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The History of the Pulps

By Brian Hoey. Jul 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

One of the less-remembered truths about the world of books is that, for much of their history, books were expensive. Even in the eighteenth century, owning more than a few books was a marker of middle class status. This fact, of course, did nothing to negate the desire that exists within almost everyone to be taken in by stories. As such, the nineteenth century saw a rise in deliberate attempts to produce inexpensive reading material, the most memorable of which efforts took the forms of the penny dreadful and the dime novel. Cheaply produced on low quality paper, these alternatives to more expensive reading material eventually became synonymous with sensational, low brow, and often lurid storytelling: all mantels that would come to be taken up by the pulps.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About Clive Cussler

By Brian Hoey. Jul 15, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

While not necessarily as well known as Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler has for many years been one of the acknowledged masters of techno-fiction, a genre that blends science fiction, spy novels, and adventure stories. While someone like Crichton has become renowned for the realism and meticulous attention to detail that characterizes his works, Clive Cussler has made a name for himself over the course of more than 70 books by emphasizing the sort of swashbuckling, credulity-defying adventure that can be traced back to Robert Louis Stevenson and others. Here are five interesting facts about him.

     
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Busy as He May Be, Dean Koontz Cares About His Collectors

By Matt Reimann. Jul 9, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American Literature, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Even if you’ve never read Dean Koontz’s books, you’ve certainly seen them around. Whether in airports, used bookshops, or your aunt’s living room, the work of Koontz litters shelves and stands all over the world. It makes sense, too. At age 70, Dean Koontz has placed himself among the top twenty best-selling authors of all time, with more books in circulation than either Stephen King or James Patterson.

     
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Edgar Allan Poe: Father of Detective Fiction

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

American author Edgar Allan Poe is commonly associated with the horror genre. Indeed, poems like “The Raven” and “Annabelle Lee” and stories like The Telltale Heart and The Black Cat lend credence and validity to this association. However, what most don't realize is that Poe is responsible for the modern version of one of the most popular and enduring literary genres: detective fiction. Fans of mysteries and detective stories will recognize the author as the namesake of the prestigious Edgar Award for outstanding mystery novels. 

     
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Why Are We So Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes?

By Matt Reimann. Mar 4, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Modern First Editions, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

As far as popular entertainment goes, we modern folk can have rather nineteenth century tastes. Our love of vampires can be traced to the vision of Bram Stoker. Our Christmas traditions are heavily indebted to the stories of Charles Dickens. Sherlock Holmeskept alive by a menagerie of TV shows, films, memorabilia, and readersis no different. But what is it about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character that endures so well?

     
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Five Little-Known Facts About Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

Mary Higgins Clark's name is now synonymous with the suspense genre. She's penned 35 suspense novels on her own, and she's worked in collaboration with friends and family on several more. Her books, including favorites like Before I Say Goodbye and He Sees You When You're Sleeping, are bestsellers. In fact, her first suspense novel,  Where Are The Children? (1975) which was also made into a feature film is in its 75th edition. So, we know her by her work, but what are some little-known facts about the reigning Queen of Suspense?      
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Mystery Writers of America at the Lilly Library

Do you have an interest in crime writing and detective novels? You’re not alone. From the novels of Agatha Christie to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Americans love a good detective story. The Mystery Writers of America, Inc. (MWA) is, according to the association itself, the “premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring writers, and those who are devoted to the genre.” In other words, MWA promotes crime fiction, from those who write it to the readers who support it. Where can you go to check out the myriad of documents connected to this organization? The Lilly Library Manuscript Collections at Indiana University-Bloomington holds the complete papers of the organization, from correspondence to photographs to financial documents. If you’re interested in the modern history of crime fiction, you may not need to look any further than Bloomington, Indiana.

     
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Hardboiled Fiction and Hollywood

By Audrey Golden. Oct 26, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

For decades, the Los Angeles area has captivated writers of hardboiled detective fiction. In the last 100 years, we’ve read about the exploits of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, and we’ve watched a variety of actors play these detectives on the silver screen. Indeed, as an epicenter of film production, Hollywood has brought cinematic narratives of the quintessentially American hardboiled detective to viewers across the globe. Let’s take a look at the novels that introduced gritty Southern California to readers and the film adaptations that followed them.

     
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And Then There Were 100 Million: Agatha Christie's Legacy

By Nick Ostdick. Sep 15, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Mystery, Suspense & Crime

It's sold more than 100 million copies since its publication in 1939. It’s been translated into more than 45 languages, dubbed time and again as the most successful novel in the genre, and widely regarded as the author’s masterwork. For almost any other author, these accolades would be something too grand to even hope for. But for famed mystery writer Agatha Christie (1890-1976), author of 66 mystery novels, the acclaim surrounding her landmark novel And Then There Were None is the perfect distillation of how Christie established critical tenets of the modern mystery novel and subsequently defied them. 

     
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P.D. James: An Unlikely Writer

By Neely Simpson. Aug 3, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, Mystery, Suspense & Crime

When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, I immediately wondered:
Did he fall — or was he pushed?
- P. D. James

It's hard to imagine a high school drop-out becoming one of the world's great novelists. In that regard, P.D. James seems an unlikely writer. However, the great P.D. James was a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the page. At the age of 16 she left school to help raise her two younger siblings, and she took a job to support her struggling family. She worked for the Red Cross during World War II and was also a National Health Service administrator. But, she spent the majority of her career with the Home Office of the British Civil Service in the Police and Criminal Law Department. She was the sole breadwinner for her two daughters and a husband who had to be institutionalized after World War II. Additionally, she was appointed as a life "peer" and named Baroness James of Holland Park. She served in the House of Lords as a Conservative and was a governor of the BBC. It boggles the mind that P.D. James found the time to write at all, let alone author 19 novels and 1 autobiography.

     
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