Murder in the Library: The Mystery Writers of America Anthologies

Everybody into the Boat!

Okay, nobody’s ever going to mistake The Mystery Writers of America (MWA) for The Private Eye Writers of America (PWA), but private eye writers have played a major role in the MWA right from the beginning

P.I. writers, including Brett Halliday and Baynard Kendrick, were involved in the founding of the organization back in 1945, and other members of the shamus game have continued to play an often significant role, through the years, both as part of the rank and files, and as part of the executive.

They’ve also contributed ro the MWA’s long-running anthology series, which was started to raise funds for the fledgling organization’s treasury. The first anthology, Murder Cavalcade, was published in 1946, and since then, the MWA has averaged about one short-story anthology a year, often devoted to a theme, edited by best-selling writers and providing a showcase for members.

In fact, an awful lot of the earlier stories were contemporaneous P.I. stories — or what we now call “vintage.” For example, the anthology I’m slowly working my way through just now, Crime for Two (1955), has a Mike Shayne story in it that was mostly written by Helen McCloy (she and Brett Halliday, Shayne’s creator, were married at the time).

Speaking of Mike Shayne, a beat-up old copy of Four and Twenty Bloodhounds, edited by Anthony Boucher, remains one of my most treasured early finds, picked up for a quarter (!) at a book sale in the basement of a church in St. Lambert, Quebec, about a million years ago. it included all sort of good P.I. stuff from the likes of Frank Kane, Vern Chute and James M. Fox, as well as “Michael Shayne as I Know Him”, the only non-fiction piece in the book, written by Halliday himself, who gives us the skinny on how he came to create his beloved eye.

 

 

YEAR

TITLE

EDITOR(S)

1946
Murder Cavalcade
Ken Crossen (un-credited)
Foreword by 
Richard Lockridge
1947
Murder By Experts
Ellery Queen
1950
Four-&-Twenty Bloodhounds
Anthony Boucher
1951
20 Great Tales Of Murder
(aka “Murder Murder Murder”)
Helen McCloy & Brett Halliday
1952
Maiden Murders
Intro by John Dickson Carr
1953
Crooks Tour
Bruno Fischer
1954
Butcher, Baker, Murder-maker
George Harmon Coxe
1955
Crime For Two
Frances & Richard Lockridge
1956
Eat, Drink, And Be Buried
Rex Stout
1957
For Love Or Money
Dorothy Gardiner
1957
Dolls Are Murder
Harold Q. Masur
1958
A Choice Of Murders
Dorothy Salisbury Davis
1958
Big-Time Mysteries
Brett Halliday
1959
The Lethal Sex
John D. Macdonald
1960
The Comfortable Coffin
Richard S. Prather
1961
Tales For A Rainy Night
David Alexander
1962
Cream Of The Crime
Hugh Pentecost
1962
Quality Of Murder: 100 Years of True Crime
Anthony Boucher
1963
A Pride Of Felons
The Gordons
1964
Crimes Across The Sea
John Creasey
1965
Masters Of Mayhem
Edward D. Radin
1966
Sleuths And Consequences
Thomas B. Dewey
1967
Murder In Mind
Lawrence Treat
1968
With Malice Toward All
Robert L. Fish
1969
Merchants Of Menace
Hillary Waugh
1970
Crime Without Murder
Dorothy Salisbury Davis
1971
Murder Most Foul
Harold Q. Masur
1972
Dear, Dead Days
Edward D. Hoch
1973
Mirror, Mirror, Fatal Mirror
Hans Stefan Santesson
1974
Killers Of The Mind
Lucy Freeman
1975
Every Crime In The Book
Robert L. Fish
1976
Tricks And Treats
Joe Gores & Bill Pronzini
1977
When Last Seen
Arthur Maling
1978
I, Witness
Brian Garfield
1978
Cop Code
John Ball
1979
Women’s Wiles
Michele B. Slung, Gene Stone
1980
The Edgar Winners
Bill Pronzini
1981
All But Impossible! Impossible Crimes
Edward D. Hoch
1982
A Special Kind Of Crime
Lawrence Treat
1983
EQ Presents Best Short Stories
Ellery Queen
1984
Mystery Hall Of Fame
Pronzini, Greenberg, Waugh
1984
The Crime Of My Life
Brian Garfield
1986
Last Laughs
Gregory Mcdonald
1987
Murder On The Aisle
Mary Higgins Clark
1987
Murder California Style SoCal Chapter
Jon L. Breen
1988
Distant Danger
Janwillem Van De Wetering
1989
Beastly Tales
Sara Paretsky
1989
Plots And Pans: Recipes And Antidotes
Nancy Jean Webb
1990
The New Edgar Winners
Martin H. Greenberg
1992
Mystery Writers America
Sara Paretsky
1993
The Fine Art Of Murder
Gorman, Greenberg, Breen
1994
Guilty As Charged
Scott Trurow
1999
Diagnosis Dead
Jonathan Kellerman
2000
The Night Awakens
Mary Higgins Clark
2001
Masters’ Choice
Lawrence Block
2002
Blood On Their Hands
Lawrence Block
2003
A Hot And Sultry Night For Crime
Jeffrey Deaver
2004
Show Business Is Murder
Stuart Kaminsky
2006
Death Do Us Part
Harlan Coben
2008
The Blue Religion
Michael Connelly
2009
The Prosecution Rests
Linda Fairstein
2009
In The Shadow Of The Master
Michael Connelly
2009
On A Raven’s Wing
Stuart Kaminsky
2010
Crimes By Moonlight
Charlaine Harris
2011
The Rich And The Dead
Nelson Demille
2012
Vengeance
Lee Child
2013
The Mystery Box
Brad Meltzer
2013
Ice Cold
Jeffrey Deaver & Raymond Benson
2015
Manhattan Mayhem
Mary Higgins Clark
2015
The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook
Kate White
2018
Scream and Scream Again
R.L. Stine
2019
Odd Partners
Anne Perry
2020
Deadly Anniversaries
Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini

MURDER IN THE LIBRARY

List compiled by Abbey in Boston, and updated by Kevin Burton Smith.

montreal_noir

Leave a Reply