Good god, I've hit the motherlode. After three, count them three unsuccessful attempts to buy these books, someone finally came through for me. The first time I tried, the seller sent me a copy of a book by Brett Halliday, mass market paperback. Not even close. Second time, I got a copy of a book by Dell Shannon. Third time, I was sent something by Carolyn Crane. Once, I can understand, twice is weird, but three times???? Seriously bad. Finally I dug a little deeper into the wallet and fourth time was the charm.
I'm talking about Crime Fiction II: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-1990, by Allen J. Hubin. It is an amazing set of reference books that lists all crime/mystery writers, their books sorted in various ways, film adaptations complete with screenwriter & other info, yada yada yada. For someone like myself who enjoys the classics and other old crime/mystery novels, it is absolutely perfect -- the ultimate crime fiction resource.
For example, I needed a book written by someone with a last name starting with 'P' for my obscure women crime writers project (which I'm doing in alpha order), and so after a little research, came up with an author I've never heard of named Zelda Popkin. (Love the name, by the way). Anyway, here's her entry:
Now that I know what she's got to offer, I'm off to Amazon looking for any of her earliest works that are still in print.
The only downside is that as I come across more of these unknown/forgotten/obscure writers, there's a very good chance that my tbr pile will grow as my book budget shrinks.
If you're a true old crime/mystery novel fan and can lay hands on these books, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.