What is it?
A British first edition of James Barlow's spy thriller The Hour of Maximum Danger, published in hardback by Hamish Hamilton in 1962.
Who designed the dust jacket?
Where and when did I buy it?
Now you're asking. I think I bought it in the Arundel branch of the Kim's chain of secondhand bookshops, although it could've been in the late lamented Dim and Distant in Heathfield. Either way it was a good two or three years ago.
Why did I buy it?
Mostly that dust jacket, a splendid Braque-like effort by Val Biro, of which Val noted when I showed it to him the year before he died: "An artist keeps his eyes open to what's happening in the art world, and I was quite taken by this kind of abstraction." But the fact that the novel's a spy thriller – and an intriguing one at that – also helped sway me, plus Barlow's writing is well liked in some quarters.
Have I read it yet?