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Fiction: Mystery/Detective

Fiction: Mystery/Detective

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The Dark House in Florissant, Kauffman, Reginald Wright
101 Kauffman, Reginald Wright The Dark House in Florissant
Philadelphia Henry Altemus Company (c.1927) First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj) John Drew 
[binding solid, moderate wear to book at extremities, tiny vintage bookseller's label on rear pastedown; jacket has tiny tears and a bit of paper loss at most corners (Popular Fiction Series) Series Murder mystery set in Geneva, Switzerland; issued in this publisher's "Popular Fiction Series." Kauffman was a prolific author of all sorts of fiction, from serious social-issue material to magazine fluff. 
Price: 50.00 USD
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The Amazing Web, Keeler, Harry Stephen
102 Keeler, Harry Stephen The Amazing Web
New York A.L. Burt Company (c.1930) NO Reprint Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [good sound book, slight fading to spine cloth, one-time owner's signature on front pastedown, 1931 gift inscription (non-authorial) on ffep, light soiling to top edge]. Was there ever a Harry Stephen Keeler book that wasn't an "amazing web" of one sort or another? He was infamous for his astoundingly complicated and convoluted plotlines, rife with unusual characters and connections and coincidences that often defy not just logic but time and space as well. (In this instance, although much of the action takes place in contemporary Chicago, the trouble can be traced back several centuries, to a feud between Captain Kidd and another sea captain.) You really haven't lived until you've experienced a Keeler novel. 
Price: 30.00 USD
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The Box from Japan, Keeler, Harry Stephen
103 Keeler, Harry Stephen The Box from Japan
New York E. P. Dutton & Co. 1932 3rd printing Hardcover Fair 
(no dust jacket) [ex-lending library book, considerable shelfwear (fraying to cloth at extremities, external soiling, etc.), library label on front pastedown, jacket flap text glued to ffep, "MAY CO." in white letters on spine; hinges are a little weak but NOT cracked or split; soiling to page edges but generally clean inside]. Typically whacked-out Keeler classic, this one a whopping LXXII chapters (with titles like "The Gentleman in Cannibal Land," "Televisic Claret vs. Televisic Cardinal," "Oley Olson Does a Yob!", etc.) in 765 pages . A New York Times critic once remarked that all the author's novels were "written in Choctaw." 
Price: 75.00 USD
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Thieves' Nights: The Chronicles of DeLancey, King of Thieves, Keeler, Harry Stephen
104 Keeler, Harry Stephen Thieves' Nights: The Chronicles of DeLancey, King of Thieves
New York E.P. Dutton & Co. 1929 5th printing Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket, although the front panel of same has been trimmed and affixed to the ffep) [moderately worn copy, light bumping/fraying to bottom corners, portion of jacket text affixed to front pastedown, small stains on a couple of pages]. "This is Mr. Keeler's most breath-taking achievement....full of unexpected denouements in startling succession, so that the reader has the experience of waking up from dream within dream"; in amongst this fervid dreaminess unfolds "the legend of Bayard De Lancey, King of Thieves, whom lesser thieves feel honor to have known." "Here Mr. Keeler's genius for the mystery-plot comes into an amazing perfectness." (And doesn't a phrase like "amazing perfectness" make you suspect that Keeler also wrote his own jacket blurbs?) 
Price: 55.00 USD
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Counterfeit Gentleman, Kelland, Clarence Budington
105 Kelland, Clarence Budington Counterfeit Gentleman
New York Dodd, Mead & Company 1960 (c.1956) NO First Edition Hardcover Good in Very Good+ dj 
[suspected ex-library book, although no marking as such; however, the ffep has been removed (always a suspicious sign) and none too neatly, resulting in the half-title page also being partially detached and the weakening of the front hinge; otherwise a decent enough copy, with small tape marks at top and bottom of both covers, spine slightly turned; the jacket is quite nice, clean and attractive despite having been a little bit irregularly trimmed along the top edge, and consequently a tiny bit shorter than the book itself]. "When Artemus Baldwin knelt beside the bullet-ridden corpse in the Arizona desert and carefully extracted a wad of money from the dead man's mouth, he could have done without a witness as inquisitive as pretty Jick Roche. She made it hard for him to keep on pretending he was just a casual guest at a society picnic, especially when he had to pocket one of the bills -- a counterfeit one. If Artemus was anxious to have Jick think he was a perfect gentleman, he was even more eager to have the local underworld take him for a fugitive Chicago gunman. A Secret Service agent on the track of a gang of counterfeiters, Artemus knew his best chance of catching the racketeers was to join them." 
Price: 20.00 USD
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If I Die Before I Wake, King, Sherwood
106 King, Sherwood If I Die Before I Wake
New York Simon and Schuster 1938 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [moderately shelfworn, bumping to spine ends, front hinge a little weak, small piece torn away from fore-edge of title page, vintage bookplate on front pastedown, small label on ffep from Junior League of Washington D.C. Circulating Library (but no other markings to indicate ex-library status), tiny dent in top of rear cover, gilt spine lettering a little rubbed but fully legible]. Mystery novel about a young sailor who gets mixed up in a murder plot. Basis for the delirious 1948 Orson Welles film THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. 
Price: 250.00 USD
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The Affair of the Heavenly Voice, Knight, Clifford
107 Knight, Clifford The Affair of the Heavenly Voice
New York Grosset & Dunlap (c.1937) NO Reprint Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [a solid book, very light wear at extremities, slight fading to spine cloth, minor dampstaining to bottom edge, colorful vintage bookplate on front pastedown]. "A hair-raising tale, set on a lonely headland of California, and solved by the same Huntoon Rogers," the "amiable but colorless amateur sleuth" (per Jon L. Breen) who debuted in the author's previous, Red Badge Prize-winning novel "The Affair of the Scarlet Crab," and went on to solve sixteen more "Affair" mysteries, mostly set in the American West or Southwest. The plot of this one concerns "a school for mystery writers operated by a burnt-out novelist in her palatial home on the California coast, [and] includes much discussion of detective-story construction." Anthony Boucher once described Huntoon Rogers's sleuthing technique as "sitting around for 70,000 words and then bluntly accusing a man who kindly confesses." It might be noted that although he lived and wrote primarily in Los Angeles, there is no record of a single one of his two dozen novels being made into a movie. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And maybe it's just because nobody wanted to pay a character named "Huntoon." 
Price: 75.00 USD
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The Ticket Out, Knode, Helen
108 Knode, Helen The Ticket Out
New York Harcourt, Inc. (c.2003) 0-15-100184-7 / 9780151001842 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Claudine Guerguerian 
[lovely book, slight bump to base of spine, no other discernible wear; jacket shows just the tiniest traces of surface wear]. First novel by this ex-film critic, then-wife (now ex-wife) of James Ellroy, a crime novel about "a movie critic for a counterculture rag in Los Angeles" who gets involved with a murder, falls in love with the LAPD detective on the case, and ends up searching for "the victim's missing script [which] tells of another murder, yet another dead woman, in L.A. in 1944." Pretty meta-meta, I'd say. 
Price: 12.00 USD
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109 Komarnicki, Todd Free [*SIGNED*]
New York Doubleday 1993 0-385-46849-0 / 9780385468497 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Whitney Cookman Signed by Author
[mild wear to bottom edge; jacket a tiny bit wrinkled along top edge, some rubbing to rear panel]. INSCRIBED and SIGNED by the author on the title page. The author's first novel, set in New Orleans; the protagonist is a homeless man who gets mixed up in murder. Signed by Author 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Sleeping House Party, Lambert, Elisabeth
110 Lambert, Elisabeth The Sleeping House Party
New York Coward-McCann, Inc. (c.1951) First Edition Hardcover Good in Good dj 
[general shelfwear, spine a bit turned, some soiling to page edges; jacket edgeworn, internally reinforced with brown paper tape at most folding points, a bit of paper loss at top corners, a couple of tiny chips at bottom of front panel, one large chip at bottom of rear panel]. (A Gargoyle Mystery) Series "A racy story of crime in Australia," involving several couples with homes in a beach colony fifty miles from Sydney, and a murder that takes place at a Christmas party. The first mystery novel by this British-born writer, derived from her own radio play of the same name, written several years earlier and broadcast on the BBC. Lambert had worked extensively as a journalist and feature writer in Australia, and had also published several volumes of poetry and "verse plays." Later (as Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz) she became widely known as a culinary writer, specilizing in Latin American cuisine. 
Price: 20.00 USD
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Headed for a Hearse, Latimer, Jonathan
111 Latimer, Jonathan Headed for a Hearse
Garden City NY Doubleday, Doran & Company, for The Crime Club 1935 First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [good solid book, very slight fraying at a couple of corners, a couple of light water-spots on front cover; originally from the Twentieth Century-Fox Research Library (stamped as such on endpapers and title page)]. "With the aid of a lime squeezer, a monkey wrench, a stop watch, and a deep-sea diver, Bill Crane saves an innocent man from the gallows" (all while seldom drawing a sober breath, they might have added). You gotta love Latimer -- he gives it to you straight up, no chaser. The hard-boiled author's second novel (and second Bill Crane exploit), and the first of his to be filmed (in 1937, as THE WESTLAND CASE); I've never seen the movie, but given the track record of director Christy Cabanne (who got his start as a director with D.W. Griffith at Biograph, and had been cranking out routine screen fodder ever since), I doubt that it did justice to the book's sheer screwball nuttiness, especially with the rather dull Preston Foster in the lead. 
Price: 50.00 USD
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The Lady in the Morgue, Latimer, Jonathan
112 Latimer, Jonathan The Lady in the Morgue
Garden City NY Doubleday, Doran & Co. for the Crime Club 1936 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Fair dj Illustrated by (dj) Galdone 
[solid copy, slight bumping to a couple of corners, a couple of small dents (which have rubbed through the cloth) at bottom of front cover; the jacket is in pretty rough shape, heavily edgeworn, paper loss at many edges, extensive old internal and external tape repair, etc. (but looking on the bright side, it's not price-clipped!)]. A hard-boiled screwball classic, the middle entry (and high point) of Latimer's "Bill Crane" series, five goddamn funny books featuring a "slightly alcoholic" private detective, published from 1935 to 1939. Hard drinking is hardly unknown among literary gumshoes, of course, but Crane is almost unique in not being able to hold his liquor -- so most of the time he's either drunk (as critic Art Scott so beautifully put it, doing "most of his detecting, if one can call it that, in a giddy, stuporous fog") or hung over. Made into a bad movie in 1938, which thanks to the Hays Office had practically no drinking at all in it; too bad nobody ever came along to give it another whirl (as John Huston did for "The Maltese Falcon" after two previous Hollywood mis-handlings), or maybe we'd all be taking a little Latimer today, along with our Hammett. 
Price: 200.00 USD
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The Search for My Great-Uncle's Head, Latimer, Jonathan (originally as "Peter Coffin")
113 Latimer, Jonathan (originally as "Peter Coffin") The Search for My Great-Uncle's Head
New York International Polygonics Ltd 1989 (c.1937) NO BCE/reprint Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj) Nicky Zann 
[nice tight copy with mild edge-soiling, top front corner slightly bumped; jacket mildly edgeworn, some insignificant rubbing/soiling]. Reprint of the author's quasi-screwball- dark comedy/mystery, originally published in 1937. 
Price: 7.00 USD
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114 Lehane, Dennis A Drink Before the War [*SIGNED*]
New York Harcourt Brace & Company (c.1994) 0-380-72623-8 / 9780380726233 First Edition Hardcover Fine in Fine dj Signed by Author
[beautiful copy, no trace of wear to either book or jacket]. SIGNED by the author on the title page. His first novel, introducing Boston detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. Signed by Author 
Price: 100.00 USD
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115 Lehane, Dennis Prayers for Rain
New York William Morrow & Co. (c.1999) 0-688-15333-X / 9780688153335 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Bradford Foltz 
[nice tight clean copy, very light shelfwear to bottom edge, NO remainder or other marks; a little surface-scratching to jacket]. 
Price: 12.50 USD
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Eye of the Shadow, Lexander, Ren
116 Lexander, Ren Eye of the Shadow
Ringwood, Vict., Australia Penguin Books Australia Ltd. 1993 0-14-013419-0 / 9780140134193 First Edition Softcover Very Good+ 
[nice and tight, some rubbing to covers, paper-clip indentatation at top of front cover, a couple of pages scrunched at bottom]. Trade PB Paperback original. "Michael Trentham regains consciousness in hospital, blind and with no memory of who he is or how he comes to be there. Is his mind trying to blank out some terrible memory? What sort of person is he? He learns he is the author of an unfinished mystery based on the real-life murder of his publisher. How much of this book is fact and how much fiction? Is the killer really behind bars?" 
Price: 8.00 USD
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Blondie Iscariot, Lustgarten, Edgar
117 Lustgarten, Edgar Blondie Iscariot
New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1948 First Edition Hardcover Good in Poor dj 
Good in Fair dj [book well-worn all around, bumped corners, paper-covered boards frayed at top of spine; jacket similarly worn, missing top 1-1/2" of spine, 1-1/2" x 2" section of surface peeled away on front panel]. The author's second novel, "a grim, sardonic story of London's underworld, of gang rivalry for control of such profitable enterprises as dope-peddling, the dogs, and 'protection.' [The author] takes the reader to police headquarters, to a gang ruler's trial, to barrooms and nightclubs, into hoodlums' conferences, and into the night streets of London where violence flames suddenly. These vivid scenes compose a realistic picture of the jungle in a great city; they tell an exciting story; and they create an arresting portrait of the woman called Blondie Iscariot." 
Price: 10.00 USD
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Sweet Deals [*SIGNED*], Lysaght, Brian
118 Lysaght, Brian Sweet Deals [*SIGNED*]
New York St. Martin's Press (c.1984) 0-312-78081-8 / 9780312780814 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Walter Harper Signed by Author
[nice tight copy, faint soiling to top edge; jacket bright and clean but faded at spine, with a couple of itsy-bitsy tears and associated wrinkling at top of spine]. INSCRIBED and SIGNED ("To my client / _____ -- / Love, / Brian") by the author, inscription dated in year of publication. The author's second novel featuring "streetwise, maverick lawyer" Ben O'Malley, who returns to L.A. from a self-imposed exile in San Francisco, and with his partner gets involved in the search for a wealthy woman's missing husband, and "while bulling his way from the high-powered circles of L.A.'s movie executives and Beverly Hills denizens to the seamier world of Sunset Strip hookers and Vegas casinos, O'Malley uncovers a multimillion-dollar scam and a horrifying secret that threaten the very woman he is trying to help." The author, an L.A. attorney, is described in an on-line source as "one of the nation's most accomplished jury trial lawyers in complex civil, white collar and entertainment business litigation." Signed by Author 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Last One Left, MacDonald, John D.
119 MacDonald, John D. The Last One Left
Garden City NY Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1967 NO Later Printing Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj) Patricia Saville 
[nice solid copy, minor shelfwear, very light browning to fore-edge; jacket shows a little wear along top/bottom edges, minor scuffing/soiling]. "Texas money had gone to the Bahamas by pleasure boat for a dirty purpose. Enough unrecorded cash to change a dozen lives, or end them, and the scent of it was carried on the hot tropic winds. This is a novel about the half-people, the twisted ones who caught that scent and devised a merciless plan, and it is about the whole people, the compassionate ones who find themselves in the way of the brutal mechanisms of greed and are either destroyed by it, or become stronger than before." (Although set in the same Caribbean milieu, this is not a Travis McGee adventure -- although the author does dedicate the book to McGee, "who lent invaluable support and encouragement.") 
Price: 18.00 USD
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Three for McGee [containing: Nightmare in Pink; A Purple Place for Dying; The Deep Blue Good-by], MacDonald, John D.
120 MacDonald, John D. Three for McGee [containing: Nightmare in Pink; A Purple Place for Dying; The Deep Blue Good-by]
Garden City NY Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1967 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) S. Neil Fujita 
[good solid copy, light wear to extremities; jacket shows some wear at edges and spine ends, tiny tear and associated creasing along top edge of front panel, a few small scuff marks on spine, light surface wear elsewhere]. "Three novels about Travis McGee, slayer of dragons and savior of lily-white maidens"; the first hardcover appearance of these three books, all of which were published as paperback originals. 
Price: 100.00 USD
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