I had hoped to purchase less books this year, but I did not achieve that goal. In addition to finding several books I have been seeking for years, I also found a treasure trove of vintage paperbacks with lovely covers. That was very unusual for this book sale and I could not resist.
This post features a mix of books -- books I have been looking for, books I bought mainly for the covers, books I was happy to find ...
Gold Comes in Bricks
Last year, J. Kingston Pierce did a post at Killer Covers on vintage paperbacks featuring butterfly chairs. Since that time, I have been wanting a copy of this book by A. A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner). The cover illustration is by Robert McGinnis.
Farewell, My Lovely
This novel by Raymond Chandler, published in 1940, is the second in the series featuring private eye Philip Marlowe. I purchased two paperback editions of this book at this year's book sale, but the one I was happiest with has cover art by Tom Adams. That illustrator may be best known for his Agatha Christie paperback covers, but he also created several covers for Raymond Chandler's books.
I have been looking for this book forever. I had read most of the books in the Henry Gamadge mystery series by Elizabeth Daly and at one time I was only missing three of them, this one plus Murders in Volume 2 and The Book of the Dead. I found all of them but this one and it continued to elude me. This is the second book in the series.
This is a comic novel by Donald E. Westlake. According to what I have read, it does not truly fit in the crime fiction genre, but I am sure it is close enough for me. Brother Benedict has his own page at Clerical Detectives. I read the first two pages and I know I am going to love this book.
This is the first book in the DKA Files series by Joe Gores. I have been looking for it for years. I had a copy of the fourth book in the series (32 Cadillacs) but did not want to start there. This year I found this book plus the 2nd and 3rd book in the series. They are all book club editions, but that is fine. It means that they have nice easily readable print and I can finally read a book by Joe Gores.
This book is the first of a series featuring the City Watch and Samuel Vimes, part of the Discworld series of books by Terry Pratchett. Since I am a newbie to the Discworld books, I will borrow this description from an article on Comic Crime from the Whodunit? Mystery Bookstore in Canada. (The article also has comments about other authors of comic crime, including Donald Westlake, Charlotte MacLeod and Norbert Davis.)
Pratchett has created his own universe – the Discworld – in which the medieval jostles with the modern, magic rules, and strange creatures abound. One of his several series – there are nearly fifty novels in all – focuses on the police force – the “Guard” – of the Discworld’s major city, Ankh Morpork. Like most in the modern real world, this city is growing rapidly, as immigrants come to it looking for work. In the Discworld’s case, the newcomers include other species: wizards, witches, elves, dwarves, werewolves, goblins, golums, and others. The man in charge of policing this lot is Samuel Vimes, arguably the most completely realized cop in the Raymond Chandler mode since Philip Marlowe himself.
Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers (Macmillan, 1980)
This definitely falls in the category of serendipitous find. I have looked for this mystery reference book edited by John M. Reilly off and on for years, but whenever I found it online I never was sure what I would be getting or if it was worth the price. Then at the book sale, there it was in a stack labeled Anthologies. It has 1568 pages providing "detailed information on more than 600 English Language writers of mystery fiction" plus two appendices on 19th century English writers and on foreign language authors. For three dollars.