Review by Choice Review
The two-volume encyclopedia covers all subgenres of British crime fiction from detection, thriller, and espionage to noir, true crime, romance, and humor, beginning with Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens and extending to the current police procedurals of John Connor and Mark Billingham and the Prime Suspect television series. The approximately 500 entries are contributed by experts, including major British crime writers, reviewers, and editors. The lengthy entries focus on fiction authors, crime films and television series, magazines, genres, and a few famous literary characters (e.g., Poirot, Miss Marple, James Bond, Inspector Morse, Adam Dalgliesh). Careful critical analysis combines with detailed biographical or historical information and the placement of the figure or topic within the context of British crime literature. Many author photos are included, along with a fine introduction. Forshaw edits the fiction review Crime Time and is the author of The Rough Guide to Crime Fiction (2007) and Italian Cinema: Arthouse to Exploitation (2006). The value of this encyclopedia is in the insight provided by the contributors. The facts can be found in other compilations, such as Gale's two volumes titled British Mystery Writers, ed. by B. Benstock and T. F. Staley (1860-1919, 1988; 1920-1939, 1989); the third volume, British Mystery and Thriller Writers since 1940 (1989); The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing, ed. by R. Herbert et al. (CH, Jul'00, 37-5996); and The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction, ed. by M. Priestman (CH, Jun'04, 41-5748). More entries on specific fictional characters would have enhanced the compilation. This encyclopedia should be an attractive, useful addition to public and academic libraries. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. J. A. Adams-Volpe University at Buffalo, SUNY
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
In a study of one of the most enduring and popular genres of the twentieth century, Forshaw reaches back into British crime-writing's history and includes early authors such as Charles Dickens and Conan Doyle, as well as current stars such as Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith, and Ian Rankin. Coverage also extends to a few American writers because of their British connections, like Raymond Chandler. Individual entries are organized alphabetically, and most entries focus on authors, providing biographical information along with short summaries of best-known or award-winning works. Because of space constraints, full bibliographies are not included, just a selection of titles and original publication dates. Several entries are dedicated to films and TV shows such as Prime Suspect and Wire in the Blood, which is based on Val McDermid's Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. Most author and film and television entries are approximately one page in length. Some of the subject-oriented entries, like Academe, death in; Pulp; and Women writers, are several pages long. These entries will be especially useful to librarians trying to learn about the crime genre, as they describe subgenres like Police procedurals in great depth, with sections on history, development, and famous authors. A few well-known characters for example, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot also warrant individual entries. This in-depth study of British crime writing will be useful to scholars and serious fans and may be of use to readers' advisors working with large crime collections or dedicated crime readers. Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Forshaw (Rough Guide to Crime Fiction) has assembled a good-sized team of contributors-including some of Britain's leading crime writers-to provide about 475 authoritative entries on British crime writers, magazines, and films, as well as major British fictional detectives such as Holmes and Marple and topics like "thrillers" and "tart noir." The signed entries average about 1200 words in length and include lists of selected works by the authors and their web sites if available. There's only one drawback: granted that crime writers commonly use a variety of pseudonyms, it is regrettable that a decision was made to list only "selected" works of the authors covered and to list so few secondary sources. Bottom Line This is the most comprehensive overview available of British crime writing. While other works provide longer articles and include international authors-two examples come to mind, Scribner's Mystery & Suspense Writers and Gale's massive Dictionary of Literary Biography-their focus isn't contemporary British writing, as is the case here.-Peter Dollard, Mt. Pleasant, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.