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California Detective Fiction Collection


In recognition of the significant role that California writers have played in the development of the modern crime novel, The Bancroft Library formally established the California Detective Fiction Collection in 2013. Building on the Library’s already outstanding holdings of San Francisco Bay Area mysteries, which began with the acquisition of Don Herron’s extensive collection in 1998, the goal of the California Detective Fiction Collection is to broadly and systematically acquire examples of crime, mystery, and detective fiction set in California and/or written by California authors. Particular attention is given to authors who are icons of the mystery genre (including the “holy trinity” of American crime writers, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross Macdonald), members of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (which was founded in 1945 in Berkeley with Anthony Boucher as its first president), award winners (such as MWA Grand Master honorees Erle Stanley Gardner, Ross Macdonald, Margaret Millar, Bill Pronzini, Marcia Muller, Robert Crais, Walter Mosely, James Ellroy, and Laurie R. King), women writers, writers of color, and writers who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Maltese Falcon The Simple Art of Murder The Galton Case

Browse the collection

Click on the book image below to view the collection in the UC Library Search catalog.

Whitman Chambers. The Campanile Murders (New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1933)

The Campanile Murders

The Campanile Murders is an exceedingly rare "lost" Berkeley mystery novel. Although the action takes place at "State University," and the text never mentions "Berkeley," or even "California," the description of the Campanile, the bells, the campus, and the surrounding streets clearly set the action at UC Berkeley. Reporter Bill Bartlett investigates the murder of a carillonist who is found shot in the head at the top of the Campanile. He is assisted by Dr. C. Edson Hawley, a popular chemistry professor and noted criminologist who has succeeded where the police have failed in the past. This copy, including the striking dust jacket, is a 2023 gift of mystery writers Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller. Bancroft PS3505.H275 C35 1933