Detective Fiction

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Rare and collectable Detective Fiction titles, including first editions and other significant editions, often with striking dust-jackets. Authors ranging from the obscure, the pseudonymous and the classic, such as Agatha Christie, with titles from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction and beyond.


First edition, inscribed by the author on the frontispiece.
London. Lincoln Williams, 1935
According to the Bear Alley blog the book is listed in the English Catalogue of Books as having appeared in February 1935 and it was listed under the pen-name "Trill". The publisher Lincoln Williams went into administration in July 1935 so the book probably wasn’t reprinted. Trill was a pen name for Harry C. Liebart according to Hubin. Very scarce in a jacket.

Detective Fiction

[anon.] Maria Marten


or, The Murder in the Red Barn
London, John Lane The Bodley Head, 1943.

Second edition thus, reprint. 8vo. Original pictorial wrappers.

A modern rendering of the popular 19th-century melodrama relating to a high-profile murder case of 1827. Here with an introduction by the playwright Montagu Slater, famous for his work with Benjamin Britten.


London, Drane's, [1924].

First edition. 8vo. Original green boards. Dust-jacket, priced 6/-.

An uncommon first edition of this collection published by an uncommon imprint. Many of the tales revolve around a consulting detective agency in Calcutta, as in the author's coeval work Benjamin & Co., and despite a tendency towards some rather "old school" jingoism and misogyny do include some rather wonderfully evocative sketches of colonial life in India.

Detective Fiction

Adams (Herbert) Welcome Home


London, Philip Macdonald, 1956.

First edition. 8vo. Original black cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 8/6.

A very good first edition, featuring the author's second major series character, Roger Bennion.


London, Heinemann, 1937.

First edition. 8vo. Original black cloth lettered in gilt to spine. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7/6.

Excellent jacket artwork by the always fantastic Youngman Carter (Allingham's husband) graces this the eighth Campion title by Margery Allingham. A scarce and important first edition in the crime fiction canon.


London, Heinemann, 1938.

'Cheap Edition', second impression. 8vo. Original black cloth lettered in green. Dust-jacket, priced 2.6.

An early printing of the sixth novel with the mysterious Albert Campion, aided by his policeman friend Stanislaus Oates.


London, Stanley Paul, 1927.

First edition, first impression. 8vo. Advertisements. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7/6.

Detective fiction with spy thriller overtones, courtesy of Anglo-Canadian author 'Anthony Armstrong' - striking jacket artwork; scarce.


First edition.
London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1935.

Features series character Spike Tracey who is studying the local paper for promising openings in crime when one literally blows in on his doorstep. Rare in wrapper especially one as good as this.


First edition.
London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1933.

When the dignified life of Steven Kester came to an undignified end there were several people with potential motives. Serial character Spike Tracy acts as detective and solves the mystery. Rare in d/w.


A Series of Reminiscences and Adventures in Many Lands
London, Hurst & Blackett, [1926].

First edition. Large 8vo. Plates. Original red cloth lettered & ruled in black. Dust-jacket, early issue, with '1st Cheap Edition' and 2/6 to the spine.

An excellent copy of this compilation of nine stories by Ashton-Wolfe, drawing upon his years immersed in the world of crime, first as an assistant to Alphonse Bertillon, the great advocate of criminal anthropometrics, in Paris, then as an interpreter in the British law courts. The striking jacket artwork is by Hookway Cowles.


New Stories of Murder and Mystery
New York, Charles Scribners, 1928.

First US edition. 8vo. Original pictorial orange cloth. Dust-jacket, price-clipped.

One of several anthologies compiled by the writer and socialite Lady Cynthia Asquith, herself known as an author of ghost stories. Uncommon in the original dust-jacket.


London, The Readers Library, n.d. [1933].

First edition thus. Small 8vo. 2pp. advertisements. Original cloth, gilt. Dust-jacket, adverts printed to reverse.

An attractive pre-war edition, in good jacket.


London, Gollancz, 1936.

First edition. 8vo. Original black cloth. Dust-jacket, priced 7/6.

A collection of six stories showcasing the forensic talents of feature cases of Mr. Reggie Fortune, a surgeon working for Scotland Yard.


London, Ward Lock, 1929.

First edition. 8vo. Original green cloth. Dust-jacket.

An uncommon first edition, featuring Bailey's serial character the surgeon Mr Fortune.


London, Gollancz, 1939.

First edition. 8vo. Original black cloth lettered in red. Dust-jacket, priced 7/6.

Joshua Clunk makes his full-length novel debut in this work, having appeared previously in short stories only. The work also features a cameo by Bailey's other recurring character, Reggie Fortune.


and other Tales of Adventure
London, Hodder & Stoughton, n.d. [c.1930].

Early edition. 8vo. Original red decorative cloth. Dust-jacket, no price.

A lovely copy of this compilation of stories by American novelist, playwright, and Olympic water polo player Rex Beach.


London, Peter Davies, 1935.

First edition. 8vo. Original tan cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7/6.

The Ventriloquist, by E. Belasyse, is a much better crime story. It is written with a commendable simplicity, for one thing. If it is a first novel, it is unusually well planned and executed. The people are real." (Illustrated London News, vol.187).


London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1960.

First edition. 8vo. Original green boards. Dust-jacket, price-clipped.

A very good first edition of this later title by one of the co-founders of the Crime Writers' Association.

Detective Fiction

Bell (Josephine) Easy Prey


London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1959.

First edition. 8vo. Original cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 12s.6d.

A couple discover that their child-sitter served a prison sentence for child murder, something they cannot square with the individual in question, sparking their own investigation and the unravelling of some strange secrets.


London, John Gifford, 1961.

First edition. Signed presentation copy from the author. 8vo. Original boards. Dust-jacket, priced 10s6d.

Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, 'To George, With remembrance of a loyal friendship and unfailing help, George Bellairs'. Attractive jacket artwork on this later Inspector Thomas Littlejohn novel.


early issue (stating 7th Thousand on title), some minor spotting, original red cloth, dust-jacket, some minor chipping to edges but overall a very good example, publisher's price sticker on spine, 8vo, Skeffington, [c.1930].


London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1933.

First edition, first impression. 8vo. Original blue cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7/6.

One of the harder Berkeley first editions to find in the original, correctly priced jacket, with the ominous hangman's gallows picked out against a black background - scarce in such condition.


London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1937

First edition. 8vo. 2pp. advertisements. Original green cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced at 7'6.

A game leads to theft and murder, leaving Detective-Inspector Richard Courtenay with a quandary ...who was 'King Oscar'? A very attractive dust-jacket.


London, Cassell, 1930.

First edition. 8vo. Original brown cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7/6.

The first UK edition of the fourth Charlie Chan book by Biggers, who set out to create a character that was the opposite of the 'yellow peril' portrayal of Orientals as villains that was the trend at the time. Uncommon in the dust-jacket.


London, Robert Hale, 1979.

First UK edition. 8vo. Original black boards. Dust-jacket, priced £3.95.

Harder-boiled than most, PI Matt Scudder gets to grips with a death of an unlikely couple in Greenwich Village.


London, Chatto & Windus, 1900.

First edition. 8vo. Original pictorial blue cloth stamped in orange and black.

A classic of crime fiction, Bodkin's first book to feature a lady detective and an important work in this collectable subgenre. In later works, Myrl married his other famous detective hero Paul Beck, the "Rule-of-Thumb" detective.


Translated by Geoffrey Sainsbury.
London, Hutchinson, 1956.

First UK edition. 8vo. Original red boards. Dust-jacket, priced 12/6 (i.e. second issue, with 10/6 clipped and 12/6 added).

First edition in English of this novel by Boileau & Narcejac, authors credited with creating an authentically French subgenre of crime fiction. Famously the basis for the 1958 Hitchcock film Vertigo, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.


London, John Long, 1939.

First edition. 8vo. Original green boards. Dust-jacket, with publisher's price sticker 7/6.

Extremely uncommon Hubin-listed title, in excellent dust-jacket. Seemingly the only criminous novel by the author.


London, Pawling and Ness Ltd., 1934.

First edition, first impression. 8vo. 1p. advertisements. Original red cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced at 3/6.

A rare title in the jacket: "The author served his apprenticeship to fiction in the highly imaginative school of boys' papers, and was for a time associated with the late Edgar Wallace." (jacket blurb)


London, G. Bell, 1935.

First UK edition. 8vo. Original red cloth. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7s6d.

Compelling Bip Pares artwork graces this detective fiction title by American author Dorothea Brady, recounting the experiences of three artists commissioned to portray a wealthy Frenchman's beautiful wife.


(A Detective-Inspector McCarthy Yarn). First Edition. Wright & Brown, n.d. [c.1941].


First edition, in early (1928) jacket.
London. Collins, 1924
Author’s debut novel and the first to feature Colonel Gore. This and other books in the series are noted for their intricate plots.


Poison in Africa
London, Ernest Benn, 1930.

First edition. 8vo. Original off-white boards. Dust-jacket, priced 7/6.

Uncommon murder mystery set in Africa and involving poison. Adam Broome was a pseudonym of Godfrey Warden James, born 1888. He had two series characters Inspector Bramley and Commissioner Denzil Grison, whose stories are set in Africa.

Detective Fiction

Brown (Alec) A Time to Kill.


First edition.
London. Cape, 1930
Contains two short novels both with murder at their core. Rare in dust-jacket.


London, Peter Davies, 1960.

First edition. 8vo. Original green boards. Dust-jacket, priced 13s6d.

Ace private detective Carolus Deene is on the case in the village of Gladhurst.


London, Cassell, 1928.

First UK edition. 8vo. Original green cloth lettered in gilt. Dust-jacket, correctly priced 7/6.

The first UK edition of this particular compilation of short stories by Limehouse Nights author Thomas Burke. Set in the bustling streets and alleys of London's East End, the book offers a vivid and often dismal portrayal of life in one of the city's most diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods. Distinctly uncommon in the jacket.