Monday, April 09, 2018

The Book Covers of The Detective Club

I think I'm being brainwashed by my own series of blog posts comparing the US and UK editions of books. I never used to pay much attention at all to the covers of books. My mother was the village librarian, and I was her assistant for years before my hometown could legally pay me wages. One of my duties was to select books for the elderly ladies in town who loved light romances written by authors like Grace Livingston Hill. They'd call the library, I'd choose a dozen books for them, and they'd stop by and pick them up. From an early age, my eyes were trained on the spines-- on the titles-- of the books, and they completely ignored the covers. All that early training has taken decades to overcome, but my fortress is crumbling.

The past few times I've attended one of The Poisoned Pen's author events, my eyes have been drawn to a series of books published by HarperCollins called the Detective Club Crime Classics-- reprints of mysteries published during the Golden Age of crime fiction. I've enjoyed looking at the covers so much, I know it's only a matter of time before I break down and buy one. Take a look at some of the covers with me and see if you agree!

The look on her face!

Love this: "The exciting story of a man who was a famous radio announcer by day and a daring thief by night!"

Could he look any more shocked?

That is a menacing shadow!

I shiver just looking at this one!

Reminds me of playing in the corn crib when I was a child. Not a good idea, by the way.

I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley!

Just what is that in his hand??

I like the skull inside the question mark.

If I'm looking up at Big Ben, I'm down in those pitch-dark streets, and I'm getting all nervy!

Which cover is your favorite? Mine is either The Cask or Below the Clock. Which one would you be most likely to buy? I think I'd be tempted by A Voice Like Velvet-- but I'm reverting to my old ways because my decision is based on that blurb above the title, not the cover!


  1. Oh, these are classic covers, Cathy! I love 'em. The one I like best is the one for The Cask.

  2. These are great! I'm glad that you are coming over the to 'cover lover' side. Perhaps the trend of 'facing out' with cover helps. The spines were all we used to see on the library shelf. I too like THE CASK (that hand!), but I also like THE PASSING OF MR. QUINN. The shadow looks a bit like Alfred Hitchcock! LOL

  3. I like A Voice like Velvet and The Passing of Mr. Quinn.

    But they're all so vivid and dramatic. Who wouldn't want to pull one of those books off the store's or library's shelves?

    I remember in my high school days when I read Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe and Perry Mason, my father would buy some paperback mysteries. And the covers would jump right out at anyone picking up the book.

    Some were too graphic with dead or injured women and I stayed away from those. But others, even the Nero Wolfe books, intrigued me.

    1. When my mother took over as librarian in our village in the early 60s, I don't think new books had been purchased since the 40s, and I remember those covers on Rex Stout, Erle Stanley Gardner, etc. And from our forays into local bookstores, I know how vivid those paperback covers could be!

  4. So many of today's covers are boring by comparison.

  5. LOVE these covers, Cathy. Great post. I have a whole slew of these and other vintage covers over on my Pinterest page: Vintage Murder. I just like looking at them and wishing covers today were as vivid and dramatic. :)

    1. I have to ration visits to your Pinterest page, Yvette. I can go there and lose all track of time.

  6. P.S. THE NOOSE and THE PONSON CASE are the only two I've read. Both are excellent. In case you want a hint on which ones to buy. :)

    1. LOL! I see...I added to your TBR pile, so you're returning the favor. Thank you!


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