Murder in the Library: The Best Anthologies of Hard-Boiled, Noir & Pulp Reprints

Until the eighties, I don’t think anyone had ever thought of doing a collection of original private eye stories. Oh, there’d certainly been some amazing volumes of reprinted tales, full of hard-boiled cops and cabbies and reporters and other dicks and janes who made trouble their business. It took Robert Randisi and the crew at the Private Eye Writers of America to pop the cork, and gave us the first ever collection dedicated exclusively to private eyes. That first volume, The Eyes Have It (1984), featured most of what would become the usual suspects, would inspire numerous other all-eye anthologies, by the PWA, by Randisi, by Michael Bracken and others.

  • Shaw, Joseph T., editor.
    The Hard-Boiled Omnibus Buy this book
    Simon & Shuster, 1946.
    The first anthology to ever attempt to cover the genre. A sampling of a dozen classic pulp stories from Black Mask, chosen by the magazine’s best and most influential author, Cap Shaw himself. Includes seminal stories from Lester Dent, Ramon Decolta , Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Raoul Whitfield, Norbert Davis, Paul Cain, Roger Torrey, George Harmon Coxe and others.
  • Boucher, Anthony, editor.
    Four-&-Twenty Bloodhounds Buy this book
    New York: Carroll and Graf, 1950.
    As MWA anthologies go, this one is of particular interest for fans of hard-boiled P.I.s. It includes stories featuring Scott Jordan, Johnny Liddell, John & Suzy Marshall, and “Michael Shayne As I Knew him” by Brett Halliday. Contributors include Ken Crossen, John Dickson Carr, Harold Q. Masur, Frank Kane, James M. Fox, Clayton Rawson, D.B. Olsen, Robert Arthur, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence G. Blochman, Stewart Sterling, August Derleth, Ellery Queen, Brett Halliday, Fredric Brown, George Harmon Coxe, Q. Patrick, Kelley Roos and Stuart Palmer. 
  • Oursler, Will, editor.
    As Tough As They Come Buy this book
    New York: Permabooks, 1951.
    Paperback collection of “17 hard-boiled stories of murder and violence.” Includes tales from Dashiell Hammett, Bruno Fischer, James M. Cain, George Harmon Coxe, Steve fisher, Brett Haliday, Day Keene, George Harmon Coxe et al. Oursler was the co-creator of pivotal female eye Gale Gallagher.
  • Shayne, Mike, ed.
    Dangerous Dames: Selected by Mike Shayne Buy this book
    Dell, 1955.
    Yeah, right. Selected by “Mike Shayne.” Still, this paperback anthology of stories from various pulps and digests, is a treat for fans of the hard stuff. There’s a Brett Halliday story here (though not a Shayne tale, as one might expect), plus goodies from Frank Gruber, Anthony Boucher, Harold Q. Masur, Bruno Fischer, Day Keene and others. Each story features a “dangerous dame.”
  • Masur, Harold Q., editor,
    Dolls Are Murder Buy this book
    Lion Books, 1957.
    This MWA anthology featuring reprints of stories by Brett Halliday; John D. MacDonald; Raymond Chandler; Ellery Queen; George Harmon Coxe; Bruno Fischer; Georges Simenon; Rex Stout,and Harold Q. Masur.
  • Meredith, Scott and Sidney,
    The Best From Manhunt Buy this book
    Montreal: Pocket Books, 1958.
    A great little collection drawn from the legendary Manhunt, which humbly notes on the cover that it features “13 of the toughest crime short stories ever written.” I don’t know about that, but it includes solid tales by Jack Richie, Craig Rice, Even Hunter, Richard Deming and even a Shell Scott story by Richard Prather.
  • Shayne, Mike, ed., with a foreword by Brett Halliday
    Murder in Miami: Selected by Mike Shayne Buy this book
    Dell, 1959.
    Another paperback antho of stories from various pulps and digests,”selected by” Mike Shayne. The theme this time around is Miami itself. There’s the obligatory Brett Halliday story here, plus solid entries from Rufus King, Robert Arthur, and Talmage Powell.
  • Wright, Lee, editor,
    A Butcher’s Dozen of Wicked Women Buy this book
    Pocket Books, 1959.
    Typical anthology of the era, with thirteen stories by Agatha Christie, Kenneth Millar, Ellery Queen and others. Not particularly hard-boiled, but the misleading cover by Morgan Kane of a babe in a flimsy gown, brandishing a gun, certainly suggests that possibility.
  • Prather, Richard S., editor,
    The Comfortable Coffin Buy this book
    Fawcett Gold Medal Books, 1960.
    The 13th Mystery Writers of America Anthology, edited and introduced by Shell Scott‘s creator is, predictably, jam-packed with examples of humourous crime stories including, naturally a Shell Scott romp. Other contributors include Evan Hunter and Erle Stanley Gardner. Prather’s stated intention in the intro is to make the reader “smile, and chuckle, and-more than once-laugh out loud.” He succeeds.
  • Marguilies, Leo, editor
    Dames, Danger, Death Buy this book
    New York: Pyramid Books, 1960.
    Along with Come Seven, Come Death (also listed here), one of the very best samplers of fifties-era tough guy crime fiction I’ve seen, mostly taken from the pages of Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine. There are eight stories, most — although not all of them, despite the cover blurb — featuring “tough private eyes.”. There’s Michael Shayne by Brett Halliday, Curt Cannon and Richard Silverstein by Ed McBain (as Curt Cannon and Richard Marsten respectively), Pete Chambers by Henry Kane, Shell Scott by Richard Prather and Johnny Liddell by Frank Kane. Non-P.I. tales by Jonathan Craig and Richard Deming round out the roster.
  • Margulies, Leo, ed.
    Mike Shayne’s Torrid Twelve
    Dell, 1961.
    Paperback anthology of stories that originally appeared in MSMM, including one Mike Shayne tale, “Death Dives Deep”, written by Robert Arthur, as well as stories by Hal Ellson, Talmage Powell, Frank Kane, Robert Bloch, Richard Deming, Henry Slesar, and Jonathan Craig, among others.
  • Margulies, Leo, ed.
    Mink Is For a Minx: The Best From Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine
    Dell, 1964.
    Another paperback anthology of stories that originally appeared in MSMM, including a Mike Shayne tale, “Death of a Dead Man,” by Dennis Lynds. In fact, the book also boasts two other tales by Dennis, including one under the pseudonym of John Douglas. There are also stories by Hal Ellson, Talmage Powell, Frank Kane, Robert Bloch, Richard Deming, Henry Slesar, and Jonathan Craig.
  • Goulart, Ron, editor.
    The Hardboiled Dicks Buy this book
    New York: Sherbourne Press, 1965.
    Another pivotal collection. Includes classic tales from Norbert Davis, John K. Butler, Raoul Whitfield, Frederick Nebel and Richard Sale, plus “An Informal Reading List.”
  • Morrison, Henry, editor.
    Come Seven/Come Death Buy this book
    New York: Pocket Books, 1965.
    Excellent collection of seven private eye stories. Featuring Shell Scott, Scott Jordan, Pete Chambers, Johnny Liddell, Pete Selby, Manny Moon and Chester Drum.
  • Goodstone, Tony, editor.
    The Pulps: 50 Years of American Pop Culture
    New York: Chelsea House, 1970.
    Over 50 complete stories, poems, features, and articles all in their original format, including work by Paul Gallico, Max Brand, Dashiell Hammett, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Also over 100 full colour original covers, some full page. Includes T.T. Flynn’s hard-to-find “The Deadly Orchard.
  • Ruhm, Herbert, editor.
    The Hard-Boiled Detective: Stories from Black Mask Magazine Buy this book
    New York: Vintage Books, 1977.
    Includes first book publication of Carroll John Daly’s The False Burton Combs, often considered the first genre protagonist, although he isn’t a detective per se, plus tough stuff from Raymond Chandler, Merle Constiner, George Harmon Coxe, Norbert Davis, Lester Dent, Erle Stanley Gardne and Dashiell Hammett.
  • Kittredge and Steven M. Krauzer, editors.
    The Great American Detective Buy this book
    New York: New American Library, 1978.
    Mostly hard-boiled, includes Carroll John Daly’s first Race Williams’ story, plus great stories from Cornell Woolrich, Erle Stanley Gardner, Chandler, etc. This was one of those pivotal books that turned me on to the genre in the first place.
  • Pronzini, Bill, editor.
    The Arbor House Treasury of Detective & Pulp Stories From the Great Pulps Buy this book
    New York: Arbor House, 1983.
    Pretty much what the title says. Includes Hammett’s first Continental Op story, plus entries by Daly, McCoy, Nebel, Paul Cain, Bellem, Norbert Davis, John Jakes and Frederick Nebel, among others.
  • Hoppenstand, Gary, and Ray Browne, editors.
    The Defective Detective in the Pulps Buy this book
    Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1983.
    Excellent collection of pulp stories, featuring such peculiar eyes as Nat “The Bleeder” Perry, the faceless Seekay and the periodically blind Peter Quest, plus a great intro that tries to place them in an historical context.
  • Pronzini, Bill and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
    The Ethnic Detective
    Intriguing collection of non-pale-male private eyes and other detectives. I borrowed it countless times from the Westmount Library.
  • Nolan, William F., editor.
    The Black Mask Boys: Masters in the Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction Buy this book
    New York: The Mysterious Press, 1985.
    The Real Deal. Stone cold classic stories by Chandler, Nebel, Hammett, Gardner, ). Paul Cain,, etc. and revealing essays which introduce each one make this an absolute must for entertainment AND reference. Includes Nolan’s defense of Carroll John Daly’s Three Gun Terry as the first hardboiled private eye.
  • Hoppenstand, Gary, Garyn G. Roberts and Ray Browne, editors.
    More Tales of the Defective Detective in the Pulps Buy this book
    Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1985.
    More tales of “defective detectives,” right from the pages of the pulps. Also heartily recommended (if you can find a copy.)
  • Drew, Bernard A., editor
    Hard-Boiled Dames: A Brass-Knuckled Anthology of the Toughest Women From the Classic Pulps Buy this book
    New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986.
    Collects stories about women from the 1930’s pulps. The perfect intro to Carrie Cashin, Sarah Watson, Violet McDade and others. There’s also a nifty little preface by Marcia Muller.
  • Pronzini, Bill, editor,
    Tales of Mystery Buy this book
    Random House Value Publishing, 1986.
    Budget-priced hardcover (now almost forgotten) selection of fourteen stories from the pulps of the 1940s and 1950s, most of which had not been published anywhere since their original appearance in the pages of Black Mask, Dime Detective, The Shadow Magazine and others, from the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Carroll John Daly, Cornell Woolrich, John D. MacDonald, Fredric Brown, Frederick Nebel, Paul Cain and John Jakes.
  • Roberts, Garyn G., editor,
    A Cent a Story! The Best From Ten Detective Aces
    Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1986
    Collects 10 stories reprinted from Ten Detective Aces and an informative introduction by Garyn G. Roberts titled “Of Dragnets and Detective Aces: Early Beginnings for the Hero Pulps”. The stories in this book are Richard Sale, G.T. Fleming-Roberts, Frederick C. Davis, Lester Dent, Norvell Page, and others.
  • Gorman, Ed, editor.
    The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction Buy this book
    Berkeley, California: Black Lizard Books, 1987.
    Awesome collection published by the guys who gave noir a new lease on life in the eighties. Includes stories from Max Allan Collins, Wayne D Dundee, William Campbell Gault, Edward Gorman, Robert J Randisi, James Reasoner, Loren D. Estleman, Bill Pronzini, Harry Whittington, John Lutz, Jim Thompson, Harlan Ellison, Dennis Lynds, Joe R. Lansdale, Joe Gores and more.
  • The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories | Buy this book
    London: Robinson Press, 1988. Reprinted, 2004.
    Possibly the single best anthology of private eye stories ever, covering everyone from Carroll John Daly to Sue Grafton, with stops along the way for Chandler, Howard Browne, Lawrence Block, Bill Pronzini, Max Collins, Joseph Hansen, Richard Prather and Robert Leslie Bellem, among others. Recommended. HEARTILY.
  • Gorman, Ed, editor.
    The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction Buy this book
    Berkeley, California: Black Lizard Books, 1988.
    Almost as good as the first. Essential.
  • Estleman, Loren D., and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
    P.I. Files Buy this book
    New York: Ivy Books, 1990.
    Excellent collection of stories by (mostly) latter-day writers Block, Grafton, Paretsky, Gorman, Kantner, Michael Collins, etc., featuring their series characters, for the most part. a few choice nuggets from the past, such as Fletcher Flora’s “The Heat is Killing Me” are included, as well.
  • Dziemianowicz, Stefan R., Robert Weinberg and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
    Hard-Boiled Detectives: 23 Great Stories from Dime Detective Magazine | Buy this book
    New Jersey: Gramercy Books, 1992.
    Exactly what it says. Instant remainder includes one story for each year from 1931 to 1953. Includes tales of Nebel’s Cardigan, Davis’ Bill Brent, Chandler’s John Dalmas and Constiner’s The Dean, among others.
  • Weinberg, Robert E., Stefan Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
    Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames Buy this book
    A top notch pulp anthology, with some great stories by folks like Chandler, Gardner, Nebel, Paul Cain, Davis, Cave, Daly, Bellem, Gruber and Brackett.
  • Pronzini, Bill and Jack Adrian, editors.
    Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories Buy this book
    New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
    A classic collection, containing many notable rarities, including stories from Leigh Brackett, Ed Gorman, Andrew Vachss, Gil Brewer, Paul Cain, Norbert Davis, Chester Himes, Elmore Leonard and tons more. Great intros and critical analysis, too. One classy collection.
  • Woods, Paula A., editor.
    Spooks, Spies and Private Eyes: Black Mystery Crime and Suspense Fiction of the 20th Century
    Doubleday, 1995.
    A landmark, as editor Paula Woods, in her intro and aided by a primo selection of short stories, traces the development of black mystery and crime writers. Authors include Walter Mosley, Richard Wright, Gar Haywood, John A. Williams, Gary Phillips, and Hugh Horton. Recommended.
  • Randisi, Robert J., editor,
    The Eyes Still Have It Buy this book
    Dutton, 1995.
    A collection of twelve Shamus-winning short stories, featuring the works of Lawrence Block, Mickey Spillane, Nancy Pickard, Marcia Muller and others.
  • Jakubowski, Maxim, editor.
    The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction Buy this book
    London: Robinson Press, 1996.
  • Randisi, Robert J., editor.
    First Cases: First Appearances of Classic Private Eyes | Buy this book
    Dutton, 1996.
    An essential collection, featuring the short story debuts of several more-or-less contemporary shamuses, including Dan Fortune, Kinsey Millhone, The Dan Kearney Agency, Matt Scudder, Ben Perkins, Nate Heller, V.I. Warshawski and others, even Randisi’s own Miles Jacoby.
  • Haining, Peter, editor,
    Pulp Fictions
    New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996
    This 1996 cheapie collection (frequently reprinted) of pulp classics, old and occasionally new, is priced to own, and you sure can’t turn your sniffer up at the selection. Besides solid, if not too surprising P.I. stories from usual suspects Chandler, Hammett, Bellem, Daly, Ellroy and Macdonald, there are entries ranging all over the hard-boiled genre from everyone from Spillane, Leonard and MacKinlay Kantor to McBain, Sam Fuller, Stepen King and Quentin Tarrantino. And Hainings’ brief but informative introductory notes are worth checking out, as well.
  • Gorman, Ed, Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
    American Pulp | Buy this book
    New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1997.
    This one’s just full of good stuff: stories by, among others, Lawrence Block, Leigh Brackett, Gil Brewer, Fredric Brown, Norbert Davis, William Campbell Gault,David Goodis, Clark Howard, Dorothy B Hughes, Evan Hunter, John Jakes, Day Keene, John Lutz, John D. MacDonald, Stephen Marlowe, Richard Matheson, Wade Miller, Marcia Muller, Helen Nielsen, Vin Packer, Talmage Powell, Richard S Prather, Robert J Randisi, James M. Reasoner, Craig Rice, Jack Ritchie, Mickey Spillane, Donald Wandrei, LJ Washburn and Donald E Westlake.
  • Gorman, Ed, Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg, editors.
    Pure Pulp Buy this book
    New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999.
    Classic hardboiled crime by Westlake, Block, John D. MacDonald, Fredric Brown, Norbert Davis, Leigh Brackett, James M. Cain, David Goodis, et al.
  • Randisi, Robert J., editor.
    First Cases 3: New and Classic Tales of Detection Buy this book
    Signet, 1999.
    More short story debuts of various detectives, including P.I.s Delilah West, Stephanie Plum, Tess Monaghan, Ed Rivers, Fred Carver, Nick Polo, Chip Harrison, Saxon and Aaron Gunner.
  • Breen, Jon L, and Ed Gorman, editors,
    Sleuths of the Century | Buy this book
    There’s a lot of non-PI stuff in this, but there’s some primo P.I. stuff, as well. From the intro: “To represent the twentieth-century detective, we have selected twenty-five. They are male and female; straight and gay; tough and cozy; public, private, and purely amateur. Some of them are obvious consensus choices – who would leave out Wimsey or Queen or Archer or Mason or Wolfe or the cops of the 87th? – while others may be more surprising.” Stories here includes ones featuring Nero Wolfe, Perry Mason, Steve Grayce (Chandler’s house dick), Fergus O’Breen, Lew Archer, Matt Scudder, Nameless, Sharon McCon, Easy Rawlins and V.I. Warshawski.
  • O’Sullivan, Maurice J., and Steve Glassman, ed.
    Orange Pulp: Stories of Mayhem, Murder and Mystery Buy this book
    University of Florida Press, 2000.
    Great collection (and a great title, too) of stories and classic excerpts set in the Sunshine State, including P.I. stuff from John Carroll Daly, Jonathan Latimer, Brett Halliday and John D. MacDonald, as well as contributions from Charles Willeford, Stephen Ransome, Edwin Ganberry, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Don Tracy. Includes a solid essay, with bibliography, on Florida crime fiction.
  • Gorman, Ed, and Martin H. Greenberg, editors,
    Pulp Masters | Buy this book
    New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001.
    Great collection of six pulp novellas by John D. MacDonald, Mickey Spillane, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, James M. Cain and a full novel by Harry Whittington. According to Bill Crider, “Pulp Masters is worth picking up for the Whittington novel, So Dead My Love, alone.”
  • Jakubowski, Maxim, editor,
    The Mammoth Book of Pulp Action Buy this book
    New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001.
    A new Carroll&Graf collection of rfelatively rare hard-boiled goodies, by such masters of the craft as Dashiell Hammett, Robert Leslie Bellem, Cornell Woolrich, Erle Stanley Gardner, John D. MacDonald, Ross McDonald, Ed McBain, Charles Willeford, David Goodis, and James Ellroy.
  • Spillane, Mickey, and Max Allan Collins, editors,
    A Century of Noir: Thirty-Two Classic Crime Stories | Buy this book
    New York: New American Library, 2002.
    A good, solid collection, with reprints from from folks like Cain, Goodis, MacDonald, Macdonald, Brackett, etc, as well as stories by both editors. Also, Ben Schutz’s great Lost and Found, which wraps up his Leo Haggerty series.
  • Randisi, Robert J., editor
    Most Wanted Buy this book
    Personal favourites of past (and current) presidents of PWA. Four of the stories are new (including a new Nameless tale by Pronzini, an Alo Nudger by John Lutz, a new P.I. by Jeremiah Healy and a new Stanley Hastings by Parnell Hall) and the rest are reprints, but for the most part, they’re GOOD reprints, by the likes of Lawrence Block, Michael Collins, William Campbell Gault, Sue Grafton, Les Roberts, Robert Randisi, Sara Paretsky and Max Allan Collins..
  • Penzler, Otto, editor,
    The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps: The Best Crime Stories from the Pulps During Their Golden Age–The ’20s, ’30s & ’40s Buy this book
    New York: Vintage Crime/Blck Lizard, 2007
    It’s big, alright, and it’s got a big title, but for those of you who have never actually read anything from the glory days of detective and crime pulps, this is more than just a massive doorstop — it’s the gateway drug of the year. Combining three previously published (or scheduled to be published) collections, The Crimefighters, The Villains and The Dames, and featuring each of those individual volumes’ intros (by Harlan Coben, Harlan Ellison and Laura Lippman, respectively, as well as an overall view by Penzler himself, this is one huge hunk of reading, over 1100 pages of Grade-A pulp, 100 % pure, from some of the greatest writers the genre has ever seen: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett (a never-before-published story), Erle Stanley Gardner, Raoul Whitfield, both James A. and Paul Cain, Norbert Davis, Horace McCoy, Cornell Woolrich, George Harmon Coxe and even a couple of complete novels (from Carroll John Daly and Frederick Nebel), ripped from the pages of Black Mask, Dime Detective and other shining lights of the era. The stories have all been cleaned up and re-typeset for easy legibility, but the two-column layout, instantly familiar to design anyone who’s ever gingerly handled an actual copy of those dusty, musty old pulps and many of the original illustrations have been retained so it’s like reading the biggest baddest pulp on the newstand. Go ahead, take a little taste. The addiction starts here…
  • Randisi, Robert J., editor,
    The Shamus Winners: America’s Best Private Eye Stories: Volume I Buy this book
    Baltimore, MD: Perfect Crime Books, 2010
    Includes all the Shamus-winning stories from 1982 to 1995, by the likes of John Lutz, Bill Pronzini, Lawrence Block, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman, Mickey Spillane, Marcia Muller, Nancy Pickard, Benjamin M. Schutz, Linda Barnes, Max Allan Collins, and Sue Grafton.
  • Randisi, Robert J., editor,
    The Shamus Winners: America’s Best Private Eye Stories: Volume II | Buy this book
    Baltimore, MD: Perfect Crime Books, 2010
    Includes the rest of the Shamus-winning stories up to 2009, from Pearl Abraham, Mitch Alderman, O’Neil De Noux, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman, Terrence Faherty, Gar Anthony Haywood, Jeremiah Healy, Ceri Jordan, John Lutz, Lia Matera, Warren Murphy, I. J. Parker, Cornelia Read, Carolyn Wheat and Michael Wiecek.
  • Polito, Robert, editor,
    American Noir: 11 Classic Crime Novels of the 1930s, 40s, & 50s Buy this book!
    Library of America, 2012.
    Not really an anthology, but who cares? The noir genre gets a big hunk of respect from the folks at the Library of America, with this classy two-volume hardcover collection that digs deep into the heart of darkness: The Postman Always Rings Twiceby James M. Cain, (1934), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy, Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson, The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing,, Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham, I Married a Dead Man by Cornell Woolrich, The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, Pick-Up by Charles Willeford, Down There by David Goodis and The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes. That’s over 1800 acid-free pages of despair, bleakness and bad luck. Pass the razor.
  • Jakubowski, Maxim, editor.
    The New Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction Buy this book Kindle it!
    London: Constable & Robinson, 2014
    Updated edition of the pretty much essential 1996 collection of reprints. Eight stories are chucked, to make room for some new (old) stories, including a recently re-discovered Dashiell Hammett story that apparently fell through the cracks, mostly because nobody seemed to realize he was the author. It may be a far cry from his later Continental Op stories, but it’s a fascinating look into the developing author. Also in this volume: classic stories by the likes of Mickey Spillane, Donald Westlake, John D. MacDonald, Jim Thompson, Robert Leslie Bellem, Paul Cain, Lawrence Block and others — you know, those guys.
  • Vorzimmer, Jeff, editor,
    The Best of Manhunt | Buy this book | Kindle it!
    Stark House Press, 2019.
    39  stories from the acclaimed digest, including stories by Ed McBain, Mickey Spillane, Richard Deming, Jonathan Craig, Hal Ellson, Robert Turner, Jack Ritchie, Frank Kane, Craig Rice, Fletcher Flora, Talmage Powell, Richard S. Prather, David Alexander, Harold Q. Masur, Gil Brewer, Helen Nielsen, Erskine Caldwell, Henry Slesar, David Goodis, Lawrence Block, John D. MacDonald, Clark Howard, Fredric Brown, Donald E. Westlake, Harlan Ellison and Harry Whittington. As some doofus once said,  “Issue-for-issue and pound-for-pound, Manhunt was the best and most consistent crime mag around.”
  • Vorzimmer, Jeff, editor,
    The Best of Manhunt 2 Buy this book
    Stark House Press, 2020.
    40 more stories from the acclaimed digest, as well as a forward by Peter Enfantino, an intro by Jon L. Breen, and a great historical overview of the mag by Robert Turner. Also includes stories by Howard Browne, William Campbell Gault, Fletcher Flora, Richard Deming, Helen Neilsen, Wade Miller, Erle Stanley Gardner, Stephen Marlowe, Donald Westlake,  Bruno Fischer and all the usual suspects.


List respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith.

4 thoughts on “Murder in the Library: The Best Anthologies of Hard-Boiled, Noir & Pulp Reprints

  1. Terrific list here and in your preceding post! I have several of the anthologies you’re showing, but not nearly enough of them. Oh hell, it’s time to whip out the credit card…

    1. Well, feel free to use the buy links on the site, if you’re going to buy through Amazon. It won’t cost you anything, and I’ll get a few pennies. Theoretically.

      1. Very cool, and much appreciated. As for going somewhere/anywhere, well, we’re all in the same boat (more Titanic than Noah’s Ark, alas). But it’s a good time to hunker down and read. Or write. Or update a web site…

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