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Discover John Dunning, the mystery book writer / bookscout

Updated on July 5, 2016

John Dunning

The bookman's bookman

For me John Dunning is a trifecta interest hit - mystery author, old time radio authority, and to make it really sweet he writes mysteries about book collecting and old time radio! A book scout is an individual who hunts for books in various locations and then resells them for a profit. John Dunning has been doing this for years. First selling books from a store, but then after he became a published mystery author, he moved to Internet sales.

Thus Dunning's Janeway books are full of insights and anecdotes about the world of book collectors and the scouts and stores that find and offer the collectible books. No small irony that Dunning's early Janeway books are prized mystery book collectibles themselves.

Dunning's series about Cliff Janeway, book scout and bookseller, are well written mysteries that satisfy the book lover, or the mystery fan in general. "Booked to Die" got the series off to a great start, and first editions are very collectible. Since we see Janeway evolve in the books, it's one of those series best read in order. But don't let that hold you back from starting any of the books because they stand alone well. His latest book, "The Bookwoman's Last Fling", also brings in the world of horse racing, one of his early career stops.

I first came upon John Dunning through his Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio. If I could only have one book on the shelf about Old Time Radio (OTR), Dunning's encyclopedia would be that book. It's a massive volume with lots of facts and interesting information on thousands of shows.


To try the Cliff Janeway series, start with "Diehard".

To read a WWII mystery intertwined with 1940's radio, try "Two O'Clock, Eastern Wartime".

To explore the fascinating world of old time radio, get "On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio".

Booked To Die Review

John Dunning Bibliography

Pub Date
Boooked to Die
Cliff Janeway Novel
The Bookman's Wake
Cliff Janeway Novel
The Bookman's Promise
Cliff Janeway Novel
The Sign of the Book
Cliff Janeway Novel
The Bookwoman's Last Fling
Cliff Janeway Novel
The Holland Suggestions
Other Mystery Novels
Looking For Ginger North
Other Mystery Novels
Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime
Other Mystery Novels
Other Novels
Other Novels
Short Fiction
Short Fiction
Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925-1976
On the Air: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
Click thumbnail to view full-size
John DunningBooked to Die10 O'Clock Eastern WartimeThe Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
John Dunning
John Dunning
Booked to Die
Booked to Die
10 O'Clock Eastern Wartime
10 O'Clock Eastern Wartime
The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio

John Dunning, Bookseller

John and Helen Dunning opened "The Old Algonquin Bookstore in East Denver. East Colfax Avenue evolved into an active independent bookstore community.

As the Janeway series increased in popularity, they closed the retail store in 1994. The book reseller business has continued on the internet, under the same name.

Encyclopedia of OTR

He's Just Another Collector

Independent booksellers are generally book collectors, as well. Their collection is their inventory. Usually there are items that are not really "for sale".

Dunning also collects recorded episodes of old radio shows. The thriving collection hobby covets what is called, old-time radio, or OTR for easy typing, Swapping of copies of episodes is very active on the internet, They are sound recordings, so are available in several formats. The most common format is known as mp3.

Dunning's Encyclopedia is one of the authority reference books in the hobby.

Discover other mystery writers ...

There are many more terrific mystery writers whose names may not be on the NY Time's list, but deserve to be on a mystery reader's list. Discover Mystery Authors is a HubPage with a sneak peak at many more author's that you should check out!


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    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      11 years ago from Deep South, USA

      The first Dunning book I read was THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE. I quickly followed it with BOOKED TO DIE. Recently, I enjoyed 2 O'CLOCK, EASTERN WARTIME. Now I want to get my hands on everything else Dunning's written. Since I'm a confirmed bibliophile and also a mystery buff, he's now added to my very lengthy list of favorite mystery authors.

    • jstankevicz profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Cave Creek

      acheng1, thanks for visiting. Dunning writes about books and old time radio, two of my favorite things.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Never heard of him before. The old time radio thing sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review.


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