Tuesday 2 February 2010

Latest Arrivals

Rather excitingly, there were two – count 'em, two – packages waiting for me at home yesterday:

That's a first UK edition of Fletch and a first UK edition of Confess, Fletch, the sequel. (And that's my hand holding both.) Except, on closer inspection, Confess, Fletch turns out to be a book club edition. Gah! What was I saying about the internet being trustworthy? Ah well, never mind. It was only a quid, and aside from the "BCA" logo on the case spine (but not on the jacket) and the lack of a price on the front flap, you wouldn't know the difference. It must've been a book club run-on from the first edition, as the inside bears the Gollancz logo and no mention of it being a book club edition. It'll do me. (Unless I change my mind and get another copy... there seem to be a few cheap ones on AbeBooks... no... must resist... that way lies MADNESS.)

As for Fletch, that's definitely a first edition, but it's ex-library. However it's in nice condition, no pages removed, the only evidence of it being ex-library a small "Cumbria County Library" stamp on the copyright page (and it's price-clipped of course). So I'm very pleased with that one. I started reading it last night; I read most of the Fletch novels years ago (borrowed from the library, natch, so those yellow Gollancz covers are very familiar), and re-reading it now it surprised me how close it is initially to the Chevy Chase movie, Fletch coming across in the book as quite the wise-ass. And it is as description-light/dialogue-dense as I remembered.

In other book news, I've got my eye on eBay on a 1949 Penguin edition of Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male, and elsewhere on the web on a 1944 British Publishers Guild edition of the same novel. I'm also toying with getting a first Pan edition of From Russia with Love, and keeping my eye out for old editions of Richard Stark's The Hunter (or Point Blank, as it was first published in the UK to tie in with the Lee Marvin film) and Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me (now made into a film by Michael Winterbottom, of 24 Hour Party People fame). And I'd quite like to get my hands on a copy of Joe Haldeman's The Forever War. It piqued my curiosity when I was working on a book about cult books recently.

On the reading front, I polished off Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island in short order. Really enjoyed it, but without spoiling it, it does leave you with a slight feeling of what I like to call Boxing Helena Syndrome. If you know that film, you'll have an inkling of what I'm on about (although Shutter Island is nowhere near the level of utter shitness that Boxing Helena resides on). Currently I'm reading Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train, which, like many of her books, I initially struggled to get into, but now it's starting to grip. And I've begun another Bond, Moonraker this time, which starts with a great description of Bond's day-to-day office life when he's not on assignment (according to the novel, he only has a couple of assignments a year).

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