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Sleuths, sidekicks and stooges :; an annotated bibliography of detectives, their assistants and their rivals in crime, mystery and adventure fiction, 1795-1995

Green, Joseph; Finch, Jim

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ISBN 10: 1859281923 / ISBN 13: 9781859281925
Published by Scolar Press, Aldershot, England, 1997
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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Folio in black DJ; 874 p ; 31 cm. Detective and mystery stories; Literature -- Bibliography. Faint mark and top corner-wear to DJ, little wear to spine head/foot, top-front corner gently bumped, else near fine in fine DJ. A very nice copy. First edition (presumed; no earlier dates stated). Bookseller Inventory # 79903

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sleuths, sidekicks and stooges :; an ...

Publisher: Scolar Press, Aldershot, England

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

This reference work on British and American crime, mystery and adventure fiction in English contains 7,000 entries, listed alphabetically by detective, providing information about sleuths, their sidekicks and their rivals. A broad definition of detective is used encompassing Batman, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Nero Wolfe and Hercule Poirot.

From Booklist:

Covering two centuries of crime and mystery novels and short stories, this weighty tome was obviously a labor of love for its two British compilers, both former research scientists who also happen to be devotees of detective fiction. Their unfortunate use of the phrase "annotated bibliography" in the subtitle is misleading, for, although it includes bibliographic elements, this volume is essentially a guide to nearly 8,000 fictional detectives, both amateur and professional, ranging from perennial favorites such as Nancy Drew, Jules Maigret, Jane Marple, and Perry Mason to more contemporary characters such as Kinsey Millhone, Inspector Morse, Easy Rawlins, and Spenser.

The main body of the work consists of entries for each detective arranged alphabetically by surname. Composed of up to 18 parts, each entry provides a concise identifying phrase that indicates the nationality, gender, profession, and principal locale of the protagonist (for example, "British Male Amateur operating in England"), which, in many cases, is supplemented by a more detailed narrative description of the character. When appropriate, entries also identify^-and frequently include additional descriptive commentary on^-the characters who serve as the detective's assistants (or "sidekicks") and their principal noncriminal adversaries (or "stooges"). For example, the entry for Perry Mason lists Paul Drake and Della Street as his sidekicks and District Attorney Hamilton Burger as one of his stooges. Among other components are the name and nationality of the author who created the character, often accompanied by brief biographical data; the number of books in which the character had appeared as of 1995; and the titles, publishers, and dates of the first and most recent books involving the character. Also noted are additional detectives created by the author and other writers who have used the same character in their works. Recognizing that Sherlock Holmes is in a class of his own, the compilers have devoted a 26-page entry to his character alone.

Frequent cross-references enhance access, as do the four separate indexes to authors, titles, sidekicks, and stooges. Other features include an annotated bibliography of sources consulted; a section, arranged by detective, that notes discrepancies discovered in these sources; and a list of all the detectives who are parodies of Sherlock Holmes.

Unfortunately, the layout of this work and the format of the entries detract from its ease of use. Due to the listing of detectives' names with forenames first rather than surnames, the alphabetical sequence is not immediately obvious, and the insufficient space between entries makes it difficult to ascertain quickly where an entry begins and ends. In addition, the various parts of an entry are not always labeled or self-explanatory, which forces the user to consult the 11-page explanatory guide at the front of the volume. Moreover, U.S. readers may be left in the dark by the occasional use of Briticisms, such as "bluff chap" and "dab hand."

Outweighing these problems and concerns, however, is the indisputable fact that this volume's coverage is far more comprehensive than any other compilation focusing on fictional sleuths. For example, John Conquest's Trouble Is Their Business [RBB Je 15 90] identifies 1,563 characters and is limited to private eyes, while Detectionary: A Bibliographic Dictionary of the Leading Characters in Detective and Mystery Fiction (Overlook Press, 1977) treats only approximately 400 characters. Sleuths, Sidekicks, and Stooges is a natural complement to Allen J. Hubin's two-volume Crime Fiction II: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 17491990 [RBB Ag 94], and it will be a valuable addition to academic and public libraries that support both the study and the enjoyment of detective fiction.

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