Tuesday 3 April 2012

Exclusive First Look at New Titan Books Covers for Three Helen MacInnes Novels: Above Suspicion, Assignment in Brittany and Pray for a Brave Heart

Here's a little Existential Ennui exclusive for you, concerning a spy fiction author who I revealed in January would be returning to print this year: "Queen of Spy Writers", Helen MacInnes. Titan Books, who'll be reissuing MacInnes's backlist beginning in June, have sent me the covers for the initial three MacInnes novels they'll be republishing: Assignment in Brittany (pub date 12 Jun; first published 1942), Pray for a Brave Heart (pub date 12 June; first published 1955) and MacInnes's debut novel, Above Suspicion (pub date 12 July; first published 1941). (Those are all UK pub dates, by the way; the books will be arriving January and March 2013 in the States.)

I'm told the quotes may change for the final versions, but other than that, these are the covers you'll be seeing on the web and in bookshops before too long. They were designed by one of Titan's in-house designers, Julia Lloyd, and they are, to my mind, suitably and pleasingly gritty. Incidentally, while there aren't too many decent reviews of Helen MacInnes's novels available online at present – although I'm sure that'll change once Titan's reissues hit – I did stumble across this thoughtful review of Above Suspicion on the In Which I Read Vintage Novels blog. I also found a couple of interesting overviews of MacInnes's life and career – one at the A Woman Reading blog, the other at the Helensburgh Heritage Trust website.

Anyway: onwards. And for my next post, I'll be staying with the attractive book cover design, as I unveil some new additions to my Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s page...


  1. Presumably the daggers the staff of Newsweek carried had leather loops attached to the hilts.