Thursday, May 16, 2024

Now shipping: The Wild World of Off Beat Detective, Crime and Sleaze Digests by Peter Enfantino

Once upon a time, magazine racks overflowed with crime fiction. For thirty-five cents you could lose yourself in another world for a couple of hours while riding the train back home from your office, or sitting on the beach, or enjoying a bit of quiet time while the brats napped. The ‘50s and ‘60s were decades ripe for violent escapism in the digests, and Manhunt, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine each sold thousands of copies every month. 

But what if you were the kind of reader who wanted something a little naughtier; a little more taboo; a little more dangerous? You’d have to kneel down and look at the bottom row, way in the back behind the Farmer’s Almanac and Fate, to find such jewels as Justice, Keyhole Mystery, Keyhole Detective, Sure Fire Detective, and Off Beat Detective.

Crammed cover-to-cover with feuding JDs, greedy wives, adulterous husbands, and serial killers, the ‘sleaze’ crime digests were an acquired taste, and a bitter pill for the traditional mystery fan to swallow. Combining elements of Black Mask and Dime Mystery, the sleaze digests spit in the face of the old fuddy-duddies and dared readers to try something different.

Within these digests, you’ll make acquaintance with: a morally bankrupt high school teacher who impregnates one of his teenage students; the beautiful Renfreda, who’s being chased through the swamp by an evil marijuana harvester; the gorgeous Peggy Ann, who may be the notorious Ice Pick Murderer; the brave small-town reporter who investigates a local cult and risks her life (and her clothes) for a good story; the printer who unknowingly becomes a publisher of smut; and a young couple who discover their neighbors are Satan worshippers.

The Wild World of Off Beat Detective, Crime and Sleaze Digests is the second volume of a continuing series, in which Peter Enfantino breaks down each and every story that appeared in the pages of these five legendary titles. Now rare and fetching exorbitant prices on the secondary market, these magazines contained some of the most chilling and daring crime stories published at that time. So which issues are worth your hard-earned dollars? Open this book and find out!

Peter Enfantino is the author of The Manhunt Companion (Stark House Press), an exhaustive story-by-story discussion of the greatest crime magazine of all time. He was an editor of The Scream Factory (1988 - 1997) and bare•bones (1997 - 2001, 2020 - present). He is an obsessive collector of crime, horror, and western digests, and has written for all the major channels on the topics, including Paperback ParadeMystery Scene, and The Digest Enthusiast. He lives in a sleaze alley known as Gilbert, Arizona.

Praise for The Manhunt Companion:

The story annotations are concise and well-written, and reflect a consistent critical standard . . . Enfantino is a tough, sometimes idiosyncratic critic.
— Jon L. Breen, Mystery Scene

The Manhunt Companion is not only a must for readers and collectors of the magazine, but for anyone interested in cutting-edge noir fiction of the 50s and early 60s.
— Bill Pronzini

The Wild World of Off Beat Detective, Crime and Sleaze Digests by Peter Enfantino
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
Suggested Retail Price: $14.95
Trade Paperback - 178 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8324517861
Dimensions: 6 x 0.45 x 9 inches

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