Thursday, February 15, 2007

Recent Acquisitions.

I love my books. Although my collecting tastes are eclectic, the following volumes - all recently acquired - show that there are patterns in my habit.

What do I like to collect?

Lawrence Block (about 140 volumes)
Fredric Brown
R. Austin Freemam
H.C. Bailey
Ellery Queen
Jacques Futrelle

Dwight V. Babcock
Doubleday Crime Club
Dell Mapbacks
Any mystery/crime novel with a Lewis Carroll allusion in the title (this started after I read Fredric Brown's Night of the Jabberwock).

I also have quite a few volumes of Rex Stout, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Ed McBain, but so many of these are paperback reprints, so I'm not sure they're in the same ballpark. I have a lot of books by the three MacDonalds (Philip MacDonald, John D. MacDonald, and Ross Macdonald).

I came across this paperback of George Bagby's Mysteriouser and Mysteriouser, in which the Alice and Wonderland statue in Central Park plays prominently. Bagby is a pseudonym of Aaron Marc Stein's. I also have the hardcover first of this, which incidentally is a Doubleday Crime Club volume.

I met and had dinner with Bill DeAndrea at the Seattle Bouchercon in 1994. We corresponded briefly until his death a few years later. I liked him and his books, of which I own most titles. He wrote two books under the name Philip Degrave, Unholy Moses and Keep the Faith, Baby. I recently replaced my paperback (Paperjacks ©) copy with this Doubleday Crime Club first.

Larry Block has written under many pseudonyms, some that I'm sure he's rather forget about. While at Left Coast, I picked up two paperback firsts written under the name Paul Kavanaugh

Here are a few recently found Crime Clubs. Doubleday began publishing books with the Crime Club symbol (a composite of a guy with a gun, a guy falling, and the letters C-R-I-M-E) in 1928, and continued into the 1990s. Ellen Nehr was the authority on these for many years. After her death, Bill Deeck took up the mantle. I'm not sure if anyone is keeping up with the scholarship these days.

Anthony Berkeley's Silk Stocking Murder was published during the Crime Club's first year.


The Crime Conductor by Philip MacDonald, was published in 1931. Philip was the only one of the MacDonalds to be British (although he moved to California in the 1930s. He is probably best known for The List of Adrian Messenger and The Warrent for X.


H.C. Bailey wrote volumes of short stories featuring the cherubic physician Reggie Fortune. He also wrote numerous novels featuring a sly lawyer named Joshua Clunk. Bailey may be difficult reading for modern tastes, but a brilliant writer. Shadow on the Wall was the first novel-length "Reggie Fortune" story to be published.

Future blog postings will focus on Futrelle, Babcock, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

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