Yellow Jackets

Scarlet P

A direct predecessor of  “Le Masque”‘s and “Giallo” Mondadori’s distinctive yellow covers, Hodder & Stoughton’s “Yellow jackets” series  published crime fiction, from 1926 and throughout the 1930’s. Crime  thrillers by popular authors such as Edgar Wallace and John Buchan were published there . So were, from 1928, those by Leslie Charteris: this is where all fifty novels in “The Saint” series were published.

Enter TS

Making the link between the original 19th Century railway Library “Yellowbacks” and the fad for giallo (yellow becoming -before noir,  the colour of crime fiction) all over Europe, this series of  bestsellers  anticipate crime fiction paperbacks. While this particular series found an end in the late 1930.s, a new yellow Series was launched in 1949 with the same publisher.

 Wallac        Ringer

Alias       Enter


 Amongst the successful books published there were the Bull-Dog Drummond right-wing thrillers (in this case this is more of an understatement than a pleonasm) by Sapper (Cyril McNeile, 1888 – 1937)


Authors such as Wallace, Freeman, Oppenheim,and Mason would form part of a canon of books to be published under yellow covers across Europe in the following decade.




  1. I thought the Italian giallos were the first, but it turns out they were the last to jump on the bandwagon. Still, all appeared in the 1920s and I think Italian crime fiction is still called giallos although the covers have changed now.


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