Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Have Nicola Upson Covered!

I'm beginning to think that all you cover junkies are beginning to rub off on me-- I'm paying a lot more attention to book covers than I ever did before!

Want to know what I've noticed about myself recently? On my sidebar I always list the physical book and the eBook I'm currently reading. Lately it's not uncommon for both books to have the same predominant color. A few days ago both books had bright yellow as the main color. Before that it was blue. And before that I think it was green. You'd think I was purposely trying to color coordinate my reading, but I'm not. Many of the books I've read this summer have been chosen entirely at random from my to-be-read shelves. I would never have seen this little instance of serendipity if I hadn't been sharing book covers with you!

This week's book was chosen because I needed the reminder to read the next book in the author's series. (Yes, that's sometimes how I make my selections!) Nicola Upson is the creator of the Josephine Tey historical mystery series. Let's take a look at the US and UK editions of her first book, An Expert in Murder!

The UK Cover:

It's obvious from the stage at the top and "Death Haunts The West End" that the UK publishers chose to emphasize the theatre aspect of the book. The title and author's name stand out well against the black background, too. I've seen other covers done in this style of art-- usually ones set in the Victorian Era featuring lurid tales of nineteenth century murderers. Guess what? I haven't liked a single cover done in this style. It just doesn't grab me. The only thing it has going for it is that the author's name is easily seen, making for a quick snatch-and-carry to the cash register.

The US Cover:

On the other hand, the US cover emphasizes the fact that Josephine Tey is traveling to Cornwall in this book. Once again a black background upon which the title and author's name stand out clearly. In the middle, a black and white photograph of a smoky train station. The book is clearly listed as a Josephine Tey mystery, and there's a blurb from P.D. James: "Nicola Upson has... given us a highly original and elegantly written novel." All in all, although it's much preferable to the UK edition to my novice eye, there's nothing stand-out about it either.  

Take a look at this!

Look what happened when An Expert in Murder went to paperback! I'd swear that the publishers on both sides of the pond fell in love with the artist who does Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs covers! The only thing that really differs between them is the wording chosen. The UK once again goes for the theatre angle with "Death is not a rehearsal..." and the P.D. James blurb reads "A new and assured talent"; whereas, the US cover goes with "A Josephine Tey Mystery" and "A highly original and elegantly written novel."

My Verdict?

If I only had to choose between the hardcover editions, I would choose the US cover. Although it doesn't do much for me, it's much preferable to the UK cover. I also think I'm giving it an edge because I'll be doing a bit of train travel myself in a month or so.

But if I were allowed to choose between all four covers that I've shown you, I would choose the US paperback cover. Why? I prefer the "fine print."

I know some of you are thinking that I'm contradicting myself, and I am. I've said before that I do not like covers that show the back of a woman, as the paperback editions clearly do here. But... there's just something so stylish about that art that I find it difficult to resist!

What Say You?

I've given you a bit more variety this week. Which cover out of the four do you prefer? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Oh, I say exactly the same thing, Cathy. The US cover really gets my attention. I'm just drawn in by it. Fascinating how the paperback came out almost identical on both sides of the pond.

    1. If they all start doing that, I'm out of a feature! :-)

  2. If it had been a choice between the two hardback covers in the store, I'd have passed on both of them.

    I did in fact choose the US paperback when I bought the book, though. The way the woman is standing there, you wonder what she's looking at and thinking--it's like she's poised on the edge of making a choice. And the fact that it says it's a Josephine Tey mystery caught my attention at the time, too.

    1. I'm thinking I had purchased the US paperback version, too, Pepper.

  3. For me this week, the US hardcover. I love that sepia look. It seems very much of the time period and the train is great. That's my final answer. LOL

  4. I actually own the UK paperback version (and have even read it ;-) ) and the cover is one of the things that attracted me. That and the small fact that Nicola Upson was there in front of me talking about the series... LOL!

    1. Just a tiny detail, eh? I envy you a bit for being able to meet her!


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