May 112014
A collection of maternally themed dust jackets (plus one pulp magazine) for Mother's Day.

1st UK edition

1st US edition

1st UK edition

1st US edition

 Posted by at 5:53 pm
May 192013
Throughout last month and this month I've been buying a bit more than I thought I would. Most of these were acquired for $2 or less at book sales throughout the Chicago Area. Some came from New Orleans used and antiquarian book stores when I was on vacation back in April. And a handful were purchases done over the internet from one source or another.

Click on images to enlarge. Enjoy!

 Posted by at 4:22 pm
Dec 022012
After a few weeks of relatively balmy late fall weather the temperatures are finally plummeting, frigid wind is blowing off Lake Michigan and it's only December 2. We may not be in the bleak midwinter just yet but it sure feels like it in my neck of the woods. Fittingly, today I post a few mystery novel versions of the approaching season of ice and snow and high heating bills.

Click to enlarge each photo for better detail.

 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Jul 292012
For a change I've done a post based on the DJ artist rather than a theme or motif in the deisgn. In my brief research I learned that Vera Bock not only was a DJ artist for the "Crime Club" imprint from Doubleday, she was a noted children's book illustrator and WPA poster designer. More about her work and life can be found here.

In addition to the Crime Club DJs I knew of I went hunting the interweb for as many other examples as I could find. I thought she was primarily a surreal artist, but it turns out she had many moods as you can see for yourself.

 Posted by at 2:51 pm
Jun 092012
Nick Jones at his blog Existential Ennui posted several striking examples of Patricia Highsmith dust jackets on the far better UK editions of some of her books.  I think the artwork on A Game for the Living, a book she has personally called her worst effort, is exceptional.

In response I'm posting some rather uninspiring examples of typographic DJ art (something I'm not a fan of) and some simpler examples of dust jacket illustrations on Highsmith's American editions. These all appear on the first US editions of her books, nearly all of which came after the UK firsts.

The contrast in DJ art design is radical.  Once upon a time US DJ art was evocative and vibrant and attractive.  Here are some early examples of what how DJ art devolved (in my opinion) when post-modernists and digital designers entered the realm of jacket illustration.

And just for the hell of it I'm adding a photo of her lesbian novel The Price of Salt published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan.

All images can be clicked to enlarge.  Deep Water is already at full size.

Harper & Brothers, 1957
Doubleday / Crime Club, 1964

Lippincott & Crowell, 1980
Knopf, 1974

Knopf, 1992 - Her last novel

 Posted by at 5:03 pm
May 272012
In response to Steve Lewis' review of Murder Wears Mukluks by Eunice Mays Boyd posted a few days ago at Mystery*File I mentioned that I owned all her books in DJ.  But when I went to my shelves I was proven wrong.  Of the three books only two had DJs.  And so here they are with a lovely map frontispiece doing an understudy bit for the missing DJ.

She wrote only three mysteries, all set in Alaska, the first mystery writer I believe who used that state for the primary setting. Her detective character is F. Millard Smyth, a "little mild-mannered grocer."

All of these photos are at the original size, so clicking won't enlarge them this time.

Boyd's first book - 1943
Honorable Mention in the "3rd Mary Roberts Rinehart Mystery Contest"

from Doom in the Midnight Sun - 1944
The book is simply red with titles on the spine only. Makes for a boring photo.

Her third and final book - 1945
 Posted by at 1:48 pm
Apr 012012
Inspired by Darrell's slam review of The Gray Man Walks, an old Crime Club of a book I own and only read a few pages of (wisely it seems), I am posting the DJ of that book and other Crime Club books in my collection. Some seen already, some scarce. Bellaman's book may be "deserving of its obscurity," but I like the Gothic illustration featuring the title character.

Above image is at full size. The photos below you can click to enlarge.

 Posted by at 2:04 pm
Mar 252012
The lovely mess of Choctaw Books
(rare book room through the archway at left)
Just returned last night from the annual road trip to the south. This year, at my insistence, we traveled to Florida via Mississippi and Alabama, two states I had yet to set foot in. I figured there had to be a few interesting old bookstores in Mississippi with its rich Civil War history and being the home state of several literary giants (Faulkner and Welty come immediately to mind). Well, the book hunting there was pretty darn sad for most of the time. It was only at the very last stop where everything brightened. A shop I was thinking would be mostly nonfiction based on its decidedly Native American name of Choctaw Books held a jackpot of vintage mysteries.

For those who live in the area I highly recommend Choctaw Books located at 926 North Street in Jackson, MS. The place is a chaotic mess - just the way I like used bookstores. Often you need to literally dig through some of the piles. But thankfully there was a room devoted solely to mystery books where everything was shelved alphabetically. I had little need of a shovel in there.

Below are the books I found there as well as a few choice titles picked up in Florida.

 Posted by at 6:05 pm