I have two mystery sections – one being the paperback section, the other being the hardcover section. Some of us enjoy the paperback editions the most – handy for their portability, one can pick up the sleuthing where one left off at the drop of a hat. Some paperback mystery fans are in it for the alternatingly exquisite and/or lurid vintage cover art versions made available to consumers over the decades. Others enjoy the solidity of a hardcover, or again the hardcover preference may come from the thrill of encountering the unmistakable panache of dustjacket art of a bygone decade.
Now I find myself turning to the previously neglected (by me) titles -- Tommy and Tuppence Beresford books like N or M?, or other fun capers like Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? With this range of tastes in mind, I do my best to carry as many of the Christie titles as I can at any given time, a tricky challenge at best! While many arrive in paperback format, I also try to stock as many hardcovers as I can as well, to allow fans of that format their own selection. I even have some Christie titles in French! The wide variety of editions of Christie’s books alone are enough to keep a collector occupied for most of a lifetime.
|3 Dell Christies: A Mapback, a 1960s cover, & another earlier cover!|
My book madness was definitely influenced by John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway books, and recently refueled by Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s Club Dumas.
Most recently, I finally found my way to the noir detective stories of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I knew all along that chances were excellent that I would love them, but somehow in all those years I had never gotten around to perusing their pages.
|One of Tom Adams' great|
1970s Raymond Chandler covers
Within the first year of the opening of the Green Hand Bookshop, I was sold an epic vintage mystery library that had been gathered over decades, read and re-read lovingly by the owners. I am still sifting through its volumes and discovering authors long out of print who sound absolutely fantastic. Among the boxes, I have stumbled across such treasures as Mr. Jelly’s Business and other obscure Arthur Upfield titles, and numerous examples of antiquated and quaint turns of phrase and dialogue, which I adore. There is nothing quite like the slang and colloquialisms of the first half of the twentieth century to entertain the anachronistic among us.
For reference, here is a partial list of some of the many authors I try my best to keep in stock in the Green Hand’s mystery section:
John Dickson Carr
Arthur Conan Doyle (and all his followers)
Erle Stanley Gardner
Jan Willem Van de Wetering
Robert van Gulik
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This is the first article in what I hope will become a long series of articles, each focusing on a different genre of fiction or category of non-fiction as found on the shelves of the Green Hand Bookshop. This series of spotlight features serve to hold a candle to niches within each section that in some cases might be overlooked. Each piece is painted for the reader purely out of love for its subject matter.