The “Colecção Vampiro”, published from 1947 by Editora Livros do Brasil, in Lisbon, was one of the very fist series of Crime Fiction paperbacks in Portuguese. It was certainly the most popular. The “Masters of detective fiction” published there showed a large emphasis on English and American authors. The notoriety of the authors seemed of rather more importance than a clear definition of the sub-genre of crime Fiction the books pertained to. Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers appeared alongside Hammett and Chandler; Wallace with Simenon; Van Dine with Ellery Queen. The latter, and the likes of Erle Stanley Gardner were the most represented. While a close contemporary of Gallimard’s “Série Noire” (created in 1945) Vampiro was editorially much closer to Le Masque (Librarie des Champs Elysées, 1927). Vampiro favoured novels of deduction and investigation over hardboiled noir.
The first book published in the series (April 1947) was Poirot desvenda o passado Christie’s Five Little Pigs, translated by Edson Ferreira Santo. The second was, the next month, O Mistério dos Fósforos Queimados, Ellery Queen’s Halfway House (1936). All of the 112 first Vampiro book covers were illustrated by surrealist artist Cândido Costa Pinto (1911-1976). He certainly did a lot for the enduring popularity of this series. So did the quality of the selection of texts published there. Nearly all of them deserve to be considered classics in the Crime genre. Among them are, notably, Hammett’s O Falcão de Malta, (The Maltese Falco, Volume 34) A Chave de Vidro (The Glass Key, Volume 47), “Estranha Maldição” (The Dain Curse, Volume 64), and O Homem Sombra” (The Thin Man, Volume 152)
For more information on Vampiro, check out two great blogs : http://policiariodebolso.blogspot.co.uk