In 1947 when Dutton needed a place to stash the harder boiled books coming in to their offices, they decided to set up a separate imprint. A tough book like Mickey Spillane’s I, The Jury wouldn’t mingle well with the upper class of Dutton’s roster. This was a new era in tough guy writing, noir with a sharper edge. And Guilt Edged Mysteries was born.
In the nine years Guilt Edged originally existed they published 82 hardcovers, including those first seven in the Mike Hammer series and pulp classics like Fredric Brown’s The Fabulous Clipjoint and The Screaming Mimi as well as Lionel White’s Clean Break which later became the basis for Stanly Kubrick’s film noir classic The Killing.
As a vintage pulp junkie, you can imagine my delight when Guilt Edged was relaunched earlier this year. And my mind was further blown when I got the news that the new Guilt Edged wanted to publish my book, The Devil Doesn’t Want Me. I immediately ran off to learn more about the short-lived imprint.
Not that there was a lot to learn aside from the titles, a chronological list can be found here. In looking at the books they chose to publish it is easy to see that they were rounding up the books with more extreme violence (for the time), pulpier plots and tougher tough guys. Female authors were few and far between and often used the time-honored trade of disguising their gender with initials, like with the book Murder At Drake’s Anchorage by E. Lee Waddell. The E. stood for Eleanor.