Published in The American Magazine

Some Significant Contributors
& Other Writers of Interest

The American Illustrated Magazine began publishing in September 1905 and in June 1906 shortened its name simply to The American Magazine, and ran under that name until 1956.

During its long run, it came to be regarded as one of the most popular and successful of the "slicks," publishing everything from investigative reporting to human interest stories and articles on social issues, as well as all sorts of fiction, including crime fiction, which was great news for writers -- they paid far better than the pulps, and offered a little more "prestige " than the pulps.

As such, it attracted several well-known mystery writers of the day, including Graham Greene, Agatha Chrisite, George Harmon Coxe, Hugh Pentecost, Kenneth Millar, Rex Stout, Charlotte Armstrong, Dorothy B. Hughes, Donald Hamilton, Kelley Roos, Erie Stanley Gardner, Leslie Charteris, Zenith Brown (writing as both Leslie Ford and David Frome) and Q. Patrick (aka "Patrick Quentin").

Although early on the magazine published crime fiction of various lengths, from short stories to serialized novels, by 1934 most of the mysteries ran as "novelettes," with many of them later appearing in book form as full-length novels. By then most writers wrote specifically to the magazine's length requirements.

Among those writers who contributed to the magazine over the years who would be of particular interest to readers of this site are:

  • Jack Boyle

The first four stories (hard-boiled before there was hard-boiled) featuring Boyle's popular ex-con safecracker Boston Blackie originally appeared in The American Magazine, as well as "A Modern Opium Eater," a non-fiction piece detailing Boyle's own drug problems and subsequent incarceration.

  • Dana Chambers

The 1940 novel She'll Be Dead by Morning, featuring quasi-P.I. Jim Steele, was based on this novella.

  • Leslie Charteris

The Saint made several appearances in the magazine.

  • Agatha Christie

The Hercule Poirot novel 13 for Dinner was serialized in six parts in 1933.

  • Octavus Roy Cohen

One of the percursors to the hard-boiled private eye was Cohen's Jim Hanvey, a good ol' boy grifter whose aw shucks! persona hid his shrewd skills as a detective. Several of his stories appeared in the twenties and thirties.

Several novelette-length appearances featuring his crime-busting news shutterbug Kent Murdock, with the book-length version occasionally not appearing until several years later.

The first Nero Wolfe novel, Fer-de-Lance (1934), was serialized in the magazine, and had appeared in abridged form, as "Point of Death," only two days before book publication.

  • S.S. Van Dine

Respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Much off the information for this page was gleaned from the introduction and appendix to American Murders: 11Rediscovered Short Novels from The American Magazine, 1934-54 (1986), edited by Jon L. Breen & Rita A. Breen.

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