Winners" and "Current Magazines and Websites." There is also an index to important characters and series. Other more comprehensive reference works exist, including The Encyclopedia of Murder and Mystery (St. Martin's, 1999) and The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing (1999). Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime provides a great deal of information that will appeal to aficionados of the crime-fiction genre and is recommended for libraries needing an economical guide.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mammoth series regular Mike Ashley (The Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunits, etc.) returns with his latest crime reference doorstopper, The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Crime Fiction. "From cozies to noir," from Harold Adams to Mark Richard Zubro and from Alfred Hitchcock Presents to Year of the Dragon, Ashley compiles clear, educational entries for the felony buff, including a guide to Internet sites and an index of key sleuths and bad guys across the decades. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Compiled for crime buffs by a veteran of numerous Mammoth titles, this hefty A-to-Z guide profiles 500 modern crime-fiction authors and 300 television series and major films in two sections. In his introduction, Ashley defines crime fiction as the breaking and enforcing of law, limits the scope to the post-World War II era, and outlines the development of the genre. The parameters are broadly designated to encompass, among others, legal thrillers, historical mysteries, suspense and noir, fun and games or puzzle mysteries, traditional cozies or mysteries, and the fiction of private investigators, police detectives, and gangsters and villains. Espionage, spy, supernatural, and horror fiction are excluded. Although the work is comprehensive, it is not all-inclusive, as selection is based on popularity and influence as well as originality and creativity. The entries, organized to provide quick, easy access, vary in length from one-half to one or two pages. Each author entry provides a brief, analytic biography, followed by the standard data: name (with cross references to pennames); birth and death dates; nationality; novels; awards, web sites, and bibliographies, if any; similar writers; and final facts or summary statements. For TV series and film entries, concise synopses follow the year of release, country of origin, length in minutes, and producers, directors, writers, and leading actors. This source does not offer the in-depth criticism provided by Frank N. Magill's Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction or Hans Bertens's and Theo D'haen's Contemporary American Crime Fiction. Nevertheless, it is an inexpensive resource that offers concise, up-to-date ready-reference data and analysis designed for the purpose of readers' advisory. Recommended for literary collections. Marilyn 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.