The Golden Age of bad girls

Gun-toting femme fatales caught in the action!

Follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969

At the height of the Jazz Age, when Prohibition was turning ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into celebrities, America’s true crime detective magazines were born. True Detective came first in 1924, and by 1934, when the Great Depression had produced colorful outlaws like Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, the magazines were so popular cops and robbers alike vied to see themselves on the pages. Even FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover wrote regularly for what came to be called the "Dickbooks," referring to a popular slang term for the police.

As the decades rolled on, the magazines went through a curious metamorphosis, however.When liquor was once more legal, the Depression over and all the flashy criminals dead or imprisoned, the "detectives" turned to sin to make sales. Sexy bad girls in tight sweaters, slit skirts and stiletto heels adorned every cover. Coverlines shouted "I Was a Girl Burglar—For Kicks,""Sex Habits of Women Killers," "Bride of Sin!,""She Played Me for a Sucker," and most succinctly,"Bad Woman."

True Crime Detective Magazines follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969. Hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles tell the story, not just of the "detectives," but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime and punishment over five decades. With texts by magazine collector Eric Godtland, George Hagenaur and True Detective editor Marc Gerald, True Crime Detective Magazines is an informative and entertaining look at one of the strangest publishing niches of all time.

"My buddies wanted to be firemen, farmers or policemen, something like that. Not me, I just wanted to steal people’s
The author:
Eric Godtland is a self-confessed compulsive collector. Working from his bases in the Haight-Ashbury and Potrero Hill districts of San Francisco, Eric obsesses over all things girly, Hawaiian, musical and modernist. When not lusting after “cool stuff,” Eric manages musicians, bends technology to his will, writes, and begs for money.

The editor:
Dian Hanson was born in Seattle in 1951. For 25 years she produced various men’s magazines, including Puritan, Juggs and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s sexy book editor in 2001. Her many books for TASCHEN include The New Erotic Photography Vol. 2 and Robert Crumb: Sketchbooks 1982-2011. She lives in Los Angeles.
True Crime Detective Magazines

True Crime Detective Magazines

, Dian Hanson
Hardcover, 9.1 x 10.6 in., 336 pages
$ 39.99

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  • Reviews
"One of the most amazing compendiums of them that we’ve seen is the stunning hardcover book, True Crime Detective Magazines published by art book publisher TASCHEN. With over 450 original detective magazine covers spanning from 1924 through 1969, the information and artwork they’ve compiled has proven to be an invaluable reference guide for us into the narratives and aesthetic of the noir-era crime thriller."
—, New York, United States
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