Friday 11 June 2010

Parker Progress Report: And We're Done (Er, Almost)

And so my quest to collect all of Donald 'Richard Stark' Westlake's Parker novels comes to a close, with the arrival of this:

A 2007 UK hardback first edition of the penultimate Parker novel, Ask the Parrot, published by Quercus. So I now have every single one of the twenty-four Parker novels.

Except... I'm not quite done yet. For one thing, another of my cheapo Amazon punts has gone slightly astray: this copy of Ask the Parrot has turned out to be ex-library, which the seller didn't mention. It's also got the first page – or rather front endpaper, where libraries usually glue their issuing leafs – torn out. Fucktastic. I've just found another cheapo copy, which hopefully this time won't be ex-library. Harumph.

And there's also the matter of the editions I have of the Parker novels. I have multiple editions of some of them, but I'm still missing a few key hardbacks I'd like to own, mostly Allison & Busby ones: The Jugger (even though I've already got an Allison & Busby paperback of it...), The Rare Coin Score (er, despite already having three Coronet paperback editions...), The Black Ice Score (again, already got an A&B paperback of this one, but y'know...)... And then there's the thorny problem of Deadly Edge, which I have in a 1990 A&B paperback, but which I'm not sure was issued in hardback in the UK (it might have been, in 1992, but I can't say for definite), so I'd have to get a first edition US hardback, and those are a bit pricey. (I almost got me hands on one of these on eBay recently, but the internet crashed on me and I lost out. Ooh, you should've heard me swear that day.)

And I'm still debating whether to pick up the two Stark-penned Alan Grofield novels I'm missing, The Dame and The Blackbird. Sigh. It never ends, does it?


  1. You need the two missing Grofield books because you know that your Stark collection would be incomplete. You would not be able to look at your shelves and not notice the missing books even though you have amassed a truly wonderful collection. (Maybe some updated photos soon?) You will always be aware of the hole in the middle of your collection. It will keep you awake at nights. You'll think about it at work. Not having them - it will haunt you. You're a collector - this is what you do.

    I am also reading the Stark books in order (on Sour Lemon now) and have read 2 Grofields. The Dame is better than The Damsel. But it is still not as cool as a Parker novel. Having read regular Westlake novels and most of the Dortmunder books first, I enjoy the Grofield books for what they are (books by Donald Westlake) and don't mind what they clearly are not (super cool Parkers).

    Bottom line: Collect them without the obligation to read them.

  2. "Not having them - it will haunt you"... My god, it's almost like you can read my mind...

  3. Louis: Do you have a scan of the UK cover of Deadly Edge? Prior to reading this, the only UK printing I was aware of was in the first Parker omnibus. I'd love to get my hands on it.

    BG: The Blackbird isn't very good, but it's a quick read. You may as well knock it out on your way to Lemons Never Lie, which can stand proudly next to the best of the Parkers.

  4. I've got a fairly ropey pic from a previous post. I'll stick it up now.

  5. It's up here: