Monday, March 16, 2009

Doubleday Crime Club, part 1

Beginning in 1928, the American publisher Doubleday, Doran began issuing titles under the imprint The Crime Club. These books were accompanied by a cute logo that looked, depending on how you stared at it, either like a man holding a gun, or a man falling (after having been shot?). A closer examination reveals that the logo is comprised of stylized versions of the letters C-R-I-M-E.The Doubleday Crime Club was not a book-of-the-month type of enterprise. They did offer a subscription service, and subscribers saved a little bit of money (what amounted to postage). But the books issued by the Crime Club were not inexpensive copies. In fact, they were among the finest hardcover editions of mystery and detective fiction of the time.

(In later years, the Book of the Month Club did work out an arrangement with Doubleday, so you can find Doubleday Crime Club volumes that are also what collectors call "Book Club editions." Confused yet?)

Above and to the right are several Crime Club volumes, mostly from the mid-1930s, showing some of the clever embossed spine art from that period. Even without dustjackets, these were beautiful books.

Here is a sampling of books from my shelves, all with nice dustjackets, and dating from 1928 through 1931.

As time permits, I'll be posting more trivia, artwork, and history of the Crime Club.

Meanwhile, be sure to visit my regular weekly blog-gig over at Criminal Brief. You'll find my column there every Friday.