Wednesday, January 20, 2016
I Have Agatha Christie Covered!
On my latest prowl through crime fiction book covers, I suddenly wondered what I would run across if I checked the titles of someone who did his/her writing many decades ago. Those books would have gone through many different printings, and each generation would have a different idea of how to make something established look new and fresh.
But I didn't want to do something similar to the post I did for Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. No, I decided to choose one Agatha Christie title and take a look at more recent US and UK edition covers for that title. No cover stroll through the decades.
I chose Christie's 4:50 from Paddington, probably because I'd been in and out of London train stations last September, and I recently concluded my Poirot television watching binge.
Before we go any further, here's the original first edition cover of the book to the right. Nothing special, is it? In fact it made me think of today's trend of bold colors and bold fonts taking over from graphics. Everything old becomes new again, eh?
Here's another little piece of trivia for you:
When this book was first published in the US, its title was What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw. I think I prefer the British timetable title. How about you?
Now it's time to compare those two book covers. Let's go!
One of the things I like about Christie's books is that they feature her signature. I probably wouldn't think it was such a great thing if her signature was illegible, however!
I think I could tell which was the US cover and which the UK without being told. That lavender cover tells us that Christie is "The Queen of Mystery," and that the book is "A Miss Marple Mystery." Not a peep about that on the UK cover. Why? Because if you're British, you shouldn't need to be told. (This would be on par with US covers shouting to everyone how great Stephen King is. They don't. Americans already know this.)
Lavender is an interesting color choice for a cover. Come to think of it though, I've always equated it with old ladies, so it would be appropriate for a Miss Marple mystery. Other than that, the only thing to say about the US cover is that it seems to focus on the timekeeping aspect of the book and its title.
While there is a timekeeping aspect to the UK cover as well, it's off to the side. Taking center stage are the tracks and the oncoming train. Hands down, this is my favorite of the two covers-- from color choice to font choice to word placement to graphics. It also makes me want to get off the tracks because that train is coming straight for me! If I were walking past these two books in a bookshop, the UK cover is the one that would catch my eye.
What about you? Which cover catches (and pleases) your eye the most? US? UK? Neither one? Inquiring minds would love to know!