Murder in the Library: The Crime Mags

Non-Fiction in a Periodical Vein

Yeah, it’s obvious that not all these print magazines are exclusively non-fiction. Most of them have, will or are willing to include the occasional bit of fiction alongside the usual non-fiction news, views, reviews and interviews, so there’s bound to be some cross-over with the magazines listed on Murder in the Library: The Post-Pulp Digests, Mystery Magazines, Ezines & More. The primary focus and forté of those included here, though, is non-fiction.

Titles in red are no longer being published physically, although many hang on (and on and on… and some even thrive) as newsletters, blogs and web sites. So if it’s red it’s dead, but if it’s brown, it’s still around. 

 

  • The Armchair Detective | Print (Defunct)
    (1967-97)
    119 issues

    Editors: Allen J. Hubin, Michael Seidman, Otto Penzler, Kate Stine
    Non-fiction contributors:
    Bill Pronzini, Jon L. Breen, Jacques Barzun, William DeAndrea, Robert E. Briney, Francis M. Nevins, Jr., Edward D. Hoch, Allen J. Hubin
    Fiction contributors:Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Bloch, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Charles McCarry, Jerome Charyn, Joe Gores, Jonathan Valin, Dick Lochte, Jonathan Kellerman, George Baxt, Michael Z. Lewin
    This late and lamented quarterly print magazine on mystery & detective fiction featuring articles, essays, columns, commentary, reviews, checklists, bibliographies, interviews with authors, bibliographical material and even, occasionally, fiction, both classic reprints and original material. In those pre-internet days, this was heady and groundbeaking stuff, and remains, in my own humble opinion, the standard by which all other non-fiction mags on this genre of ours is judged. It was started by the legendary crime fan and bibliographer Allen J. Hubin. It started off in 1967 as a mimeographed newsletter by Allen J. Hubin, spent a few years under the sonsorship of the University of California, and eventually found a home with Otto Penzler, as part of his Mysterious Press. By 1978, it had morphed into a slick, widely distributed magazine, featuring material by numerous experts and uber-fans of the genre. The journal of record for the entire genre. A bit stodgy at times, and it was usually out of date by the time it finally came out, but back issues are well worh hunting down. It’s still recommended, and it is still missed.
    And it should be noted that its last editor, Kate Stine, moved on to helm Mystery Scene.
  • bare • bones | Print (defunct) | Digital | Active
    (1999– )
    Editors: 
    Peter Enfantino, John Scoleri
    Contributors: Bill Crider, Jack Seabrook, Jose Cruz
    Noir, noir, noir… Well, some, anyway. Also crime & detective stuff, some horror, pulps, comics, TV and film. It turns out this beloved (if erratic) print digest was mostly non-fiction. It continued for a while as an annual anthology, and died somewhere around 1999, although back issues may still be available. But it rose from the ashes to become an e-zine, offering the same irreverent reviews and commentary  on everything from comics to you’ve come to expect from us.
  • CADS | Print | Active
    (1985-2019, U.K.)
    E-mail: Geoffcads@aol.com
    Editor/Publisher: Geoff Bradley
    An “irregular magazine of comment and criticism about crime and detective fiction,” this long-running British crime mag, edited by our pal Geoff Bradley is unapologetically old school. Subscription information seems to be on a “need to know” basis, and it doesn’t even have a web site. Any subscriptions enquiries should be addressed via email to Geoff.
  • Clues, A Journal of Detection | Print | Active
    (1980-2001; 2004 –)

    Publisher: McFarland & Co, Jefferson, NC
    Founded in 1980 and originally published by Bowling Green State University, this peer-reviewed, bi-annual is the go-to place for heavy-duty scholarly research on detective fiction, with the occasional book review thrown in. Available by subscription only, many of the original articles were from the Popular Culture Society conferences, and believe me, those guys take their detective fiction very seriously, indeed. Too seriously, sometimes, But overall, the journal is excellent, a heady brew of academic essays and nonfiction book reviews, covering all aspects of mystery and detective fiction material in print, television, and movies. Alas, the original run ended in 2001, but the journal was mercifully revived in 2004, after Elizabeth Foxwell spearheaded its acquisition from Bowling Green State University, and now proudly bills itself as “the only U.S. scholarly journal on mystery and detective fiction.”
  • Crime Factory | Print (Defunct)
    (2001-03; 2010–)

    Founding editor: David Honeybone
    Excellent but short-lived Australian crime mag was firmly rooted down under, but kept an eye on the world. In its reviews, articles and fiction. Over the course of nine issues, the print-only magazine was sold by subscription all over the world and could be also found in select indie bookshops. Honeybone pulled the plug in 2003 and the Factory gathered dust until 2010, when original contributor and Honeybone-conspirator Cameron Ashley, along with Liam José and Keith Rawson, relaunched the zine as a short-lived online PDF.
  • CrimeSpree | Print
    (2004-19)
    Bi-monthly
    E-mail: info@crimespreemag.com
    Publishers and editors: Jon and Ruth Jordan
    Fiction editor: Jennifer Jordan
    Entertainment editor: Jeremy Lynch
    Contributors: Sarah Weinman, Ali Karim, Ayo (ola) Onatade, Dave Biemann, Annie Chernow, Thalia Proctor, Joe Lemmer, Mary Reagan, Kelli Ketterling
    A bi-monthly, scruffy and passionate, covering crime fiction in all its guises. That chip on its shoulder ain’t a bug — that’s a feature!
  • CrimeTime | Print | Defunct | Newsletter, Web Site | Active
    (1999- 2008)
    Editor: Barry Forshaw
    Slick, well-produced, opionated, professional British crime mag, with a definite slant towards the harder edge of the spectrum. Coverage of hardboiled fiction, films, television, etc., from the U.K., Europe, the States and everywhere else. Not for pussies. Early Thrilling Detective Web Site contributor and supporter Peter Walker was also a regular contributor to Crime Time. The print edition ceased publication in 2008, and Crimetime has since continued as a web site and newsletter only.
  • Deadly Pleasures | Print | Defunct?
    Quarterly
    Editor/Publisher: George Easter
    “America’s premier fan-oriented mystery magazine. In it and on this site we celebrate all that is good about the mystery genre AND point you to the best in crime fiction.” A much loved publication, but it’s apparently defunct. Last issue was in 2016. But it was an excellent publication with great over-all coverage of the genre, complete with interviews, reviews and general information. They also bestowed the annual Barry Awards, which were chosen by subscribers to the magazine and by visitors to its web site.
  • The Drood Review | Print | Active
    Editor: Jim Huang
    E-mail: 73717.663@compuserve.com
    The Drood Review offers in-depth, well-written reviews of recent mysteries and lists of immediately forthcoming titles. Each issue, about 20+ new titles are reviewed and about 250 new titles are listed.
  • Hard-Boiled Dicks | Print | Defunct
    (1980-89)

    Editor: Roger Martin
    This award-winning French language fanzine was a true labour of love, painstakingly put together by Roger Martin, a professor of literature, and a band of friends; devoted entirely to the mostly American noir fiction, past and present. Each of the 23 40-60 page issues focussed on one particular author, including interviews, bibliographies, critical overviews and other rare material; made all the more astounding considering this was all compiled in the pre-internet age of the 1980s. Among those caught in the spotlight were Martin H. Albert, Michael Collins, William C Gault, Joseph Hansen, Joe L. Hensley, Williams P. Mc Givern, Hillary Waugh, Richard Deming, Chester Himes, Don Tracy, Steve Marlowe, Richard Prather, Jean Sabran, Martin Brett, E. Richard Jonson, Wade Miller, Robert Finnegan, Joseph Wambaugh, Elmore Leonard, M.E. Chaber, Giorgio Scerbanenco and Manuel Vazquez Montalban. almost as fascinating as the material itself is what the French considered noir at a time when the term was rarely being used in North America. Now it’s almost ubiquitous, a sadly pointless term used to market everything from coffee and guns to lingerie and cheeseburgers.
  • Mean Streets | Print | Defunct
    (1990-95)
    Editor: Stuart Coupe
    Billed itself as “Australia’s premiere mystery journal.” Featured mostly non-fiction but usually had one or two stories per issue, several of them US reprints.
  • Mystery & Detective Monthly (MDM)Newsletter (Defunct)
    Editor: Cap’n Bob Napier
    Billed as “The Magazine of Great Letterature,” had some very interesting contributions. It consisted entirely of letters about mysterydom — books, writers, gossip, feuds, what-have-you. Edited by Cap’n Bob Napier, “word’s most loveable curmudgeon.” While Bob’s lovability may have been open to question, the letters were always a hoot. They were supposed to be about mystery fiction and the world of mystery in general, but they sometimes ranged pretty far afield. Apparently Bob was last lurking around DC pizza parlours…
  • Mystery Buff Magazine | Print (Defunct)
    Publisher: Felita Daniels
    Short-lived mag featured fiction, non-fiction, contests, news, gossip. Had a good website, too.
  • Mystery*File | Print | Defunct | Online | Very Active
    Online
    Editor: Steve Lewis
    Associate Editor: Allen J. Hubin
    It’s back… Steve Lewis has revived his much-loved and much-missed no-frills fanzine, Mystery*File, as an ongoing blog. For the most part it will still consist of reviews, commentary checklists and other matters of bibliographic interest to detective and mystery fans. And comments, which are certainly welcome. The original Mystery*File aspired to be “an up-to-date newsletter for the field, but a place where old and new works co-exist, where older mysteries can be brought up and discussed as well as those by the most recent hot authors, and where the careers of writers canbe looked at in perspective. Mystery*File will be for those fans who love to read and talk about mysteries and series characters, and those who love to make checklists and those who love to have them, and if you can assist in accomplishing any of these goals, then so much the better.” The blog has, so far, continued this legacy with style and pluck. Essential!
  • Mystery News | Print (Defunct)
    (1982-2009)
    Editors:
    Lynn Kaczmarek and Lynn Kaczmarek
    This much-loved and sorely missed tabloid, a long-time fan favourite and a mainstay at mystery conventions and all the cooler mystery bookstores, was founded in 1982 by Patricia and Jack Schnell, and was taken over by Harriet and Larry Stay in 1988. In 1997, Chris Aldrich and Lynn Kaczmarek revived it in 1997 under the banner of Black Raven Press. Its strength was its reviews and interviews, and was frequently nominated for awards. They gave it to you straight. Contributors included Chris Aldrich, Reed Andrus, Gary Niebuhr, Beth Fedyn, Frank Denton, Marv Lachman and Lynn Kaczmarek, and excellence abounded. It won the Anthony Award for Best Fan Publication at Bouchercon 2001; they were also nominated for Anthony Awards in 2004, 2006 and 2007. 
  • Mystery Readers Journal | Print | Active
    Quarterly

    Editor: Janet L. Rudolph
    Publisher: Mystery Readers International
    E-mail: whodunit@murderonthemenu.com
    The official publication of Mystery Readers International, the largest mystery fan/reader organization in the world. Published quarterly, open to all readers, fans, critics, editors, publishers, and writers of mysteries. Each Journal contains articles, reviews and author essays on a specific theme (New York mysteries, academic mysteries, etc.). , as well as special columns, a calendar of events, and other mystery related material, and run an average of 64 pages. Started and still edited by Janet A. Rudolph, it now has members in all 50 of the United States and in 22 foreign countries. Members vote each year to nominate and select the winners of the Macavity Award. In many areas, there are local chapters which hold “at homes” — intimate evenings with mystery writers, as well as classes and discussion groups. Covers the entire mystery genre. Check out their excellent website .
    WARNING: References may be made to cat mysteries in some issues.
  • Mystery Review: A Quarterly Publication For Mystery Readers | Print (Defunct)
    (1992-2003)
    Quarterly (well, d’uh!)
    Editor: Barbara Davey
    A classy Canadian quarterly, nicely-produced (overly-produced, maybe — do we really need all that white space?), focussing on (but not limited to) Canadian mystery writing. Reviews too frequently tended to the gosh, gee whiz sort, but over its eleven year run, it brought a touch of class to the mystery scene, and ran some damn fine non-fiction articles by regular contributors Rosie deShaw and David Skene Melvin.
  • Mystery Scene  | Print | Active Subscribe through Amazon
    (1985-)
    Current editors: Kate Stine and Brian Skupin
    Publishers: Kate Stine and Brian Skupin
    Founded by Robert Randisi and Ed Gorman (1985)
    Contributors include: Oline H. Cogdill, Lwrence Block, Ed Gorman, Jon L. Breen, Betty Webb, Tom Nolan, Dick Lochte, Joseph Goodrich, Louis Phillips, Bill Crider, Elizabeth Foxwell, Jake Hinkson, Kevin Burton Smith
    Founded in 1985 by Ed Gorman and Robert Randisi, Mystery Scene originally served as a sort of trade journal. In September 2002, Kate Stine and Brian Skupin took over the editorial and ownership chores, and slowly began reformatting the magazine and changing its focus, becoming and bills itself as “the oldest, largest, and most authoritative guide to the crime fiction genre.”  Currently published five times a year, it’s now pitched to mystery fans, aiming to both enlighten and entertain, covering not just books but films, television, blogs, websites and other media. They offer expert regular review coverage, as well as opinion pieces and essays by well-known authorities in various fields. Contributors include award-winning critics and experts on all sorts of crime fiction, as well as some of crime fiction’s best writers, editors, agents, booksellers, film and television directors and collectors. Regular contributors include Gary Phillips, Dick Lochte, Lawrence Block and some wiseass named Kevin Burton Smith. The magazine has won numerous awards, including the Anthony Award from the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention (2004), the Ellery Queen Award from Mystery Writers of America (2006), and the Poirot Award from the Malice Domestic Mystery Convention (2009).
  • Mystery Tribune | Print, Ezine | Active
    (2017–)
    Editor:
    Ehsan Ehsani
    Contributors: Brendan DuBois, Greg Herren, Max Allan Collins, Reed Farrel Coleman, Rob Hart
    A classy, arty quarterly dedicated to mystery and suspense, trying to take, I guess, a global approach (although all the addresses are PO boxes in the States, I suspect it may be beaming in from somewhere else — there are a few syntax hiccups that seem “foreign”). They publish a blend of short fiction, essays, art, and comics usually in 240-page print and digital formats. The editor’s also quick to assure me that they’re an an approved publisher of MWA and ITW, and that their issues are of “museum quality,” available at MoMa in New York or select specialty bookstores like Mysterious Bookshop in New York. My take? They’re legit, and the magazine certainly looks good (their covers are gorgeous!). No discernible advertising, although sometimes those can be half the fun in a mag like this.
  • The Mystery Writers Forum | Online | Active
    Just what it says. A forum for mystery writers.
  • Over My Dead Body | Print (Defunct) | Online | Active
    (1993–)

    Editor: Cherie Jung
    Contributors: C.J. Henderson, Jeffrey Marks, Bob Napier, Kris Neri, Kevin Burton Smith, David Firks, Anthony Neil Smith, Dan Crawford
    A class act, all the way, even if the slant is towards more traditional mysteries. At one time a quarterly, beautifully-printed, with great graphics, original fiction and excellent articles about the genre, and still running now as an e-zine of sorts, publishing reviews and occasional fiction. Encourages new authors, offers thoughtful critiques of their work.
  • The Rap Sheet | Online | Active 
    (1999–)
    Editor: J. Kingston Pierce
    Contributors: Sarah Weinman, Caroline Cummins, Karen G. Anderson, Jennifer Jordan, Anthony Rainone, Cindy Chow, Ali Karim, Kevin Burton Smith
    Not really a magazine at all, but an e-mail newsletter and eventually a blog, this offshoot of the online January Magazine literary site is nonetheless rapidly becoming one of the review sources of record in the crime fiction field, thanks to J. Kingston Pierce’s shrewd and tireless editorial hand, and its intelligent and perceptive reviews — far removed from the unfortunate fluffery of some other so-called “reviews” in other places. And I’d say that even if I wasn’t occasionally a contributor. Regular feastures include “Pierce’s Picks,” “New and Noteworty”, “In the News” (including, generously, articles of note in other magazines) and “Last Rewards,” a listing of current nominees and winners of mystery awards. You can view each month’s issue online, or subscribe for free, and have it delivered via e-mail.
  • Shots | Print (Defunct) | Online | Active 
    (formerly “A Shot in the Dark”)
    (1994–)
    Editors: Mike Stotter, Ali Karim
    You couldn’t kill this British crime mag with a stick — and you could certainly never outdrink the editorial staff. It was established in 1994 as a print quarterly, and has undergone several changes in its life. From rugged A5 to glossy A4 to, as of March 2002, an online e-zine. It humbly bills itself as “the Magazine for Crime & Mystery,” with news, columns, reviews, interviews, and a little bit of fiction. In their own words, they’re there for “crime fiction readers, though we try to cater for the viewers on the big and small screen, as well as those who have travelled beyond the role of mere readers to being specialist collectors and students.To a large extent we retain a critical stance, and are prepared to shout loudly when we feel that novels, authors and readers are not getting a fair deal. And we are not afraid to champion the underdog. We support and promote the smaller, independent publishers of the crime fiction titles.”
  • Suspense Magazine | Digital | Active
    (2007–)
    Contributors: D.P. Lyle, Peter Straub,  Jan Burke
    Started by us in 2007 as a print magazine, it has evolved into  a must-read e-zine, but its platform has remained constant: a place where “all authors could showcase their work… within the genre of mystery, suspense, thriller and horror,” this non-fiction e-zine focusses on interviews, reviews, and articles about writing and publishing, and all sorts of background stuff, along with book excerpts and even some original short fiction. 
  • ThrillerUK | Print (defunct)
    (2000-08)
    Editor: Terry Fountain
    A small press magazine from the UK devoted to pulp and cult fiction with a decidedly British slant, featuring mostly non-fiction, on series characters and their creator.
  • Web Mystery Magazine | Digital (defunct)
    (2003-05)
    Quarterly
    Editor: Rosalie Stafford, , M.A.
    Contributors: Jennifer Jordan, Sharan Newman, Tom and Ginger Johnson, Jeffrey Marks, Dr. Anil Aggrawal, Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D., Meliss Vessier-Batchen, RN, MSN
    An on-line quarterly journal dedicated to investigating the mysterious genre in print, in film, and in real-life, they offer well-researched, well-written articles and reviews by all sorts of experts, including some who don’t even have initials after their names.
Compiled by Kevin Burton Smith.

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