Wednesday 29 August 2012

Westlake Score: The Sour Lemon Score by Richard Stark (Coronet UK First Edition Paperback, 1969)

NB: A version of this post also appears on The Violent World of Parker blog. Featured as one of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

Interrupting the seemingly interminable signed editions and ephemera, here's a Westlake Score which, for me, completes a particular run of Westlake's Richard Stark-written Parker crime novels:

It's the British first edition of The Sour Lemon Score, the twelfth Parker outing, published in paperback by Coronet Books/Hodder Fawcett in 1969 – the same year as the US Fawcett/Gold Medal first edition. This edition is the fourth of a run of four Coronet printings of the Parkers – which, you'll doubtless recall from this post, followed the Gold Medal printing order in the late-1960s (Coronet and Gold Medal being two wings of the same international publishing company) – which all sport the same (uncredited, sadly) style of cover design and art: white backgrounds coupled with colourful but minimalist illustrations. The Sour Lemon Score was the only one of those four – the others being The Rare Coin Score (Parker #9), The Green Eagle Score (Parker #10) and The Black Ice Score (Parker #11) – that I was still missing, until I chanced across this copy online the other week; you don't often see these pre-"bullet hole" cover design printings of the UK Parkers, so I was pleased to come across it.

And its acquisition means that I do now, I believe, own all of the paperbacks of the Parker novels Coronet issued in the UK before they switched to that aforementioned "bullet hole" design in the 1970s. So how about, for the next Violent World of Parker/Existential Ennui cross-post, a gallery of all of the Coronet Parkers from 1967 (when Point Blank debuted in the UK) to 1970 – including some little-seen reprints...? Ahead of that though, next on Existential Ennui it's time for another signed edition... which is also a Lewes Book Bargain... and boasts a Beautiful British Book Jacket to boot...


  1. Nice cover--maybe a bit misleading, since this is one of the Parkers where he doesn't really have any time for women (unless they can lead him to his money and the guy who took it). Of course, the American Gold Medal edition with the McGinnis cover makes him look like a serial killer. I'm guessing the woman in the bikini is Pearson's girlfriend from the scene at the swimming pool, but that's so not the point, is it? ;)

    A favorite of mine (and many other Parker fans), and you kind of have to wonder why, because it's so atypical. No big elaborate heist. No sex (post-Claire, and Claire isn't in it). Parker just drives from one place to another, talking to people, some of whom end up getting killed by someone other than him--he's like a gumshoe on the other side of the law. And though there's a good bit of violence, Parker--well, shouldn't spoil it for those who haven't read it. So many books in, he can still surprise you.

    Congrats on the score.