Jonathan Latimer, Red Gardenias, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1939
The Doubleday Crime Club was one of the most famous Crime Series. It started in 1928 and thus was an exact contemporary to European Series Le Masque (Librairie des Champs Elysées) and Giallo Mondadori . Like both Le Masque, in France and Giallo, in Italy, it went on to publish well over 2000 titles, over more than six decades. It found immediate success, thanks to the popularity of Edgar Wallace’s books, which it introduced in America and of which it sold 5 millions in its first year. The Series rank among the most beautifully designed editions of Crime Fiction hardbacks.
The Series was a firm promoter of the mystery novel and of classic detective fiction. An Article in Publisher’s Weekly (February 1941) was titled ” Just Mysteries, and Proud of it !”. It could have served to sum the editorial policy. It stressed, contrary to Chandler’s “Simple art of Murder” which had been published just months before, and with little recognition for Hammett, which it unfavourably alluded to, that ” confirmed Scotland Yard chess-puzzle mystery readers […] will have none of your “Thin Man” stuff”.
Anthony Berkeley (Anthony Berkeley Cox), The Silk Stocking Murders, New York, Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1928
It might then appear as a surprise to find that Doubleday Crime Club still published from 1935 to 1939 several novels by hardboiled author Jonathan Latimer (1906-1983). The novels feature alcoholic private eye Bill Crane who, as a critic pointed out, does most of his detecting “in a giddy, stuporous fog”.
Jonathan Latimer, Headed for a Hearse. Garden City, NY, Doubleday, Doran, The Crime Club, 1935.
The title page for Headed for a Hearse presented the novel thus : “With the aid of a lime squeezer, a monkey wrench, a stop watch, and a deep-sea diver, Bill Crane saves an innocent man from the gallows”.
Jonathan Latimer, The Lady in the Morgue, Garden City NY, Doubleday, Doran & Co. for the Crime Club, 1936, 1st