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DOWNTOWN CENTRAL LIBRARY - Author Leslie S. Klinger - Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s

Class Crime Fiction jacketLes Klinger author photo

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s is a riveting literary collection from Edgar-winning anthologist and mystery expert Leslie S. Klinger. “As an overview of American mystery fiction of the 1920s, this wide-ranging anthology is peerless in providing readers with a bountiful selection of the most loved books of their time, incalculably enhanced by the scholarship of the deftly produced annotations,” writes eminent mystery publisher Otto Penzler in his lively introduction.

American crime writing was reborn in the 1920s. After years of dominance by British authors, new American writers—with fresh ideas about the detective and the mystery—appeared on the scene and rose to heights of popularity not witnessed since the success of the Sherlock Holmes tales in America. The decade spawned the American “crime novel”—rather than focus on the capture of the criminal, fiction explored his or her background and state of mind, the circumstances of the crime and its consequences. The five novels—House Without a Key, The Benson Murder Case, The Roman Hat Mystery, Red Harvest, and Little Caesar—offer some of the very best of the decade’s writing. Klinger, who is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Sherlock Holmes and nineteenth-century mystery fiction, provides fascinating historical and cultural annotations along the way to enhance the reader’s understanding and enjoyment of these stories.  

Klinger's The Annotated Sandman, a four-volume edition of Neil Gaiman's award-winning The Sandman comics, for DC Comics, appeared in 2012;[2] the third volume was published in 2014, and the fourth volume appeared in 2015. Watchmen: The Annotated Edition was edited by Klinger for DC Comics with Dave Gibbons, using extensive material from Alan Moore's original scripts; the book was published in late 2017. He is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars, as well as numerous other Sherlockian societies. He served three terms as chapter president of the Southern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Horror Writers Association (and currently serves as the Treasurer of HWA), the Dracula Society, and the Transylvanian Society of Dracula.

  • Earl Derr Biggers wrote about Charlie Chan, a Chinese-American detective, at a time when racism was rampant.
  • S. S. Van Dine invented Philo Vance, an effete, rich amateur psychologist who flourished while America danced and the stock market rose.
  • The quintessential American detective Ellery Queen leapt onto the stage, to remain popular for fifty years.
  • Dashiell Hammett brought readers the first novel-length mystery narrated by the Continental Op.
  • W. R. Burnett created the indelible character of Rico, the first gangster antihero.


Visitors to the Downtown Central Library receive 3 hours FREE parking across Harvard Street at the Marketplace parking structure with validation at the InfoSpace service desk on the main floor. Handicapped parking is available on the east side of the building. Short term parking spaces are available on the east and south sides of the building. Metered parking is available on Harvard Street and on the west side of the building in Lot #10.

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