The 36 Most Read Mystery Novels of 1936

Between the 12th and 18th of April, Kaggy’s Bookish Rambles and Stuck in a Book are hosting a read/blog-athon in which people are encouraged to read a book published in 1936. It doesn’t have to be a mystery novel, but naturally there is where my own interest lies. However, looking at my TBR pile I didn’t have any books from that year – very remiss of me! So I wondered what I should do instead and in the end I decided to find out which are the 36 most read mystery novels originally published that year. So naturally a poll was required and for a poll I needed a list of books. At this point I would like to give a big thanks to Jamie Sturgeon who not only weeded out the mistakes in my list but doubled its volume with additional mystery novels I had overlooked.

So this is where you, my lovely readers, come in. Given the size of the list, 341 titles, I have spread my poll across 7 smaller polls. I thought this would make it easier to do, as you wouldn’t have to complete them all in one go. Please only select books you have read and not ones where you have read another title from the author published in a different year. This will skew my results. It doesn’t matter how many you have read, though feel free to share your total in the comments below. Perhaps you will find some new authors and books to read. If it would be of any interest I am happy to put up a post including a list of all the titles.

1936 Mysteries: Part 1

1936 Mysteries: Part 2

1936 Mysteries: Part 3

1936 Mysteries: Part 4

1936 Mysteries: Part 5

1936 Mysteries: Part 6

1936 Mysteries: Part 7

You have two weeks within which to vote, as I plan to publish the results during the 1936 Club week, and I need some time to look through the results. So the polls will close on the 8th April.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even in an email to someone you think might be interested. It would be brilliant to have as many readers participating as possible.

 

N. B Just to clear up any confusion. I did have a version of this posted earlier this evening, but I quickly realised the polls were not working properly and allowing people to select multiple titles. So I deleted that post so I had time to re-do the broken polls. So much fun! The current settings for these polls are that you can select 49 out of 50 titles on polls 1-6 and 40 on poll 7. In the unlikely event someone has read out 50 titles in a poll, just let me know in an email or in the comments section, but given how rare many of these titles are I am hoping this is not likely to be an issue.

58 comments

  1. My word…there are so many books I need to try and get hold of..just some trivia…Mark Cross aka Valentine was, I believe, Fanny Craddock’s father!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good classic crime pub quiz question in the making!
      Yes it is overwhelming and exciting all at the same time, the amount of books that were printed that year and there will be some I have probably missed too.

      Like

  2. Whew. Quite a list. At least one in each but no more than two (maybe one was three) although I’m almost sure I did read some of these, I counted only those I could confirm. As much of an E C R Lorac fan as I am, I’m humbled that I’ve missed all three on here. And as I mentioned to you, I’m rather proud of the Wheatley. I have two of his which may be all there were. And very odd premise, they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Golly gee! I am not very well read, am I? But I can’t help thinking, as a classic mystery lover, how badly I timed my birth!! Can you imagine all of us meeting up nearly every day in a local bookshop, our arms brimming with stacks of new novels, chattering happily that this is the FIFTH Gerald Verner title we’ve scooped up in the last 365 days (if we happen to be fans of Mr. Verner . . . . I have no idea!)

    I do want to remind folks, if they’re thinking of delving into 1936, that Moira and I will be meeting with JJ to discuss Cards on the Table next month. One of my favorite of hers!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am a bit surprised at how many I have actually read. I couldn’t off the top of my head think of a single title from 1936.

    What a lot of work Kate! I have a prediction on the winner already … MiM,AC

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What an enjoyable survey! Thanks for putting this list of titles together. As others have mentioned, it makes one wish that all of these titles were easily available once more and ready for the reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well it’s early days yet and Poll 7 is doing the best for having the fewest 0 vote titles. I am sure once Martin, Curtis and John Norris have voted a number of these zeros will disappear!

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  6. I was defeated by the last one – had read none in that list. I was nearly defeated by an earlier one – but had read “Talkative Policeman”! 😼

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This poll/list, limited to 1936, perfectly demonstrates how much detective fiction was produced during the first half of the previous century. You can bet it’s not even close to being a complete list. There’s always another obscure, never before heard-of title or writer waiting to be rediscovered.

    Anyway, I only averaged about five titles for each poll.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a creative poll – thanks for doing this. What was the source(s) you used to create this 1936 mystery list?

    I immediately noticed that the ones I had read correlated to the availability of the books as reprints. I would love to have the full list if you plan to publish that separately as there were some new intriguing titles to investigate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used quite a few including GAD focused blogs and websites with bibliographies on. There was a fair bit of typing in authors and seeing if a 1936 title came up. I didn’t overly use GADetection as it is not the most reliable source. I know Jamie used a CD-rom version of Hubin’s crime fiction bibliography, but don’t know if he used anything else.

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    • Thank you Santosh. I misread a comma on the list Jamie sent. I mistook it for a semi-colon which was used to indicate separate titles. I’ll combine any votes for the title in the final result, I think, to rectify the error. It’s not going to be one of the main contenders, I can’t see it making the top 36!
      How many titles have you read from the list?

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        • Wow! That’s a lot! Though I would expect no less. Hopefully you might have checked some of the ones which haven’t had any votes yet.
          I have made a note and will deduct one vote from the Wilson book 335/336.

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  9. Kate, all I used was Hubin on CD-Rom,- I didn’t put any paperback originals on the list I sent you such as the Sexton Blake Library, or those published by Mellifont, Gramol. Fiction House, etc, as the list would have doubled in size! The trouble I found when doing your poll was remembering if I had read a particular book. I know I have read one Rupert Penny, but which one? Also have I read the Van Dine?, I think so but it would have been more than 40 years ago. My vote for the best of the year is The Loss of the Jane Vosper, and yes Christie, predictably I am sure is going to win the most read, even though I have not read any of them

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes without Goodreads and my blog I would be hopeless at knowing what books I have and have not read.
      I think my arms are very relieved that you did not look into the paperback originals – I think they might have dropped off from the typing and copying and pasting otherwise!

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  10. There is still a problem with the poll (at least, with part 7) – it won’t allow a return with none of the books checked (I’m not sure if this is important, but thought it worth mentioning).

    Liked by 1 person

    • ha! Well that would certainly be a challenge! And if we hear of a spate of classic crime novel thefts from around the globe, all from 1936, we’ll know who the police should question lol

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  11. There is an error. I put it in the comment section of the poll. But I’ll add it here as well. Murder Stalks the Mayor is not the correct title of the 1936 book by Timothy Brace. The US title (which is what should be listed first in Hubin, if that’s where it came from) is Murder Goes Fishing. Murder Stalks the Mayor (1936) is by R T M Scott which is absent from the list.

    I suspect there are many omissions of US writers or US alternate titles. Also, I noticed many well known UK writers who are now in print missing so I checked my shelves and a few reference books. I found these:

    Turquoise Hazard by Albert Betts Caldwell (post on his playboy detective Freddy Philpotts coming later this year)
    The Death Angel by Clyde Clason
    The Mystery of the Smoking Gun by Carroll John Daly
    Six Against Scotland Yard by The Detection Club
    F Corridor by James Edwards, MD
    In Memory of Murder by Dean Hawkins
    The Seven Seas Murder by Van Wyck Mason
    A Frame for Murder by Kirke Mechem (in print from Coachwhip as The Strawstsck Murder Case)
    Candidate for Murder by Mortimer Post
    Trouble at Glaye by Mrs Baillie Reynolds
    Death of an Eloquent Man by Charlotte Murray Russell
    The Dartmoor Enigma by Sir Basil Thomson (Dean Street Press writer, all books in print now)
    Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? By Sir Basil Thomson (ditto)

    As a side note some of my favorite writers many who were their most prolific on the 1930s did not have a book published , either in the US or the UK, in 1936. Harriette Ashbrook had one each in 1935 and 1937, for example. Totally skipped 1936. Georges Simenon, on the other hand, had four books published in English translation in 1936 but none of them were with Maigret. I’ve not heard of any of them (nor even recognize the titles) and it’s possible that none of them are actually crime novels.

    Finally, if the poll were “how many do you own?” the I’d be the landslide winner. On one part of the poll I noted I owned over 20 of the books listed. Having read them is a totally different statistic. On two sections though I own many listed I’ve read none of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for pointing out the error, as I probably wouldn’t have seen the poll comment. Not sure where to find them. Since no one had voted for the Brace title, I have corrected it with the right title.
      Well done on finding even more titles. Jamie and I wondered about the Simenon books and were a bit dubious about their inclusion too, so I decided to err on the side of caution.
      I think your home must be some kind of classic crime Aladdin’s cave!!!

      Like

  12. Out of sheer curiosity I counted how many I currently own and it’s only 110. Those I’ve read are included in that total and it’s considerably less than half of the “owned book” count. There are five I’ve read but no longer have or never owned. Some of the books I’ve read I sold years ago like Murder of a Chemist (ultra rare, BTW) listed in this poll. Several of the books I checked off as read were library copies. Many of these writers I’ve never heard of and only seen their names for the first time in these lists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • .. only 110 you say in a deprecating manner! Given obscure most of the list is, that is very good going! Oh to have libraries that stock these kind of books. Alas I don’t have that sort of local library.

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  13. Yes I didn’t put many US books on the list I sent you Kate, and I forgot to add books published by Eldon, who were Basil Thomson’s publishers (his book The Dartmoor Enigma on John’s list was published in the UK in 1935), I don’t think any of the books I missed would have been read by more than one or two people anyway! Who has read 1936 Eldon books by Mark Beckett or Elliot Bailey for instance?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought it was just the year of publication that determined the book being in this poll. Obscure writers are bound to turn up. Why exclude them because they were published by a different or equally obscure publisher? How do you know who has or hasn’t read an obscure writer until you ask? I might as well ask who has read Rex Dark (let alone ever heard of him) Or Robertson Halkett? Or Caroline Francis, George Norsworthy, Spencer Simpson, etc etc? Some obscure writers are recognizable to me (like Sydney Fowler, Wyndham Martin, J H Wills among many others) but who actually reads them I also wonder. Can’t assume until you ask.

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      • For your information, I have read Crime at the Villa Gloria by George Norsworthy and The Attic Murder by Sydney Fowler and have marked both of them in the poll !

        Like

  14. Done – I suspect I’ve probably read more than I’ve voted for, but since many mysteries have similar titles, I’ve only voted where I’m 100% sure I’ve read that title by that author! I read dozens of 1930s crime novels when I was in my 20s, but many of them have been forgotten since.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Have not read even 15. Rather than the top reads, I am eager to know the least read among these. Thanks for doing all this hard work Kate. Hope you do it for all the reading-yearly blogathons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • haha I may need a new pair of arms to do more of these polls, given the sheer amount of typing!
      But I am glad you have enjoyed it and found it useful.
      My results post will cover more than the top 36, as I too am interested in what has not been read.

      Like

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