Sunday, 3 December 2006

The giallo index

There's a very useful index to and listing of the titles published under the various Mondadori i libri gialli series at

Some little tidbits of information:
  • A total of 85 different authors were published among the 266 titles of the original 1929-41 series, assuming - and it is a dangerous assumption, admittedly - no pseudonyms.
  • By far the most popular author was Edgar Wallace, with no fewer than 54 titles to his credit. Also well represented among the Anglo-American contingent were Agatha Christie with 20, Erle Stanley Gardner with 12, Ellery Queen with 11, S S Van Dine with 10 and Rex Stout with nine. (I don't know about the E D'Errico or A. Varaldo, also in the top-ten but more Italian-sounding.)
  • One P. Very wrote Le vipere di cristallo (published 1934). Other giallo-film style titles included the Perry Mason series entry Perry Mason e il mistero del gatto grigio (1938) and T. A. Spagnola's La bambola insanguinata (1935).
  • Among the later entries is Dorothy L. Sayer's Clouds of Witness (published 1926) as Il gatto dagli occhi verdi (1948 in Italian translation).
I'm sure there's lots more...


Michael said...

That's a great resource. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of doing something similar for giallo films? Of course, it would be a much tougher task, given that the cinematic gialli aren't a "series" per se, and many people differ as to precisely whether or not a specific title is a giallo, but it would certainly be an invaluable resource if someone with the requisite knowledge and patience put it together.

K H Brown said...

What I did was copy/paste the lists into a spreadsheet, save it as text, then import them into a SQL database and wrote a little program so I could query titles etc. The whole process took about an hour for 1,100 books so far.

Of course, having the data already there, nicely laid out, is a big help. Nor did I really think about / worry about copyright or asking permission when I did this...

Unfortunately I think you're right that a database of giallo films would be a whole lot more complicated, as ideally we would also want a database that could be searched on by performer, character name, alternative titles etc.

The one thing I've sometimes entertained ideas of doing would be a database of fanzine contents, as I find they are an area where it's very difficult to know what has gone before and there sometimes seems a degree of reinventing the wheel / duplication of effort - e.g. reading Blood and Black Lace and seeing a comment to the effect that "only a major article could do Death Laid an Egg justice" in possible ignorance of the European Trash Cinema special issue. (Or maybe it was just that those pieces weren't the sort of thing Adrian Luther-Smith had in mind; I'm not meaning to criticise anyone specifically.)

If there's interest, I may put together a zip file and set of instructions so others can replicate the database for themselves if they want...