Tuesday 20 April 2010

The Parker Allison & Busby Editions: Part 2 Delayed

I still intend to get to Part 2 of my guide to the Allison & Busby editions of the Parker novels – part the one here – but it's taking a little time to get it straight in my head, chronologically speaking. See, after the initial eight hardbacks Allison & Busby published in the mid-eighties, with their bold typographical Mick Keates jackets, along these lines:

the publisher changed tack and introduced a new design from the mid- to late-eighties, still by Mick Keates, but accompanied by almost film still/photocopy-like illustrations (some, like on The Outfit, possibly even lifted from the Point Blank movie). Such as this:

Hardbacks and paperbacks of this second wave of A&B editions were seemingly published either in quick succession or possibly even simultaneously, and both hardbacks and paperbacks had the same covers (although adapted slightly for the paperback). I'm unsure about the order they were published and when the paperbacks were published, which is one of the things that's holding me back from doing Part 2. (And by the way, that 1988 hardback edition of The Outfit – and is that Lee Marvin there on the cover? – was the same size as the earlier A&B hardbacks, but the other A&B hardbacks in this second wave seem to have been published at the same smaller size as the paperbacks in this wave. Go figure.)

But there are other issues that are keeping me from doing Part 2. To add a further wrinkle, also at this time A&B started publishing some of their earlier hardbacks in paperback, except in this new style of cover. For example:

That's the 1985 hardback edition of The Man with the Getaway Face on the left, and the 1986 paperback edition on the right. So another thing I don't know is how many of those first eight A&B hardbacks were subsequently published as paperbacks in this new style.

But we're not done yet. Because there's one further iteration of A&B editions, which I think came in in the late eighties/early nineties. These kept the same style as the second wave of A&B editions, but introduced illustrations by Stephen Hall. They looked like this:

I don't think there were many of these, and I believe they were all paperbacks. But to add to the confusion, not only were there completely new editions (for A&B that is) like Deadly Edge, but also paperbacks of earlier hardback editions, like The Sour Lemon Score, which I banged on about in an earlier post today.

These are knotty problems. And that's why I ain't done me Part 2 yet. Even though I know the world is waiting for it, breath bated. Isn't it?

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