Home | Authors | Characters Crime Fiction ABC: Authors, Books and Characters About | Links | Contact

On this page


This page lists books about the artwork used in crime fiction books.


Artwork books

Hardboiled America: Lurid Years of Paperbacks

Geoffrey O'Brien

Van Nostrand Reinhold


An expanded edition was published by Da Capo Press in 1997 with the title Hardboiled America: Lurid Paperbacks And The Masters Of Noir.

"Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, David Goodis … these are a few of the masters of noir responsible for the great lurid paperbacks of the thirties, forties, and fifties. With titles like The Big Sleep, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, and Street of the Lost, with racy cover lines like "My gun-butt smashed his skull!" and "Ruthless terror ripped away the mask that hid cold fear," and with some of the most extraordinary cover illustrations ever to grace American literature, these paperbacks held the ingredients of American nightmares. In Harboiled America—lavishly illustrated with 135 paperback covers, and expanded with new material on Thompson, Goodis, and others—Geoffrey O'Brien masterfully explores the art, history, and ideas of the American paperback."

Buy from amazon.co.uk


Agatha Christie: The Art of Her Crimes

The Painting Of Tom Adams

Commentary: Julian Symons

Introduction: John Fowles

Everest House


Buy from amazon.co.uk


Paperbacks USA: A Graphic History, 1939-1959

Piet Schreuders

Blue Dolphin Enterprises


This heavily illustrated survey of USA paperback cover art includes many crime related book covers.

The contents are:

  • European Prelude
  • American Prelude
  • Pocket Books 1939-1959
  • Avon Books 1941-1959
  • Penguin Books 1941-1948
  • Books in Wartime 1941-1947
  • Popular Library 1943-1959
  • Dell Books 1943-1959
  • Bantam Books 1945-1959
  • Signet books 1948-1959
  • Graphic, Checker, Pyramid, Lion, Fawcett, Ballantine, Ace and Berkley
  • The Distribution of Paperbacks in America
  • Paperback Covers: A Few Generalizations / A Few Particulars
  • Art Directors
  • How Are Covers Produced?
  • Artistic Influences
  • Recognition of Cover Artists
  • The Artists Speak
  • Appendix: Year by Year
  • Appendix: Overview of American Paperback Publishers
  • Appendix: The First Hundred
  • Appendix: From Avati to Zuckerberg: Who's Who in Cover Art
  • Appendix: Collecting Paperbacks
  • Bibliography
Buy from amazon.co.uk


Artists in Crime: Illustrated Survey of Crime Fiction First Edition Dust Wrappers, 1920-70

John Cooper & B.A. Pike

Scolar Press


"A nostalgic survey of the artwork of detective fiction outwrappers of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. It offers full descriptions of each wrapper; dates and credits of the publishers and artists (if known). A range of famous detective writers and their styles are featured, along with their detectives."
Buy from amazon.co.uk


The Art of the Pulps

F. Paul Wilson

IDW Publishing


"Experts in the ten major Pulp genres, from action Pulps to spicy Pulps and more, chart for the first time the complete history of Pulp magazines--the stories and their writers, the graphics and their artists, and, of course, the publishers, their market, and readers. Each chapter in the book, which is illustrated with more than 400 examples of the best Pulp graphics (many from the editors' collections - among the world's largest) is organized in a clear and accessible way, starting with an introductory overview of the genre, followed by a selection of the best covers and interior graphics, organized chronologically through the chapter. All images are fully captioned (many are in essence "nutshell" histories in themselves) .... With an overall introduction on "The Birth of the Pulps" by Doug Ellis, and with two additional chapters focusing on the great Pulp writers and the great Pulp artists, The Art of the Pulps covers every aspect of this fascinating genre; it is the first definitive visual history of the Pulps"
Buy from amazon.co.uk


Last updated May 2018