Hello, all. I hope you’re feeling swell and staying motivated. I’ve got 3 items of news to share.
First, my e-books are on sale ($1.00 or an equivalent amount in your currency) until the end of April. The link is here.
Second, my fourth book has a title — The Five False Suicides. You can expect a synopsis along with cover images in the coming months. Publication date–I don’t want to say. I’m always wrong.
Lastly, as my twitter followers know, I’ve been collecting 1st editions of Christianna Brand books. It’s not a brilliant collection; some are US and some are UK, but I’m very happy with it. My goal was to collect all of her adult mystery novels. The only two I am missing are The Three Cornered Halo (described as a comic mystery) and Ring of Roses (written under the pen name Mary Anne Ashe.
Death In High Heels
This is the UK first edition. The cover’s quite nice, a minimalist drawing, suggesting a fun and stylish boutique murder mystery.
This was not published in the US market for some time, so there is no US cover with which to compare it.
UK 1 US 0
Heads you Lose
Mine is a 1942 US first edition. The publishers over at Dodd-Mead handled the U.S. release of many British crime writers (including some broad named Agatha Christie) through their Red Badge Detective label. Heads You Lose won Brand a cool grand in Red Badge’s biannual (?) prize. The title alone is worth a thousand. This cover is some Dali/Bunuel type of shit. Maybe a little Monty Python? It’s not entirely appropriate for this book, but it’s interesting.
The UK first edition is…different. Not bad, but not nearly as memorable.
UK 1 US 1
Green For Danger
I have the UK first edition. Oddly enough, the US edition was published first. It is the same image as above, only bigger. (All the US editions are bigger than the UK editions–It’s almost like we have book envy.) Anyway, since the US edition came first, this is a US win.
UK 1 US 2
The Crooked Wreath
1946 US first edition. That’s right, this book was published in the Unites States first with the title The Crooked Wreath. To be more precise, it was first published in my hometown newspaper, The Chicago Tribune under the title, One of the Family before it was published in book form as The Crooked Wreath and finally in the UK as Suddenly at his Residence. In a twist of cruel fate, the UK title is the preferred title and the UK edition is worth a lot more money.
To be honest, I prefer this cover–another superb job by Red Badge Detective. Unfortunately, given how Suddenly At His Residence is the preferred title and the cover image is quite good, I have to give the point to the UK.
UK 2 US 2
Death of Jezebel
1948 US first edition. The last of my Red Badge Detective publications. This cover is amazing. It’s vibrant, mysterious, and I love how they had to put A Modern Mystery so that no reader would assume it was about Lancelot’s solving of a murder.
I much prefer it over the (quite frankly) homely UK first edition.
UK 2 US 3
Cat and Mouse
This is a US first edition. Expect a review before the end of the year. I love the scratches of white and the literal cat’s paw threatening the house stranded on the cliff.
I also quite like the UK cover. We’ll give them both a point.
UK 3 US 4
1952 UK first edition. This cover has grown on me. Brand’s 1950’s mysteries were published by Michael Joseph Ltd. which was subsequently bought by Penguin. Their style seemed to be more understated, perhaps a bit more elegant, sleeker.
Though I like the US first edition (which I also have), it’s wrong for this book. It’s kind of like they listed all the elements, taped them to a wall, and threw darts to select which ones would go on the cover. If F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote a murder mystery, it should have looked like this. Oh, and the unfortunate name change. Point to the UK
UK 4 US 4
Tour de Force
I own both US and UK, so we can compare. Above is the hideous UK version. Is that a voodoo doll? None of Tour De Force‘s stylish fun is suggested by this monstrosity. Below is the US version. Not great at all, but the clear winner of the two. I’ve found that none of the various reprints are that good either. No one has made a great cover for this great book.
UK 4 US 5
The Rose in Darkness
This one is easy. It was only published in the UK. It’s a fine cover and interestingly enough, the notes on the inner sleeve specify that it’s not so much a whodunit as a novel about murder. (Emphasis added.) If I do a reread review of all these later this year, I’ll focus on that.
UK 5 (they won twice with no opposition, but whatever) US 5 (Tour De Force was a cheap win)
Do you agree with my score? Which cover is your favorite?