Following on from that signed and inscribed association copy of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley Under Water I blogged about last week, I thought I'd post a bunch more inscribed books, all of them relatively recently acquired. Some are books by authors I've been well into for a while and have written about on Existential Ennui before; some are by authors I've discovered in the last year or so and who consequently will be making their Existential Ennui debuts; one or two are association copies, i.e. inscribed to notable folk associated with the author or to fellow writers; and some simply sport inscriptions which are in some way intriguing. Like this book:
The 100 Kilo Club by Simon Gandolfi, published by Wildwood House in 1975, dust jacket design by Richard Ward – said dust jacket now added to the British Thriller Book Cover Design of the 1970s and 1980s gallery, being, as it is, a classic of the form (briefcase, banknotes – rolled into spliffs in this instance – and a small stack of cannabis resin, no less). The story of an international game of cat-and-mouse between FBI agent Patrick Nolan and a dope dealer named Pleasure, it was Gandolfi's second novel, following 1965's Even with the Shutters Closed. He went on to pen five spy thrillers in collaboration with Alistair MacLean – the Trent series, published from 1992 to 2000 – and more recently a travelogue, Old Man on a Bike, detailing his own exploits as a septuagenarian motorcyclist making his way across South America. Indeed it's his peripatetic inclinations which seem to have inspired the inscription in this copy of The 100 Kilo Club.
It reads: "For Nick and Sue in loving memory of eight hundred fleas, one couch, one dog and a French au pere [sic]." As tantalising as that is, though, just as curious is what's written on the rear endpaper, possibly even in the same hand:
A telephone number for La Fonda on the Plaza hotel in Santa Fe. Make of all that what you will.*
I bought this copy of The 100 Kilo Club off book dealer Jamie Sturgeon, one of a handful of inscribed books I've acquired from Jamie over the past six months (typically at the Lewes Book Fair), some of which I'll be showcasing down the line. Whether or not I'll ever get round to reading this one is a moot point, but I have read the next inscribed book I'll be blogging about: a 1958 spy thriller written under a pen name by Peter George.
* Or simply read the comments to this post.