Created in the early 1950’s, the series of mass market paperback books Ullstein-Büchern, started in the mid 1950’s to offer a subdivision devoted to Crime Fiction, the Ullstein-Bücher Kriminalromane. This series had different numbers than the rest of the Ullstein- books, to differentiate them from the general series (Allgemeine Reihe). It started at number 701. Further differentiation, the big K on the title banner stands for Krimi. This is the mid and late 1950’s, and American authors are now predominant, in stark contrast to the original Ullstein Gelbe Reihe in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. A canonisation of the noir genre has happened elsewhere, and Ullstein books reflect this. The two first books published as Ullstein-Bücher Kriminalromane are Hammett (Der Malteser Falke) and Chandler (Einer weisst mehr). Hammett’s Bluternte is the sixth volume in the series.
Certainly, The Maltese Falcon had already been published in Hamburg, in the Albatross series, in 1932. A German edition, translated by Peter Fischer was published in Nürnberg (Nest-Verlag) in 1951 ( Krähen-Bücher). Ullstein published this translation first in its literary series, where it carries the number 57, in 1955.
The biggest contributors, in numbers, are the same as in other European Series at the same time. Erle Stanley Gardner, by far the most prolific, followed by Chase, Brown, Stout, but also McBain, Queen and Spillane.
There are many German Authors, too, in that series. Among them, the prolific Frank Arnau (Heinrich Schmitt, Vienna, 1894 – Munich, 1976) , who had lived in Exile in France and Brazil during the National Socialist Dictatorship in Germany and until 1955. The president of the German league for human rights, he had published in 1934 a novel Die braune Pest (The Brown Plague) which described the ascent of the Nazi Party.