Wednesday 18 March 2009

The Essential Mystery Lists

My American publishers, Poisoned Pen Press, have produced a chunky volume which anyone interested in the history of crime fiction, and the great achievements of the genre, is likely to find indispensable. It is The Essential Mystery Lists, compiled and edited by Roger M. Sobin.

For the first time in one place, Mr Sobin has put together a list of nominees and awrd winners of ‘virtually every mystery award ever presented’, together with numerous ‘best of’ lists by more than 50 prominent contributors to the genre.

There are two inevitable features of a reference work such as this. First, it is out of date as soon as it hits the shelves. Second, there are bound to be errors and omissions. I’ve spotted one or two of the latter, but I must add that my strong impression is that Roger Sobin has done a very good job here. He has been most industrious, and has also been wise enough to enlist the help of some of the most knowledgeable people in the crime fiction world – Marv Lachman, Francis M. Nevins and our own Geoff Bradley, tireless editor of CADS.

The result is a book that I am sure to keep consulting. I only hope that it will be updated in due course. Such a labour of love certainly deserves to be kept going.

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