Monday, September 26, 2016
The First Crime Writers You Read
I have told the story of finding a table full of Agatha's on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ about 1968. Phil and I sat in the ocean on low chairs reading them one after another. So Christie was my first venture in crime fiction after the ones for kids. And after her, I read Ruth Rendell, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, John D. Macdonald, Ross Macdonald, Margaret Millar, Sjowal and Wahloo, Nicholas Freeling, Rex Stout, Emma Lathen, Patricia Moyes and so on.
Every once in a while, someone online talks about their early reading and I realize there were many writers I never touched. I never read Erle Stanley Gardner, Ellery Queen, Mickey Spillane, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Horace McCoy and so many more.
Why? Well basically I read what my library bought. (It was a very long time before I bought many books other than those at used book sales). And I doubt my libraries bought any fiction that was not published in hardback. Or anything too violent. That would eliminate the writers found on spinner racks. If I opened a book and it seemed too male-oriented I probably didn't read it either. Unlike Megan, I was not particular attracted to the more noirish stories. But soon I also wasn't attracted to cozies. I fell somewhere in between. Ruth Rendell would probably sum me up.
A long way of getting to my question: who were the first adult crime fiction writers you read?