Have you heard of John Creasey? There’s a quick biography of him here. I first heard of him a few years back as an extremely prolific British author I had never encountered. He was one of those former “big names” who was long out-of-print as far as I could tell. That all changed a few weeks ago when I visited the local library used book sale. Those are always fun, but you can never get your hopes up, or be looking for specific books. You just have to rely on serendipity and hope for the best. So I ventured into the “rare book” area of the sale and saw two Xerox boxes full of mass market paperbacks, all penned by a familiar name: John Creasey. Playing it cool, I asked the attendant how much they were asking for the books. She told me they were asking $0.50 per book, and that she estimated there were about 200 books in the boxes. I thought about it a while, looked through the rest of the books at the sale, and came back and bought the lot of Creasey books, since I knew that if I didn’t I’d have always regretted it. I don’t know the origin of the collection. The library sale attendant said that they had been recently donated as a lot, and that they had hated to break up the collection. My guess would be that someone had been collecting these books for a very long time. And they certainly knew what they were doing, because there were no duplicates, despite the fact that Creasey books were frequently reissued in US editions with different titles. Out of the ~200 books, there was a single duplicate. Needless to say, I have been enjoying researching Creasey and his work since I bought the books, and have no regrets about the purchase. Frankly, I think I got a real bargain and now have one of the largest Creasey collections on the planet, especially since he rarely turns up in used book stores.
There are several challenges to collecting Creasey:
1. The sheer number of works he wrote is daunting.
2. The relative lack of availability of his work, at least in the U.S. He’s just plain hard to find here. I suspect he must be relatively easier to find in the U.K., though I don’t know that any of his stuff is still technically in print.
3. The number of different pseudonyms he used. Creasey used many, many different noms de plume over the decades.
4. The re-releases under new titles of many of his earlier novels. This further complicates things.
5. The lack of an authoritative source for Creasey’s entire bibliography.
There are a number of partial Creasey bibliographies available online, and at least one that purports to be complete, but even it contains a number of errors. After acquiring this collection, I felt obliged to construct as complete a Creasey bibliography as I could, if only to determine exactly what I had here. I am including John Creasey bibliography and an John Creasey Checklist Spreadsheet that list all known Creasey books.
As far as I can tell right now — and I make no claims that this bibliography I have compiled is 100% accurate, only that it is the best currently available online — Creasey wrote at least 576 different books, not including major rewrites of books later published under new titles. Think about that for a moment. Almost 600 books. Wow.
I currently own 192 books written by Creasey. The breakdown, by series, of my collection:
33 books from the Chief Inspector Roger West series
2 books from the Commander George Gideon series
7 books from the Dr. Emmanuel Cellini series
15 books from the Dr. Palfrey series
41 books from the The Baron series
44 books from the Patrick Dawlish series
49 books from the The Toff series
1 stand-alone novel (historical fiction)
I hope to begin reading some of Creasey’s books soon and will likely review at least some of them here. I’d love to hear from other fans or collectors of Creasey’s work, especially those who can shed light on any of Creasey’s books I don’t list in my own bibliography. I also certainly welcome errata as well. I’m sure there are mistakes in my documents and I’m interested in rooting them out and correcting them.