Encyclopedia Mysteriosa: A Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Detection in Print, Film, Radio, and Television Paperback – May 1997
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While it would be impossible for one volume to reference every interesting piece of trivia in the world of mysteries (after all, that's what they make computers for), William DeAndrea has captured most of the key writers, character, movies, TV series, and books in this 1994 Edgar-winning volume. The alphabetical entries often include lengthy lists of books or movies and their publication/release dates--a bonus for completists looking for forgotten Nero Wolfe tales or classic noir films to rent. Some entries, like that for "The A-Team" are tongue-in-cheek: "characters used what critic Ric Meyers has called 'antineutron bullets'--they destroy property for miles around, but never harm a human being." As an added bonus, DeAndrea has included 11 extended essays on historically vital issues like dime novels, pulps, Sherlockiana, and even The Batman. The book closes with a listing of mystery bookstores, organizations and awards, magazines, and a glossary for those of us who forgot what an "Inverted Detective Story" or a "McGuffin" was. --Patrick O'Kelley
This volume by Edgar Award winner DeAndrea covers mystery writers, actors, characters, novels, films, and TV and radio shows in a single A-to-Z arrangement. He says there hasn't been a comprehensive study of the entire genre for the general reader since the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection (1975). Entries vary from a few lines to six pages. Eleven signed inserts of two to three pages each highlight such topics as Batman, Dime Novels, and Dick Tracy. These essays are easily found thanks to their listing in the table of contents. Completeing the work are lists of mystery bookstores in the U.S., Canada, and England; organizations and awards; mystery magazines; and a mystery-related glossary. Cross-references abound, keeping a mystery fan following the ties between writers and characters. Important characters merit separate entries with a list of the novels in which they appear. An author's nonseries books are listed under the author's entry. Illustrations consist of black-and-white movie stills and portraits of authors.
DeAndrea claims that "it is simply not possible to include every mystery author and mystery movie ever made," yet the subtitle claims this a comprehensive work. Tom Clancy and critic Jacques Barzun rate entries but not John Grisham, Margaret Truman, Elliott Roosevelt, Sharyn McCrumb, Rochelle Majer Krich, Gillian Roberts, or Sarah Shankman to name a few (and so many of them female!). The A-Team, L.A. Law, and Batman appear but not NYPD Blue, Cops, or The Green Hornet. Anne Perry's entry omits her William Monk series. Anthony Award winners are not listed.
On the other hand, since mystery readers usually like to read all the novels featuring their favorite character, the lists after these entries will prove useful in answering reader's advisor queries. Let your mystery readers know it's available for browsing. If you have legions of mystery buffs and your budget allows, consider a circulating copy as well. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As somewhat of a newcomer to mystery fiction, I'd like to have seen entries on the various plot devices and motifs of mystery fiction. I looked in vain for entries on such subjects as "drawing room mystery," "locked room mystery," "fair-play mystery," and numerous others. The work discusses all these subjects in the context of entries on authors, books, and shows, but you have to search to learn about them.
The encyclopedia does have several sidebars (set off in borders) on such subjects as "hard boiled detectives," "dime novels," "Sherlockiana," and the like. The sidebars are well done, but I'd like to have seen more.
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