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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Library of America launches fall season with a double-barreled blast of classic crime

Women Crime Writers: Eight
Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s
September’s here—and though it’s not officially fall for three more weeks, today The Library of America’s fall season gets underway with a bang—the bang of a pistol shot, one might say, with the rollout of a veritable bonanza for fans of crime and suspense fiction. The two-volume anthology Women Crime Writers of the 1940s and 50s restores to print eight long-out-of-print or hard-to-find titles from the middle of the last century, while Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1980s collects four key works by an acknowledged master working at the height of his powers.

Readers in the greater New York City area should know that an official launch event for Women Crime Writers will be held next Wednesday, September 9, at The Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. The anthology’s editor, crime fiction authority Sarah Weinman, will be joined by one of the genre’s leading contemporary practitioners, bestselling author Megan Abbott, for a talk on the role of women authors in the American crime/suspense canon.

If you can’t make it to next Wednesday’s launch event, don't despair—Weinman will be discussing Women Crime Writers at bookstores around the country (and also in Toronto) this fall. Click here for her complete tour schedule. Curious readers are also directed to Weinman’s recent Reader’s Almanac post in which she discussed the collection’s origins, its significance for the genre, and what working on it has meant to her personally. Last but far from least, our Women Crime Writers mini-site features extensive contextual information about the eight novels in the collection and their authors, along with appreciations by a range of contemporary talents in the field.

Elmore Leonard:
Four Novels of the 1980s
Jumping ahead a few decades, Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1980s, the second volume in LOA’s Leonard edition, brings together four titles—City Primeval, LaBrava, Glitz, and Freaky Deaky—from the era in which Leonard became an above-ground phenomenon and, as Jeff Simon recently wrote in The Buffalo News, “his mastery was a matter of widespread affirmation.”

As an added enticement to fans, Four Novels of the 1980s also includes early drafts of passages from City Primeval and LaBrava, an account by editor Gregg Sutter of the research that went into all four books, and, perhaps most intriguingly, “Impressions of Murder,” a November 1978 Detroit News Sunday Magazine article in which Leonard relates his experiences shadowing Detroit homicide detectives. (“Impressions of Murder” subsequently provided the inspiration for 1980’s City Primeval.)

Watch this space for more material related to the above titles, and for news of 2015 LOA titles still to come, which include late James Baldwin and Edith Wharton and a deluxe, diverse collection of writings by Frederick Law Olmsted.

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