A recent link found via the Crime and Mystery Room at Friend Feed made me cranky. Booklist Online published a list of reference sites on the internet ” for mystery readers”. Apparently “these six sites are some of the most useful sites for librarians, whether searching for information about awards, series, authors, or titles”. Oh really?
Now I’m not a librarian but I do have a Masters Degree in information management and I have been a voracious mystery reader almost since birth so think I might have at least equal the expertise of whoever who put this list together. I would pose that of the six sites they mention only one is of much use to either mystery readers or the librarians who service us. However, not wanting to be negative without offering some alternatives, I thought I’d compose my own list of six reference sites on the web that might be of (more) use to mystery readers and/or the wonderful librarians who service us.
I certainly would keep Stop You’re Killing Me on the list as it does have an excellent database of authors and titles and a good range of browsing options (e.g. you can browse for mysteries by the job of the main character). It also provides information about new releases in all formats and has links to all the major North American mystery award winners.
I would then suggest the following five sites (in alphabetical order):
- Aust Crime Fiction is a huge website but I’ve linked specifically to the portion that details all the Australian crime writers. There are author biographies and lists of works and links to their websites directly accessible from here. Elsewhere on the site you’ll find book reviews of all sorts of crime fiction (though there is a bias towards the Aussie stuff) (and yes I know not everyone is interested in Australian crime writers but an Aussie girl has to fly the flag)
- Cozy Mystery List is the best place I’ve found for information about the popular sub-genre of mysteries known as ‘cozy’ (or cosy as I would spell it). It has a definition of the term cozy and then authors and titles organised in a number of ways including by various themes.
- Euro Crime: reviews the latest books by European (including British) authors and books set in Europe (including Britain). Its other features include a comprehensive bibliography section, a summary of upcoming titles, author websites, details of events, links to newspaper reviews, crime fiction award results and a regular competition.
- Guide to Classic Mysteries and Detective stories is a fan-created site providing details of authors and titles of the Golden Age mysteries
- Reviewing the Evidence: is an independent source of reviews of all sub genres of crime fiction with new reviews added each week. Reviewers are generally not professional (by which I mean they don’t earn a living writing reviews not that the reviews aren’t of professional standard).
Honourable Mentions (you always knew I wouldn’t stick to six didn’t you?)
- Mystery Readers International is a great magazine released four times each year and each issue is about crime fiction on a different theme (e.g. the most recent issue is about African issues, the one before that about holiday themed mysteries). MRI has recently started offering an electronic subscription so for $15 a year most libraries should have the resources to subscribe to the PDF version of the magazine which would build up a great resource for the library.
- I deliberately haven’t included any of the many great crime fiction related blogs that I follow because the intent (I think) of the original list was to offer more reference based sites than opinion based ones so I’ve tried to stick to the same sort of thing. However, if I were going to talk blogs I’d add one extra site that is the source of much of my information about crime fiction these days: the Crime and Mystery Room at Friend Feed. The virtual room collects feeds from several dozen crime fiction-related blogs and news sources and so contains links to book reviews, author interviews, opinion pieces, publication news and anything else crime related. Members can simply read the content or can comment on the articles which can, on occasion, generate some lively discussion.
Feel free to tell me your favourite reference sites for mystery readers. Do you know of geographical/regional centric sites like Euro Crime and Aust Crime Fiction for other areas such as Africa, Canada etc? Or do you know of the definitive reference site for noir? Or procedurals? Please leave a link in the comments.