Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Sarah Gainham, The Silent Hostage (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1960)

No. 3 in a series of posts on books I've bought but haven't got round to blogging about properly – indeed may never get round to blogging about properly – so this will have to do.


What is it?
A first edition of Sarah Gainham's fifth novel, The Silent Hostage, published in hardback by Eyre & Spottiswoode in 1960.

Who designed the dust jacket?
It doesn't have a dust jacket; The Silent Hostage is one of a small number of novels published by Eyre & Spottiswoode around this period that were bound under pictorial laminated boards rather than under the traditional arlin boards with dust jacket (see also from 1960 Colin Watson's Bump in the Night and David West's Wish Me Dead). But in any case, the cover design and photo are uncredited.

Where and when did I buy it?
I believe I bought it on a visit to book dealer Jamie Sturgeon's house four years ago.

Why did I buy it?
As Jamie explained to me at the time, examples of this unusual style of jacketless hardback binding – unusual, that is, for first editions of novels of this vintage – are quite uncommon (there are, at present, only one or two of those aforementioned Colin Watson and David West first editions available online, and only one British first of The Silent Hostage), so that was a factor. Mostly, however, it was because I'm interested in Sarah Gainham – she was a fascinating writer – and especially her early spy thrillersparticularly first editions thereof – and The Silent Hostage was one that I didn't have in first (it is, as already noted, pretty scarce).

Have I read it?
I have not.

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