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Sunday, May 19, 2013 8:36 am
Book Group Toolbox #78: The American Detective
Posted by: Kaite Stover

2013_mystery-month-buttonLooking for references and resources in the mystery genre always turns up a fun surprise. The latest item I found lurking in the 800s is The American Detective: An Illustrated History by Jeff Siegel.AmericanDetective2

The flyleaf makes a grand claim about the 168 page book being “a comprehensive look at the evolution of one of the most enduring figures in American literary and film culture–the detective.” That may be a small stretch, but no one can deny that this is the most entertaining book on the American Detective in popular culture.

Siegel has the tone of a wise-cracking gumshoe and the smarts of the gumshoe’s gal Friday. He writes an entertaining and accessible history of the mystery, taking a quintessential American icon through film and penny-dreadfuls. The book is full of marvelous pulp fiction covers of mysteries and interesting profiles of the most popular types of detectives: lawyers, cops, private eyes, and international ops.

Take it to the next mystery book group meeting and have fun with the illustrations and trivia. And have fun debating Sielgel’s take on the introduction of women into the hard-boiled genre. He makes some interesting points.

One Response to “Book Group Toolbox #78: The American Detective”
  1. Book Blog – Likely Stories, from Booklist Online » Blog Archive » The Mystery of the Missing Editor – Case Closed! Says:

    [...] The Book Group Buzz bloggers have been on fire. Kaite Stover used recent news about the famous Gardner Museum heist to anchor a post called, ”Discussable Duets: The Artistry Behind the Mystery.” Misha Stone made a case for Nick Dybek’s debut as a mystery in ”Debut with a Twist: Nick Dybek’s When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man” and Neil Hollands takes a look at a crime novel set in an underused locale, Salt Lake City, in “Back to the City of Saints.” Finally, Kaite offers book groups a sharp-edged device for their toolbox with “The American Detective.” [...]

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