The Detective Book Club 1942-1999

A Checklist of 3-in-1 Mystery Omnibuses published by Walter J Black Between 1942 and 1999

Cover Image of the reissue of the first volume from the Detective Book Club Cover image Cover image for August 1445 Cover image for Otober 1951 Cover image for April 1962 Cover image for July 1972 Cover image from 1986 Cover image from 1999 Cover image from 1999
Detective Book Club 3-in-1 Volumes from Six Decades

Over 800 Volumes and Authors. Over 2,500 Mysteries and Thrillers

Author Index Title Index

Publications by Year
    1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Issues Sources and Acknowledgements


This checklist includes all of the 3-in-1 omnibuses published by the Walter J. Black Publishing Company that I have been able to identify. This includes the regular issues of the Detective Book Club from 1942 though 1999; the issues - identical in format - sold via the Inner Circle book club that began in the early seventies and continued into the eighties or nineties; and various promotional volumes, as long as they are "3-in-1" and have the same general format as the monthly offerings.

The primary source of information on the Detective Book Club and Walter J. Black is the book "Murder by Mail. Inside the Mystery Book Clubs" by Michael J. Cook, second edition 1983, published by the Bowling Green University Popular Press. This book includes background information on the Walter J. Black Publishing Company, and also lists the books distributed by competing book clubs in the mystery field. Cook had assistance in compiling the list from the Walter J. Black company, and was able to assign month and year to almost all volumes though 1983, and to identify which were from the Detective Book Club and which for the Inner Circle. In the Cook listing a reference number is assigned to each entry (either a simple number or, for the Inner Circle, a separate sequence of numbers prefixed with "IC-"). That numbering is not used in the current listing, which includes many entries - largely from 1983 to the end of the century - that can not currently be accurately sequenced.

After 1983 a year can be inferred from the dates of the mysteries included in each volume, but post-1983 dating is mostly an approximation. Books were issued by the club very close to original publication, but it would be perfectly reasonable for a book issued in, for example, January 1985, to contain three mysteries that originally appeared in late 1984, and which would in this listing be assigned to 1984. The volume Cook assigns to January, 1982, for example, includes three titles first published in the U.S. in 1981. See Issues for more details.

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