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The Encyclopedia of Murder and Mystery


Author: B. Murphy

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan


Publish Date: February 9, 2002

ISBN-10: 031229414X

Pages: 543

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

This book contains entries on authors, characters, individual works, terminology, famous criminal cases, slang, subgenres and plot devices, murder techniques and poisons, all of which are part of the matter and manner and context of crime and murder literature. Entries are also provided for select slang terms that I have come across in my reading. Commonly known terms or those with obvious derivations have not been included, such as the many versions of the verb “to kill” (to chill, to cool, to waste, to rub out, etc.). Mysteries that fall under children’s literature (such as the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries) fall outside the scope of this work. In some plot summaries, ambiguities have been deliberately left in so as not to spoil the mystery for the reader.

Cross-references using small capitals have been added to direct the reader to other entries in the book. To make the book as readable as possible, however, not all terms have been cross-referenced, but only those germane to the subject at hand, and where several occur in a single sentence only the most particular has been placed in small capitals (thus, if a book has an entry, the title is in small caps but not the author’s name, for example “Dashiell Hammett’s RED HARVEST”). Words that appear constantly are also not cross-referenced, such as “p.i.” and “short story.” Though articles such as “the” and “an” that appear at the beginning of titles have been placed in small capitals they are not used in alphabetizing. In some cases, single words have been cross-referenced to indicate multiple word entries (for example, PULP, in order to direct a reader to the entry on PULP MAGAZINES).

Bibliographies are appended to entries for series characters, listing the books not discussed in the entry itself. Complete bibliographies of all of an author’s published works can be found in such sources as TWentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers or The Dictionary of Literary Biography. Dates of publication are usually those of publication in the country of origin, i.e. first U.S. publication for an American book, first U.K. publication for British books, etc. In cases where a date is not known or is not available, asterisks (**~) or question marks (1) have been inserted instead. Along with dates of publication are abbreviations indicating the type of book: coll: collected, repr: reprinted, ed: edited, tr: translated, retr: retranslated, rev: revised, exp: expanded, pub: published, orig: original.

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