Internationalisation and Criminalisation in Germany : The Goldmann’s Roman-Bibliothek

Goldmann 35

Leipzig publisher Wilhelm Goldmann started in 1935  the series “Goldmanns Roman-Bibliothek”.  Agatha Christie was published there from  1935 : Nikotin (1935), Ein Schritt ins Leere (1935).  More than its more ancient competitor the Gelbe Reihe (Ullstein), this series shows the  increasing importance of translations, alongside German original editions. Going hand in hand  with this process of internationalisation, the series shows a progressive focalisation on Crime Fiction, and a tendency towards a replacement of  adventure novels with Crime novels.


The authors  most frequently published in the Goldmanns Roman-Bibliothek are British Mysteries writer Herbert Adams (9 books published  here);   Ferry Rocker (7), a German author of detection novels under pseudonym; Charles Alden Seltzer (7), the American author of Western novels and frequent contributor to  the pulp magazine Argosy;  Agatha Christie (5);  and many more with three books or less.

In the case of Ferry Rocker, the use of a pseudonym owes rather less to the fad for British Crime novels, and rather more to politics. It served to conceal the left-wing journalist and satirist “Hardy” (Eberhard Friedrich) Worm (1896 -1973), who had been banned by the Nazis and left Germany. He wrote crime novels  in his Exile, first in France, then in London (from 1940 to 1945), and some of them are set in France and in England. The following were published before the War under the name Ferry Rocker in the Goldmann’s Roman-Bibliothek”.

John Kennedys Gäste, Bern, Goldmann, 1936

Schatten über Haus Fleury, Bern, Goldmann, 1936

Das Geheimnis des Turmes, Bern, Goldmann, 1936

Schüsse im Quartier Latin, Bern, Goldmann, 1937

Mord in Kensington, Leipzig, Goldmann, 1937

In einer Nebelnacht, Bern, Goldmann, 1937

Die Entscheidung am Kreuzweg, Leipzig, Goldmann, 1939

Un delitto a Kensington was published in Milano (Ed. Minerva, in 1938). His crime novel Schatten über Haus Fleury (Goldmann, 1936) was translated as Le Secret du tronc d’arbre and published in Paris in 1943 in Tallandier’s second (and ephemeral) “Le Lynx  series. It is the Series number 1, but apparently only two books were ever published there.


(With thanks to Philippe Aurousseau)

The  literary series “Goldmanns Roman-Bibliothek” is the foundation for one of the most successful Crime Fiction series in paperback, Goldmann’s Taschenbuch (from 1952), which would keep the red colour for its covers.

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