Friday 14 December 2012

Travis McGee in A Purple Place for Dying by John D. MacDonald: Gold Medal First Printing, 1964; Ronnie Lesser Cover Art

As a wee McGee bonus post in the wake of those Pan paperback editions of John D. MacDonald's first two Travis McGee mystery novels – The Deep Blue Goodbye and Nightmare in Pink – I thought I'd show you another McGee I stumbled upon only very recently:

A Purple Place for Dying, the third of MacDonald's twenty-one books starring retriever of lost (or stolen) stuff, Travis McGee. This copy is the original 1964 Fawcett/Gold Medal paperback edition, which I found in the basement of a Cecil Court secondhand bookshop during a recent sojourn to London, and managed to secure for a hell of a lot less than it's probably worth. Because you see, it's the first printing as well as the first edition, as evidenced by the 40 cent cover price and the presence on the copyright page of the Gold Medal serial number #K1417 (without two dots, which would indicate a second printing):

Considering the Gold Medal edition went through something like twenty-five printings over the next twenty years, to chance across a genuine first printing in a British secondhand bookshop was quite something.

Remarkably, The Deep Blue Good-by (to give it its US title), Nightmare in Pink, A Purple Place for Dying and the next McGee, The Quick Red Fox, were all published by Gold Medal in 1964, with the first three appearing at the rate of one a month. All four – and a handful of later McGees – boast rather lovely cover art by Ronnie Lesser, further examples of whose work can be found on Pulp Covers. And while we're linking, might I direct you to John D. MacDonald Covers, the mission statement of which is: "To create a comprehensive collection of John D. MacDonald bookcovers in one place for the use of collectors, readers, or compulsive completists (you know who you are)." An admirable aim, and yes: we do indeed know who we are.

And I'm staying with Gold Medal for the final paperback post of the year (there'll be further paperbacks next year, but I have the traditional Existential Ennui end-of-year round-up posts to deal with before then), on two early '60s spy novels...


  1. Amazing, aren't they?! I'm a MacDonald nut and a Gold Medal nut (not sure which came first, actually...). I think these editions are astounding...

    (Also the John D MacDonald cover site is truly amazing place...)

  2. (Ain't it just? That's the sort of project I can get behind!)

    I may well switch to the Gold Medals in my McGee collecting. I'm really not keen on the photographic covers Pan went with after Blue/Pink.