(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Anthony Abbot’s contribution to the mystery and detective genre is found in his eight novels chronicling the feats of Thatcher Colt, the reserved but unswerving commissioner of the New York City Police Department. Abbot, as he himself noted, was “one of the first apologists for the police in detective fiction”; as such, he anticipated the development of the police procedural. At a time when most fictional police officers were portrayed as incompetent, dishonest, or, at best, solid but unimaginative, Abbot created a police officer-hero of formidable intelligence. For the most part, however, Abbot was a derivative writer. Popular in their day, the Thatcher Colt novels are now chiefly of historical interest. They are a virtual compendium of the motifs that dominated the American mystery novel in the 1920’s and 1930’s.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Breen, Jon L. “About the Murders of Anthony Abbot.” The Armchair Detective 3 (October, 1969): 1-5. Discussion of Abbot’s work by a fellow mystery writer and critic who later won the 2000 Agatha Award for best criticism of mystery and detective fiction.

Haycraft, Howard. Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1984. History of detective fiction that includes a lengthy “who’s who in detection” appendix.

Herbert, Rosemary, ed. The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Encyclopedia-style reference work on detective fiction includes several references to Abbot in relevant entries. Bibliographic references and index.

Scaggs, John. Crime Fiction. New York: Routledge, 2005. Contains a chapter on police procedurals that helps place Abbot among his fellow writers.

Steinbrunner, Chris, and Otto Penzler, eds. Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976. Still the classic source on mystery and detective fiction. A good work for contextualizing Abbot’s work thematically, but it lacks bibliographic resources.