The beauty of International Crime Fiction Cover Art


Cornell Woolrich, The black path of fear,  The Crime Club, Doubleday, Doran, 1944

The Big data approach and instruments,  which inform this blog, do not only allow to study globally a population of  popular writers  who, in an international effort and over many decades invented Crime fiction.  It  also helps to envision the books they produced in a material way, in their condition as objects, commodities and fetishes. The  juxtaposition of hundreds of book covers from different countries reveals their semiotics,    with their recurring motifs and their serial patterns.   Books covers can thus be read  as sites where developments in international cultural industries, the specialisation of narrative genres, the publishers’ distinctive strategies and the evolution of popular representations and tastes all  intersect.  The  available metadata linked with each cover also recalls  that Crime Fiction series fostered some of  the past  century’s greatest artists.  This post  displays  a very short selection of some Crime Fiction cover art, as milestones in a cultural history of the international imagination of crime, and its visualisation.

Poe rua-morgue

 Marcel Allain_ Vamps, Ed_ des Loisirs 1938


Chateau Noir

Chez Krupp

Baudinière coll la tache de sang 1939 claudel


requiemMcShade Crof por

RedHarvest Firstedition Knopff1929

Steeman Bernard

Christie 10 petits

Wallace Red Aces



Fair Vampiro

A. A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner, 1889-1970), Cuidado Com a Curvas  (Beware The Curves, 1956);  Vampiro,  Vol 170, 1961, Cover Art :  Lima de Freitas (1927-1998)

Further Reading :  Joseph H. Hancock, Toni Johnson-Woods, Vicki Karaminas, Fashion in Popular Culture: Literature, Media and Contemporary Studies, Intellect, 2013

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