Print ISBN: 978-1-64265-707-4
# of Pages: 2400
# of Volumes: 4
Print List Price: $399
e-ISBN: 978-1-64265-708-1
eBook User Price: $399
Free Online Access
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Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction

Editor: Rebecca Martin, Pace University
August 2020


This new edition of Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction comprised more than 400 essays, providing detailed analyses of the lives and writings of major contributors to the fascinating literary sub-genre of mystery and detective fiction.

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Each entry provides not only a comprehensive overview of the author’s life, but a detailed look at his or her most significant works. With dozens of new entries, as well as ample updates to existing entries, this four-volume edition offers an extended engagement with nearly every major practitioner of one of the world’s most popular fiction genres. In addition, the set offers dozens of supplementary essays, each providing an overview of a different sub-genre of mystery and detective fiction.

Covered here are such well-known mystery writers as Raymond Chandler, AgathaChristie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Erle Stanley Gardner, Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Allan Poe, and Dorothy Sayers. Popular contemporary writers, such as Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Cornwell, John Dunning, John Grisham, Thomas Harris, Rolando Hinojosa, Scott Turow, J.K. Rowling, and Stuart Woods are also included.

Among the new authors profiled in this edition are:

  • C.J. Box
  • William Kent Krueger
  • Art Taylor 
  • Tana French
  • Asa Larsson
  • Noah Hawley
  • Attica Locke

Critical Survey of Mystery and Detective Fiction is designed for secondary school and college undergraduate students, along with the general reader looking for more in-depth information about their favorite authors. Articles on authors are arranged alphabetically by the names or pen names under which the authors publish their mystery fiction. Each article begins with the author’s name, pseudonyms, birth and death dates and places, and types of plots. The main text of the article is broken up into three parts:

  • Contribution sums up the author’s place in the mystery and detective fiction genre and discusses what sets the author apart from others in the field.
  • Biography provides a brief summary of the author’s life, paying particular attention to events relating to the author’s mystery and detective fiction.
  • Analysis contains an overview of the author’s writing that discusses aspects of the author’s themes, motifs, and writing style. 

Additional features include an annotated bibliography of general works, a guide to Web resources, lists of major writing awards, and a detailed timeline of highlights in the history of mystery and detective fiction. Indexes include chronological, geographical, and category lists of writers covered in author articles and a general subject index


View a Full List of Titles from the Critical Survey of Literature Series