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Eye Candy for Bibliophiles

Updated: 2018-03-06T20:59:43.154+11:00


Penguin Modern Classics 7–Miscellaneous


This post will display the final books in my Penguin Modern Classics collection, and encompasses authors from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, India, Australia and Russia. The first is Nobel Prize winning novelist,  Elias Canetti’s Auto Da Fé, a book which I remember reading and not liking much, though at Space Age Books, where I worked in the ‘70s, it was something of a best seller. I don’t recall ever reading Karel Capek’s Apocryphal Tales, so how the book ended up on my shelves I haven’t a clue, though it has a great cover with art by Max Ernst. Capek  is credited with creating the term “robot” (in his  novel R.U.R) 1973 edition – “Roter Kopf” by Otto Dix 1975 edition – “Europe After the Rain” by Max Ernst Next, three novels by Joseph Conrad, who is well known as the author of Heart of Darkness, of which I do not have a copy, though I recall reading it way back when. 1965 edition – portrait of Conrad 1963 edition – portrait of Conrad by Walter Tittle   1969 edition – “Evening in Karl Johan Street Oslo” by Edvard Munch The next book is a curious and comical picaresque novel by G. V. Desani titled All About H. Haterr. It is written in idiosyncratic Anglo Indian prose, and tells the story of the  hapless eponymous hero’s  adventures in his search for wisdom and enlightenment. I loved this novel when I first read it back in the early 1970s, so must reread it sometime. 1972 edition – “Two Saints in a Landscape” by F.N, Souza Patrick White, though English born, is acclaimed in Australia as one its greatest writers. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. I must admit that I’m not all that great a fan of his books, and have not, as far as I recall, read any of them, though come to think of it, perhaps I tried to read one of them and didn’t finish it. I have two of them in Penguin Modern Classics editions. 1967 edition  - cover art by Sidney Nolan 1973 edition – “Still Life with Self Portrait” by John Brack The final book in Penguin Modern Classics is We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, a chilling dystopian forerunner and source  of inspiration for Orwell’s 1984. As with just about all of the 1960s and 70s Penguin Modern Classics it has appropriate art work on the cover. 1972 edition – “Suprematist Composition” by Casimir Malevich Next I will present old standard “orange” Penguins of which I have a fair collection, and many have really stylish covers. [...]

Penguin Modern Classics 6–Irish & Latin American Classics


To start with Irish modern classics, there are only three represented in my collection. The first is a 1966 edition of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which I vaguely recall was on the curriculum of my Literature course at university. 1966 edition – photographs from the National Gallery of Ireland The other two Irish novels are At Swim- Two- Birds by Flann O’Brien and Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime and other stories by Oscar Wilde. 1971 edition – “The Bus By The River” by Jack B Yeats 1974 edition – A Private View 1881” by W P Frith As for South American novels I have of course Jorge Luis Borges’ Labyrinths,  my introduction to his work, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez  which was also the first book of his that I read. 1972 edition – “La Havane” by Portocarrero 1977 edition – “Misery of the Peasants by J C Orozco And finally for this post, two novels by Alejo Carpentier, a Swiss born Cuban writer, who was a major influence on  magic realist writers such as Marquez , Fuentes etc. I can’t remember if I ever read the two following novels, Explosion in a Cathedral and The Lost Steps, but these Penguin Modern Classics editions have wonderful surrealist covers. 1971 edition – “Tete Raphaelesque Eclatee” by Dali 1968 edition – “The Great Forest” by Max Ernst The next post will feature a miscellany of nationalities and the last of the Penguin Modern Classics in my personal library. [...]

Penguin Modern Classics 5–American Classics


My modest collection of American writers published in the Penguin Modern Classics series begins with Ambrose Bierce’s ever popular Devil’s Dictionary. We could use some of his scepticism in these politically correct days. William Faulkner is the next in alphabetical order, and I appear to have only his novel Sanctuary in the Modern Classics, though have another of his books in a standard Penguin edition. 1971 edition – “Surprise in the House of Masks” by Facetti 1972 edition – “The Bar” by Bernard Perlin The sublime, in my opinion, F. Scott Fitzgerald is well represented in my library and I have several in both Modern Classic editions and standard editions. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourite books, and I consider it a perfect novel. No one writes party scenes with as much panache as Fitzgerald does. 1968 edition – “Montparno’s Blues” by Kees Van Dongen 1967 edition – cover illustration by Virgil Burnett 1968 edition – “Madame Bonnard” by Pierre Bonnard A  lone Ernest Hemingway collection of short stories is all I have in the Modern Classics, but it has a great cover by Paul Hogarth. 1964 edition – cover illustration by Paul Hogarth Several of  the Penguins in my collection I acquired for the Literature course at University, and I recall Henry James’ Portrait of A Lady was one of the books on the curriculum. The others I no doubt purchased separately after taking a liking to his prose. The ancient editions of Portrait of A Lady and Washington Square have cover illustrations by Philippe Jullian. 1966 edition – cover art by Philippe Jullian 1965 edition – cover art by Philippe Jullian 1966 edition – “Cup of Tea” by Mary Cassat 1966 edition – “Repose” by John Singer Sargent 1969 edition – cover art by Atkinson Grimshaw Next, three classic American novels - Jack Kerouac’s On The Road,  J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men (& Cannery Row) by John Steinbeck. 1972 edition – “The Athlete’s Dream” by Larry Rivers 1969 edition 1973 edition – “Threshing” by Joe Jones I have previously displayed the Berkley paperback editions of  the Edith Wharton novels in my collection. Below are two more published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. 1979 edition – “Portrait of a Lady” by Frank Weston Benson 1974 edition – “The Misses Vickers” by John Singer Sargent Finally for American classics, In The Money by William Carlos Williams. 1972 edition – detail from “Carnaval, 1924” by Francis Picabia Coming up – Irish and Latin American modern classics [...]

Penguin Modern Classics 4 – German Classics


There are only four writers represented in my German modern classics, chief of which is Hermann Hesse. When I was a young thing, I identified with Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf , but these days laugh at my youthful naivety and feel a tad embarrassed about it. Still, I must admit, the Penguin Modern Classics covers are quite extraordinary. I do not have a copy of his novel Siddhartha, but I have a wonderful memory of going to view the 1972 film of the novel to check out its counter cultural credentials for the film distributors (Roadshow)  in their private cinema, before they released it. 1965 edition – cover art by Paul Klee 1972 edition – cover by Paul Klee  “Constructiv-Impressive” 1972 edition – cover “Abbey Under The Oaks” by Caspar David Friedrich Franz Kafka certainly needs no introduction, being one of  the most influential  writers  of the 20th century.  Haruki Murakami, Albert Camus, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, among others, admit to his influence on their work. 1966 edition – cover “Enigma of the Hour” by D de Chirico 1966 edition – “Ruins” by Lotte B Prechner   1967 edition – cover “Hibou” by Max Ernst Alfred Kubin’s best known novel is The Other Side “a fantastic novel set in an oppressive imaginary land”. I’d forgotten I had this book. I vaguely recall reading it back in the 1970s, but can’t remember a thing about it. 1973 edition – cover “Die Lachend Sphinx” by Kubin Finally for the Germans, Thomas Mann, who was  also very popular back in the 1960s and 70s. For some reason I have two copies of his novel The Holy Sinner published in different decades. The most memorable of his novels for me is The Magic Mountain, but I have lost my copy of the book. 1965 edition – cover art by Brian Wildsmith 1975 edition –cover “Ecco Homo” by Lois Corinth 1971 edition – “Selbstbildnis Skellet” by Lois Corinth Penguin Modern Classics will continue with classic American writers. [...]

Penguin Modern Classics 3 – French Classics


It has been decades since I last read most of the books in the Penguin Modern Classics series, so I can hardly remember what they were about. Whether I’ll ever get around to reading them again is questionable. Besides, having been tucked away on bookshelves for so many years, I dare say they would disintegrate upon opening; the glue that holds them together having well and truly dried out. So first up in the French Modern Classics I present ancient paperbacks of Albert Camus. It’s amazing that I can still remember the opening sentences of The Outsider – “ Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure” 1970 edition – cover “R. Duchamp” by Jacques Villon 1968 edition – cover by Michael Ayrton Blaise Cedrars was Swiss born, but became a French citizen in 1916.  I have only one of his novels, that being  Moravagine. 1979 edition – cover “Lucifer” by Thomas Hafner Two early modern classics by well known French luminaries, Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau and Ripening Seed by Colette. I have a large collection of Colette’s books in Penguin editions, but Ripening Seed appears to be the only one I have in the Modern Classics series. 1964 edition – cover image by Jean Cocteau 1961 Edition – no image credit   I must admit that the next book, Le Grand Meaulnes, the sole novel of Alain-Fournier, was a great favourite of mine when I was in my early twenties. It is one book I really must reread before I die. I also have a hard cover edition (in French) with a lengthy introduction and biography of Fournier (in English) by Robert Gibson. 1970 edition – cover “Small Meadows in Spring” by Alfred Sisley The novels of André Gide are well represented in the Penguin Classics series and I appear to have four of them. 1968 edition – cover “Les Fellans” by Van Dongen 1967 edition – cover by Giovanni Thermes     1974 edition- cover “The Reader” by Matisse 1969 edition – cover “The Intellectuals” by T Garbari Thérèse (Desqueyroux) is Francois Mauriac’s best known novel, chiefly for its unusual structure, which uses internal monologues to illuminate the thoughts of the characters. Raymond Radiguet died at the young age of 20, but authored the scandalous (at the time) novel, Devil In The Flesh. Penguin included it their modern classics series in 1971. 1975 edition – cover “Paysage avec personnage allonge” by Chaime Soutine 1971 edition – cover Lithograph by Valentine Hugo And finally for French Modern Classics, Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of the The Little Prince. 1969 edition – cover photo from Arabian American Oil Company Next I’ll tackle German modern classics. [...]

Penguin Modern Classics 2–English Classics 2


I first discovered the writings of Mervyn Peake when Penguin published Titus Groan and Gormenghast in the Penguin Modern Classics series in the late 1960s. It was love at first read, and I went on to collect as many of his books that were available at the time and during the 1970s. Titus Alone was published slightly later in 1970 by Penguin. 1969 edition – cover “Fuschia by Mervyn Peake 1969 edition – cover “Steerpike & Banrquentine” by Mervyn Peake 1970 edition – cover “Irma Prunesquallor” by Peake I have earlier displayed my diversely published collection of books by John Cowper Powys, and here’s another one – Wolf Solent, the book that put him on the literary map in the late 1920s. The Green Child is the only completed novel by literature and art critic, Herbert Read, and is a  mysterious political fantasy. 1976 edition – cover “Entrance to a Lane” by Graham Sutherland 1969 edition – cover “The Eye of Silence” by Max Ernst Stevie Smith was a friend of George Orwell and purportedly based two of the  male characters in her Novel on Yellow Paper on different aspects of his personality. 1972 edition – cover “Self Portrait” by the author Lytton Strachey was of course one of the Bloomsbury Set and penned a number of biographies of famous historical figures. I have two of them… 1975 edition – cover “Queen Elizabeth 1 Portrait” c1593 1975 edition – cover “Florence Nightingale” by J Barrett   Evelyn Waugh is represented in my library by two books, both satires – The Loved One about the funeral business, and Scoop, a satire on sensationalist journalism. 1969 edition – cover “Balcony of Manet” by Magritte 1969 edition – cover by Quentin Blake   I am currently reading Helen MacDonald’s wonderful memoir H is for Hawk which recently won the Samuel Johnson Prize for non fiction. Not only is the book about the training of her Goshawk, Mabel, she also muses on the sad life of T H White and his book on the same subject. T H White is famous for his collection of Arthurian novels assembled as The Once and Future King. 1970 edition – cover is an engraving by Broderick Finally for the English authored Penguin Modern Classics, four novels by notable Bloomsbury Group member, Virginia Woolf. 1966 edition – cover “Red Skirt” by Ceri Richards 1974 edition – cover “Gwen John” by Augustus John     1964 edition – cover “Virginia Woolf” by Vanessa Bell 1968 edition – cover “Self Portrait” by Gwen John Coming next – French modern classics [...]

Penguin Modern Classics 1–English Classics 1


Now I’ve got back into posting, today I bring you the first of the Penguin Modern Classics. I decided to display them by author nationality, so to start off  I present English modern classics. The first in alphabetical order are two books by Arnold Bennett  set in his birth place in the “Potteries” district of Staffordshire. 1967 edition - Victor Skellern – Impressions of the potteries in the 1930s 1971 edition – Victor Skellern Next, the wonderfully exuberant novel about itinerant  artist, Gulley Jimson, titled The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary. 1967 edition – cover “Desire” by Stanley Spencer Two diverse novels, one by Ivy Compton Burnett – A Family and a Fortune – a domestic drama, and the other a war memoir by Keith Douglas, titled  Alamein To Zem Zem 1962 edition – cover by Robin Jacques 1969 edition – cover art by Douglas “Shapes of Derelicts” Ford Maddox Ford’s tetralogy Parade’s End also relates to the second world war and has been called “the best fictional treatment of war in the history of the novel”. It was made into a TV series in 2012. 1982 Edition – cover “The Dispatch” (The Captain’s Dugout)  by Marjorie Watherston Next three novels by E M Forster – Where Angel’s Fear To Tread, Howard’s End and A Passage to India. 1965 edition – cover by David Gentleman 1973 edition – cover “Interior” by Edward De Bas    1973 edition – cover “Marchesa Casati” by Augustus John Coincidently the next two novels  are about children  in unusually liberating  environments – Lord of The Flies by William Golding and Richard Hughes’ wonderful A High Wind In Jamaica, both with great covers. 1967 edition – cover “The Transparent Ones” by Yves Tanguy 1971 edition – cover “View of Roseau Dominica” by I T Caddy Aldous Huxley’s first novel was Crome Yellow in which, so I learn, there are intimations of what was become Brave New World. 1969 edition – cover “Froanna” by Wyndham Lewis To follow, Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood and Arthur Koestler’s Arrival and Departure. 1973 edition – cover “Portrait of Graf” by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 1984 edition – cover byKevin Grey Two novels by women, Rosamond Lehmann’s The Echoing Grove and Olivia by Olivia,  the pseudonym of Lytton Strachey’s sister Dorothy. Interestingly both these novelists had connections to the Bloomsbury Group. 1981 edition – cover “The Tea Table” by Edward Le Bas 1966 edition – cover “Le Lit” by Vuillard I don’t have  George Orwell’s most famous novel 1984  in a Penguin Modern Classics edition,  but I do have Animal Farm with a great cover illustrated by Paul Hogarth. 1968 edition – cover by Paul Hogarth Next post – continuing Penguin Modern Classics – English authors P to W. [...]

Penguin Books–Penguin English Library


If there’s still anyone out there who still reads this blog, my apologies for the hiatus in posts that extend to two and half years. I’ve had good intentions of reviving Eye Candy For Bibliophiles, but somehow never got around to composing fresh posts. Good news! I’ve been scanning books over the past week or so, and have finally scanned most of the Penguin books in my library as well as  the remainder of  books in the general fiction and non fiction categories. So to get back into the swing of things, I’ll start off with my small collection of books in the Penguin English Library category.  They date from the 1960s to 1980s. Penguin has recently revamped the Penguin English Library with new covers and includes authors omitted in the first series. In alphabetical order, Jane Austen is first… 1966 Edition – no image credit 1974 edition  –Plate from Heideloff’s Gallery of Fashion1797-78     1966 Edition – no image credit 1965 Edition – no image credit 1980 Edition – Portrait of Lady Colville by Henry Raeburn ..then come the Brontes. 1966 Edition – portrait of Charlotte Bronte 1961 Edition – artist Paul Hogarth 1966 Edition – illustration by JWM Turner 1971 edition – Chinoiserie at Brighton Pavilion 1973 edition – A Country Blacksmith by Turner     1965 edition – no image credit 1968 edition – The Nightmare by Fuseli     1981 edition – Stonehenge by Turner 1965 edition – no image credit 1967 Edition – no image credit 1967 edition – no image credit 1967 edition – no image credit     1972 edition – detail from Currie & Ivers print in the Mausell Collection 1969 edition – no image credit     1970 edition – no image credit 1972 edition – portrait of a woman by Allesandro Next up I will show my collection from the Penguin Modern Classics series of the 1960s & 70s. [...]

Occult & Horror Fiction 3


I shall polish off the remainder of my collection of occult and horror fiction tonight, starting with a collection of spooky stories written by women. The book is entitled, appropriately enough, Haunting Women edited by Alan Ryan and published in 1988 by Avon. Next, two novels by American SF writer Lucius Shephard, Green Eyes, a quite fascinating zombie novel, and The Golden, Shepard’s take on the vampire genre. Dan Simmons writes novels in a number of genres, Science Fiction and Horror predominantly. I prefer his Science Fiction novels, but in the early days, after I was bowled over by his Hyperion Cantos, I tasted a few of his other novels.  Carrion Comfort draws its title from the poem by Gerard Manly Hopkins, but is in essence a vampire novel. Fires of Eden is set in Hawaii and centres on that island’s history and mythology. The next novel by Michael Talbot is a beguiling, beautifully written vampire novel and is entitled The Delicate Dependency, A Novel of Vampire Life. I loved this novel when I first read it, and still occasionally reread it with pleasure. The edition is an Avon paperback published in 1982. Evangeline Walton is best known for her sequence of books, retelling the Mabinogian, published in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in the 1970s.  She also wrote several other novels, and Witch House is one of them. The edition below was published in 1991 by Collier Books. Who Fears The Devil is a collection of short stories by Manly Wade Wellman, a prolific writer of horror, science fiction ,folk tales and true crime. The edition below was published in 1975 by Star Books. The final book in this collection of occult and horror fiction, is The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton, published by Fawcett in 1976. Coming next – something completely different. [...]

Occult & Horror Fiction 2


There is hardly any information on Julian Gloag, the author of Lost And Found, other than that his best known novel Our Mother’s House was made into  a movie 1967 and starred Dirk Bogarde. Obviously when I was sorting out which books to include in crime or horror, I have allocated Lost And Found as a horror novel. Whether it is, I have yet to discover, as I can’t remember a thing about it, though reading the review in the title link above, it sounds as if it has an intriguing plot. The paperback edition below was published by Pocket Books in 1983. A stray Pelican seems to have attached itself to this category, it being Witchcraft by Pennethorne Hughes. It has a splendid Hieronymus Bosch cover and is a 1966/7 edition. Next, a horror novel by the grand mistress of sf/fantasy, Tanith Lee called Dark Dance the first book in the Blood Opera trilogy. Two more classic novels published in the Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult, the first being The Witch And The Priest by Hilda Lewis, and the second being The Prisoner In The Opal by A. E. W. Mason. And finally for this post, The Dream Detective by Sax Rohmer, best known as the author of the Fu Manchu novels. This large paperback edition was published by Dover 1977. The final entry on occult and horror will be posted shortly. [...]

Occult & Horror Fiction 1


I must admit I am not much of a fan of horror fiction. Call me squeamish if you like, but it is not a genre I would go out of my way to collect. However, I do have a small selection, mostly from the occult side of the spectrum. I don’t mind the supernatural or the spooky at all. First up an interesting supernatural thriller by Thomas Bontly, called Celestial Chess with a striking cover illustration. This Ballantine paperback was published in 1980.   Suzy McKee Charnas is well known for her feminist dystopian trilogy which began with Walk To The End Of The World and is generally referred to as the Holdfast Chronicles. She also penned this superior vampire novel, The Vampire Tapestry. This paperback was published in 1981 by Pocket Books. An Affair of Sorcerers is a novel in George C Chesbro in his Mongo The Magnificent  series of detective novels, so probably this book belongs in the crime fiction section, despite having sorcerers in its title, though the cover image looks spooky. This book was published by Signet in 1979. Another two vampire novels, this time by Nancy A Collins, Sunglasses After Dark, and its sequel, In the Blood. Sunglasses was her first published novel and is an interesting take on the vampire genre, and has a rather stylish cover. There’s a whole series of Sonja Blue novels, but these are the only two I’ve read or indeed possess. I will finish this entry with two old style occult novels, firstly The Witch of Prague by F. Marion Crawford, published in the Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult in 1974,  and  Moonchild by Aleister Crowley in an old 1971 Avon edition. More occult and horror to follow. [...]

Crime Fiction 12


"He was the Poe of the Twentieth century, the poet of the shadows, the Hitchcock of the written word." Francis M. Nevins Jr., Cornell Woolrich historian and biographer. I found the above quote at a Cornell Woolrich fan site and it aptly describes the suspenseful novels of the so called godfather of noir fiction. I did a bit of research on the net before writing this post and came to the conclusion that Cornell Woolrich was obviously a very strange man, as are his books. The editions displayed below were published by Ballantine in the early 1980s. I love the noir retro covers. Cover artist not credited.         That’s it for crime fiction. Next I will be displaying my small collection of occult and horror books. [...]

Crime Fiction 11


It’s back to more conventional crime fiction this evening, starting with Barbara Vine, who is in fact Ruth Rendell  writing under a pseudonym.  Vine’s books are more psychological thrillers than straight out detective mysteries; nevertheless are quite engaging to read. The Miss Silver detective novels of Patricia Wentworth have been compared to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novels, in that Miss Silver is another spinster lady sleuth. I must admit I haven’t read Patricia Wentworth for years, so can’t compare the two. You have probably noticed I have not displayed any Agatha Christie novels. This is because I don’t have any in my library, though I have read a few in the past and watched the television adaptations. Anyway, I appear to have only two Miss Silver novels. And finally for this post, The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White. The Lady Vanishes is well known as a film by Alfred Hitchcock, who adapted the book to screen. The paperback edition below was published by Zebra Books in 1987. I will be concluding the crime fiction shelf next post, with one of the greats of the genre – the noir thrillers of  Cornell Woolrich. [...]

Crime Fiction 10


It is a curious coincidence, that this post on the Judge Dee novels of Robert van Gulik should follow a post on the novels of Janwillem van de Wetering, as the latter, after discovering the books of the former in 1960s, was so taken with them he wrote a biography of Robert van Gulik which was published in 1988. Robert van Gulik, like Janwillem van de Wetering, led an interesting and widely travelled life. He is famous for the Judge Dee novels, a series of novels set in ancient China, featuring the semi-fictional character of Judge Dee who is based on the historical figure Di Renjie, magistrate and statesman of the Tang court. I have a small collection of the Judge Dee novels in my library several published in a uniform edition by University of Chicago Press in 1977, and two large format Dover books. They all contain illustrations by the author.     I am drawing to the end of my crime fiction collection, so should be able to polish them off in the next post or so. Coming next Barbara Vine & Patricia Wentworth. [...]

Crime Fiction 9


Tonight I bring to you the wonderful detective fiction of Janwillem van de Wetering, who wrote a series of novels set in Amsterdam, featuring Grijpstra and De Gier who work as detectives for the Murder Brigade of Amsterdam Municipal Police. van de Wetering had an interesting and adventurous life, which included a stint working for the police, in the Amsterdam Special Constabulary. He was also a practising Zen Buddhist. His novels are quirky with an off beat humour. He died in 2008, so alas no more Grijpstra and De Gier  novels. I have a pretty good collection of his novels, some in British paperback editions, some in US editions.  In chronological order they are as follows:                 I have two hard covers as well – The Mind Murders & The Street Bird which I have previously posted. I’m missing the later novels published in the 1990s. Coming next – Judge Dee, the Chinese mystery novels of Robert Van Gulik [...]

Crime Fiction 8


Well, I seem to have got back into the swing of things, so coming to you tonight is another crime fiction post,  starting with a couple of novels by famous crime writer Dorothy L Sayers these being Busman’s Holiday and Strong Poison, which appear to be the only two of her books I possess and possibly even read. Steven Saylor has written a series of mystery novels set in ancient Rome. I acquired these as I had (and still have) a fondness for Lindsey Davis’ Falco series which are also set in ancient Rome, but under a different emperor (Vespasian). I will not be displaying Lindsey Davis’ books here as I have a complete collection and I can’t be bothered scanning them all.  Anyway, the Saylor novels are set during the time of Cicero and Julius Caesar and are an intelligent, interesting series of historical murder mysteries. Next, a stray non Penguin Julian Symons novel, Death’s Darkest Face, and an ancient (1964) Pan paperback copy of Josephine Tey’s The Singing Sands. And finally for this evening, Japanese suspense – The Lady Killer by Masako Togawa. Coming next – the detective novels of Janwillem van de Wetering. [...]

Crime Fiction 7


Moving on with crime fiction, the first book in this post is The Tanglewood Murder by Lucille Kallen, another Hamlyn Whodunnit publication. Lucille Kallen sounds like she was quite an interesting lady - the only woman in the celebrated gang of brilliant, zany comedy writers behind Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows." Check out the link above to read more about her. H R F Keating’s Inspector Ghote novels I have mentioned previously in the Penguin Crime posts. Here are two more, published by Hamlyn in their Whodunnit series. Ngaio Marsh is a name you don’t hear much about these days, but she was a very popular writer in the 1950s and ‘60s.  I haven’t read her books for decades, but a few of her novels are still floating around on my bookshelves. Mystery Cats is an oddity, a collection of short stories featuring cats in crime fiction. It has a rather snazzy cover. Back to standard crime detection, or perhaps not… Edith Pargeter writing as Ellis Peters set a series of detective novels in 12th Century England featuring the unconventional Brother Cadfael as the medieval shamus. Pargeter was a prolific writer and wrote twenty Cadfael novels in all . I appear to only have the first of them in my library – A Morbid Taste For Bones first published in 1977. And finally for this post, A Trail of Blood by Jeremy Potter, another historical mystery novel dealing with the fate of the princes in the tower. It’s a rather good novel - I certainly enjoyed rereading it fairly recently. Potter was a member of the Richard III Society, so certainly knew the history of the period. More crime fiction will follow shortly. [...]

Crime Fiction 6


To continue with crime fiction, first up tonight are two novels in the Lovejoy series, written by Jonathan Gash pseudonym of John Grant, a medical practitioner. Lovejoy is an antiques dealer, and on the side engages in a spot of detective work. The books were made into a television series in the 1980s. They make for a light-hearted, entertaining read. Next, another Hamlyn Whodunnit, this time by old style crime novelist Michael Gilbert. I have read only one novel by American noir detective novelist Stephen Greenleaf,  Bookcase, and I suppose you can guess why I was attracted to it. It’s quite a good novel as a matter of fact and the paperback has a great cover. Dorothy B Hughes is another old time hard boiled detective  writer. Several of her detective novels were made into films, and starred such leading lights as Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield & Robert Montgomery. I have her three best known novels in uniform paperback editions published by Bantam in 1979. And to finish this post, a lone non Penguin Michael Innes novel, Appleby on Ararat. This novel is one of his most eccentric stories and highly amusing. This edition was published by Perennial Library in 1983. More crime fiction to follow [...]

Crime Fiction 5


No,I haven’t forgotten my promise to keep ‘ em coming regularly, so here for your bibliophilic pleasure are the detective novels of singing crime novelist Kinky Friedman. Kinky writes in his own idiosyncratic style replete with one liners and political incorrectness and a big heart. His books, starring himself as the intrepid investigator, are entertaining and funny to say the least. You can now buy them in ebook format directly from his site. I notice a few I haven’t read there, so might avail myself of the opportunity to complete my collection. Without more ado, here is my incomplete collection. I’m missing the first Faber omnibus, which I actually managed to get signed by the Kinkster when he was touring some years ago. Who knows who I loaned it to, but I wish they’d give it back.         More crime fiction coming soon. [...]

Crime Fiction 4


To get on with crime and mystery fiction, first up is The Chelsea Murders by Lionel Davidson. It’s not a bad read this book, set as it is in a literary part of London, and having a fiendishly clever plot. It was serialised for television in 1981. Who now remembers the quirky detective novels of Delacorta? Delacorta was the pseudonym of French writer Paul Odier.  He wrote a series of novels featuring adolescent heroine Alba, who with her protector Gorodish, solve unusual crime cases. Diva, the first of the Alba & Gorodish novels was made into a very popular film in 1981.  I have three of the novels, two published by Ballantine and one by Penguin. Dig the blurbs! Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, needs no introduction as his novels have all been dramatised in a popular television series. I read the novels long before they were televised, and have a small collection of them.     To wind up this post – two novels by James Ellroy – The Black Dahlia  and Blood on the Moon.  Ellroy’s neo noir style didn’t really appeal to me, but I know other people who regard his novels as really first rate. Perhaps I should give them another go. Coming next, the crazy detective fiction of Kinky Friedman. [...]

Crime Fiction 3


Bless me Blogosphere for I have sinned. It is six months since I last posted on Eye Candy For Bibliophiles. My first act of contrition, after a few hail Marys, will be to continue on with my crime fiction collection, in particular a set of Sherlock Holmes novels by Arthur Conan Doyle. The set was published by Ballantine Books in the mid 1970s. Cover art is not credited.         Next, an omnibus by Australian crime writer Peter Corris, starring his Aussie style hard boiled detective Cliff Hardy.  This edition was published in1986 by Picador. A few more Edmund Crispin mysteries… these editions published by Mysterious Press in 1984. And finally for crime writers whose names begin with “c”, A Leaven of Malice by Clare Curzon, a Hamlyn Whodunnit, probably published in the late 70s or early 80s Having taken the plunge, I will endeavour to post more regular updates on this blog, perhaps even tomorrow. Anyway, coming next – more crime fiction from authors whose names start with ”d”. Come to think of it, Conan Doyle could have been catalogued under this letter. [...]

Crime Fiction 2


Surprise, surprise! I am again at a loose end this evening before retiring to read more of Neal Stephenson’s latest novel Reamde, which I have been enjoying immensely and trying to eke out as long as I can. So, to continue with detective fiction, firstly with the novels of Nicholas Blake , the pseudonym under which Cecil Day Lewis penned detective novels. His prime detective is Nigel Strangeways, based originally, according to Wikipedia, on the poet W. H. Auden. He’s rather effete I thought when I recently reread one of the books The Widow’s Cruise it was.  Still the books are civilised and quite readable.     Gore Vidal , author of many mainstream novels, wrote several detective stories under the name of Edgar Box. I appear to have only one of them – Death Likes It Hot with a rather good cover. Starring Inspector John Coffin, Gwendoline Butler’s mystery novels are first class – suspenseful and gripping page turners. I collected a number of them in various editions, displayed below.     And to finish this post, a stray Raymond Chandler novel – The Lady in the Lake, Pan edition published in 1979. Coming next – Sherlock Holmes [...]

Crime Fiction 1


How time flies when you’re not doing much in particular. I noticed today that my last post on this blog was back in early September. Tonight finds me at a loose end so I will start posting on my general crime/detective fiction collection. Alphabetically as usual I will start with the crime novels of Lesley Grant Adamson who has written sixteen novels in this genre, her first being Patterns in the Dust published in 1985 by Faber. I remember her novels as being quite good, so much so that I collected them for a time, but appear to have only three of them on my bookshelf. Joan Aiken, sadly no longer with us, was well known as a children’s book author, but she also tried her hand at other types of literature, crime fiction being one of them. I have only Blackground, which is characterised by her wonderful quirky style. Another grand dame of crime fiction was Margery Allingham who wrote many novels, most of them featuring her literary detective Albert Campion of which the following is one. Next, a curious collection of omnibus editions under the imprint of Black Box Thrillers published by Zomba, quite a rarity these days I assume. They have great faux retro covers.     I will continue this thread soon with the crime novels of Nicholas Blake, Edgar Box  and Gwendoline Butler. [...]

Crime – Penguin Crime 4


I might as well polish off the last of the Penguin Crime novels in my collection in this post. To start, the detective novels of Julian Symons, who wrote over thirty crime novels over a period of 51 years. I have only a small collection of his books, and even though it is many years since I’ve stuck my nose in them, I remember them as superior crime fiction.     Josephine Tey was the nom de plume of Elizabeth Mackintosh, who also wrote plays under the pseudonym of Gordon Daviot. Her detective novels still stand up today. The most famous of them is The Daughter of Time, an investigation into the guilt or otherwise of the much maligned King Richard III. Below is my ancient (1964) Penguin edition of the book.   The Franchise Affair is based on the true story of Elizabeth Canning who falsely accused two innocent women of kidnap and abuse.  Bratt Farrar concerns false identity and like all Tey’s mystery novels is well worth reading. Robert van Gulik is famous for his Judge Dee mysteries set in ancient China. I have quite a few of the Judge Dee novels in other editions, so The Emperor’s Pearl is my sole Green Penguin edition. It was published in 1966. The Hazell crime novels were written as an off shoot from the Television series of the same name.  Published under the name P. B. Yuill, the books were a collaboration between Gordon Williams and Terry Venables. The following editions were published in Penguin in the late 1970s. And finally for Penguin Crime a collection edited by Michele B Slung, Crime On Her Mind featuring female sleuths.  It was published in 1977. Coming next is the rest of my collection of detective novels in various editions. [...]

Crime – Penguin Crime 3


I have been remiss again. So much for retirement from the work force, I seem to be busier than ever with trivial distractions. But to continue with Penguin Crime, here is the next instalment… P. D James is well known in the field of detective fiction, particularly for her Adam Dalgliesh detective series of which I have quite a few, all published by Penguin. Firstly two omnibus editions, the first obviously featuring Adam Dalgliesh. Trilogy of Death comprises two Cordelia Grey mysteries and  general crime novel, Innocent Blood. The following are more Adam Dalgliesh novels. P D James also wrote a quite interesting dystopian novel The Children of Men, which I will display later. The detective novels of H.R.F. Keating are set in India, his detective character being Inspector Ghote of the Bombay CID. It is remarkable how many detective novels are set in unusual locations and periods. I suppose it adds a certain exoticism to the storyline. These Penguin editions date from the mid 1970s. Also set in the exotic location of Berlin during the Nazi ascendancy , Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels are of the hard boiled Raymond Chandler type. The first three of the Bernie Gunther series are available in the omnibus edition Berlin Noir which comprises the three novels March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem. A friend loaned me the collected edition, and I desultorily tried to collect the individual volumes, hence the sole copy of A German Requiem in my library. Back to more conventional crime locales with the novels of Hilda Lawrence. There’s not much about her on the web, but I recall not minding these novels at all. Next Mad Hatters Holiday by Peter Lovesey. This appears to be the only one of his books I have. It’s an old Penguin edition published 1981. Margaret Millar is an American Canadian crime writer, who is married to fellow crime novelist Ross MacDonald. It is years since I last read the two novels below, so can’t really remember what they were like, but they sound quite interesting from the blurbs on the back. And finally for this post, Edwin of the Iron Shoes by Marcia Muller, which was her first novel featuring female sleuth Sharon McCone and was published by Penguin in 1978. There are only about a dozen or so Penguin crime novels left to display. I’ll try and get them out of the way soon, then tackle the rest of my crime and mystery collection. [...]