Handbooks/literary history and/or theory for the reader of crime fiction:
The Crime and Mystery Book - a history of the crime and mystery story
A must for the reader of modern crime novels, The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction gives a encyclopedic view of post-war crime fiction. For non-English readers it is a drawback that very little non-English material is included, but it is a great fountain of facts about English language authors. Its scope is strictly crime, leaving thrillers out - it still fills 780 pages, so you'll have more than enough to read.
Bloody Murder: from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel is Julian Symons history and review of crime fiction in its second revised and expanded edition. Symons is himself an accomplished writer of crime.
The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction is an academic study of crime fiction and neighbouring genres.
Classic Era of Crime Fiction is a well illustrated coffee-table history of crime fiction.
To be continued....
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