Monday 26 February 2024

Crippen & Landru's 30th birthday

Long before the British Library (and its many followers) started publishing Crime Classics, there was Crippen & Landru, a small press based in the United States which quickly established a splendid reputation for quality of book production matched with high-calibre content. It's a reputation which has been burnished over the years and I'm delighted that this year sees the press's 30th anniversary since it came into being. A remarkable achievement, well worth celebrating.

Crippen & Landru were founded by Douglas G. Greene, who was already well-established as an authority on classic detective fiction. His biography of John Dickson Carr is a model of its kind and he had done some great work in helping to shepherd deserving books back into print. The main focus of his imprint was short stories and this has remained the case through the years. There have been many wonderful single author collections, some of them from contemporary writers, many from notable authors of the past.

When Doug was ready to take a step back from the intensive demands of running Crippen & Landru, Jeffrey Marks took over at the helm (although Doug is still involved). Jeff was the ideal man for the job; he too has published significant books about the genre, including bios of Craig Rice and Anthony Boucher, and the very interesting Atomic Renaissance about female post-war crime writers.

Although I'm based on the other side of the Atlantic, I've had the pleasure of working with Crippen & Landru on a number of occasions, starting with editorial work on The Trinity Cat, a collection of stories by Ellis Peters for the 'Lost Classics' series - was it really 18 years ago?  It's always a pleasure to spend in the company of Doug and Jeff and this anniversary is as good a moment as any to thank them for their contribution to the genre. And if you like good mysteries, Crippen & Landru have plenty of books to keep you royally entertained.

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