It's been nearly two years since I last devoted a post to William Haggard, an author fellow spy novelist Anthony Price once memorably described as "more right wing than even me!" But though I haven't written about Haggard at any length for a while – and in truth am not planning to do so now either – I have been quietly collecting cheap first editions of his Colonel Charles Russell spy series when I see them. I must have acquired another five since I posted this cover gallery in 2011, and it so happens that three of them meet the criteria for my recently established British Thriller Book Cover Design of the 1970s and 1980s gallery (in which I'd already deposited a pair of Haggard covers: The Bitter Harvest, 1971, and Yesterday's Enemy, 1975) – i.e. they're thrillers, and they were published in the '70s. And since as of Friday British Thriller Book Cover Design of the 1970s and 1980s needed just three books to bring the number of covers therein up to 110, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to blog about them, however briefly. And they are:
The Old Masters, the fifteenth instalment in the twenty-six-book Colonel Russell series, published in hardback by Cassell in 1973, jacket design by Design Practitioners. I can't recall now where I bought this copy – or indeed an increasing number of the secondhand books I've bought over the past few years and then stowed on my 'to-blog-about' shelves. I have a feeling I got it from Eastbourne's excellent Tome (where secondhand books are two pound a pop), so for the sake of expediency let's just say that is where I got it, and that I got these ones there too:
The Scorpion's Tail, the sixteenth Colonel Russell novel, published in hardback by Cassell in 1975, jacket photograph by Michael Lyster and further credited to the Zoological Society of London, and:
The Poison People, the eighteenth Colonel Russell novel, published in hardback by Cassell in 1978, dust jacket uncredited. Interesting thing about this one is, as noted by commenter 'faithful researcher' in March last year, the plot hinges on the death of a chap named Harry Maxim – which makes ones wonder if perhaps Gavin Lyall read Haggard.
I've loads more additions to British Thriller Book Cover Design of the 1970s and 1980s lined up, but next I'm turning to another writer of '70s spy fiction – of the televisual variety.