Forgotten Book: The Private Lives of Private Eyes, Spies, Crime Fighters and Other Good Guys

The Private Lives of Private Eyes, Spies, Crime Fighters and Other Good Guys edited by Otto Penzler, Grosset & Dunlap, 1977 oversized trade paper

While reading some introductory material in another book, this was mentioned, and I knew it was familiar. So I went to the shelves, and sure enough I had this copy.

It purports to be “the lives and times of the world’s 25 best-known crime fighters. Illustrated “biographies” of the famous super sleuths”.

Each of the featured persons is given about four pages, including – as of 1977 –  a bibliographic listing and, if appropriate, a filmography.

If you’re looking to refresh your memory about any of these characters, or receive a brief introduction with biographical information of both character and author, this is for you. I initially wanted to look up Dr. Thorndyke, but soon found myself browsing through the rest of the book, often saying “oh, I’d forgotten that” or “I must read that” to myself.

Who is included, in alphabetical order:

  • Lew Archer
  • Modesty Blaise
  • James Bond
  • Father Brown
  • Nick Carter
  • Charlie Chan
  • Nick and Nora Charles
  • Bulldog Drummond
  • C. August Dupin
  • Mike Hammer
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Jules Maigret
  • Philip Marlowe
  • Miss Jane Marple
  • Perry Mason
  • Mr. Moto
  • Hercule Poirot
  • Ellery Queen
  • The Shadow
  • John Shaft
  • Sam Spade
  • Dr. Thorndyke
  • Philo Vance
  • Lord Peter Wimsey
  • Nero Wolfe

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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10 Responses to Forgotten Book: The Private Lives of Private Eyes, Spies, Crime Fighters and Other Good Guys

  1. I love books like this. I might even own it. I’ll have to check and if I don’t, I’ll be tracking down a copy later today. Great choice!

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Meh. It is mildly interesting to me, but that’s it. I’m sure 30 years ago I would have bought it.

    • Fair enough, Jeff. It is out of date, but at the time I found it to be helpful in learning about many characters with whom I was only vaguely familiar, and I could see the bibliography without hefting heavier reference books. I’ve had this for about that long.

  3. Rick, a little Elmer’s glue should fix that little problem. Just bind up the book after you apply the glue with some rubber bands. The next day, take the rubber bands off and the book is as good as new!

  4. tracybham says:

    I think I have another book that is similar, but I don’t have this one. I think this covers more characters. I bet it is a fun read. And I would be interested in the filmographies.

  5. Matt Paust says:

    I need this book! There had better be an e-version or I will be verklempt.

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