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Crime Fiction Collection

Married to Murder by Harry WhittingtonThe Crime Fiction Collection was purchased between 1988 and 1994 in response to the teaching and research of Dr Michael Tolley of the University of Adelaide's English Department.  From 1991 to 1997 Tolley taught a course in popular fiction; he also founded and edited the newsletter The Body Dabbler (1988-1996) and co-edited, with Peter Moss, the Wakefield Crime Classics series.  The purchases complement those of the Library's main collection, primarily by British and Australian authors, which began during the time of John Innes Mackintosh Stewart, Scottish novelist and academic who often published under his crime fiction pseudonym, Michael Innes.

The collection of some 800 titles consists largely of Australian printings of both American and Australian authors, with a smaller number of works by British authors.  For the Australian authors the principal publisher was Horwitz, Mayhem in Mexico by Don Haringwhilst the works of American authors appeared mostly in the Larry Kent series: 'I hate crime', published by The Cleveland Publishing Co.  Australian publishers such as Invincible Press and The Original Novels Foundation were also well known for their reprints of popular and crime fiction.

Of the American authors represented in the Crime Ficton Collection, Don Haring is undoubtedly the most prolific. Australian author, Marc Brody, is also well represented, along with smaller collections of the work of Carl Dekker, R.W. Hunter, James Preston and Bob McKinnon.  Australian women as crime fiction authors are represented by Hilda Bridges, Marie Cotton, Jean Devanney, Caroline Farr, Pat Flower, Miranda McElwain, Marcia McEwan, Norma Martyn, Margaret Henry, Charlotte Jay, Meredith Lee, Wilda Moxham and Margot Neville.

Most titles within the collection date from the 1950s to 1960s, a time of boom in the genre. Many appear in 'pulp' paperback format with the distinctive yellow dust jackets and lurid cover illustrations, with a few later works appearing in hard cover.  Also within the collection are reprintings of the Wakefield Crime Classics series of 1992-1994 and magazines of short stories such as Pocket Books Story Teller Weekly and The Invincible Press Short Story Magazine.

In Australia, the most extensive crime/detective fiction collection is held at The University of Sydney.  It contains more than 40,000 titles and is still being added to periodically.

Further information about crime fiction authors can also be found at The Thrilling Detective.


Femme Fatale by Don Haring Nets to Catch the Wind by Dolores Hitchens The Girl with the Frightened Eyes by Lawrence Lariar The Sinister Widow Down Under by Raymond Armstrong
Strange Witness by Day Keene Night of Terror by Steve Hawk Slay Ride by Kirk Hamilton Lucifer's Layd by Don Haring
Rare Books & Special Collections

The University of Adelaide
Rare Books & Special Collections
Level 1, Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224