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Fiction: Mystery/Detective

Fiction: Mystery/Detective

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Murder Shrieks Out, di Benedetto, Lelia, and Jules E. Harris
41 di Benedetto, Lelia, and Jules E. Harris Murder Shrieks Out
New York House of Field-Doubleday Inc (c.1944) NO Unstated ed Hardcover Good+ 
(no dust jacket) [cheaply-produced book, pages browned (though not brittle), bumping/slight damage to bottom corners (boards a bit exposed), binding splitting (not separated) in middle of book]. Mystery novel, apparently narrated by the murderer. I can find no information on either of these authors, unless the latter is the author (50 years later!) of "Prostaglandin Inhibitors in Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy." Seems unlikely. 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Kill 'Em With Kindness, Dickenson, Fred
42 Dickenson, Fred Kill 'Em With Kindness
Drexel Hill PA Bell Publishing Company NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Good+ dj 
(price-clipped) [moderate shelfwear/scuffing to bottom edges of boards, light dust-soiling to top page edges; jacket edgeworn, with minor paper loss at spine ends, various small closed tears, creases, etc.]. Hard-drinking reporter helps out a private detective trying to solve the murder of the about-to-be-7th wife of a millionaire playboy. A "fast-moving tale of pub-crawling Gotham where a woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a clue." 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Shear the Black Sheep [*SIGNED*], Dodge, David
43 Dodge, David Shear the Black Sheep [*SIGNED*]
New York The Macmillan Company 1942 NO First Edition Hardcover Fair in Fair dj Signed by Author
[ex-rental library book (with large informational stamp of Guild Libraries, Hollywood CA, on ffep), well worn, front hinge starting, etc.; jacket trimmed slightly along top and bottom edges (making it a little bit shorter than the book itself), plus it has a weird horizontal wrinkle/crease all the way across the middle]. Rather weirdly (since it's a rental library book) SIGNED by the author on the ffep. His second novel, also the second to feature his detective creation, James (Whit) Whitney. In this adventure, the San Francisco-based Whitney takes a job in Los Angeles "in a weak moment," unhappy because it means he'll have to break a date with Kitty, "the best-looking girl in San Francisco." Down in nasty old L.A., "Whit tangles with the bad company, gets the punch in the nose he was afraid of, punches a few noses himself, looks into the business end of a gun once or twice, and finds out that Kitty is not the kind of girl who can be stood up with impunity. A lot of other things happen, including a murder, two or three trips to jail for almost everyone concerned, and a New Year's Eve spree in Hollywood's hot spots." Signed by Author 
Price: 30.00 USD
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The House with the Green Shutters [SIGNED and annotated by novelist Reginald Wright Kauffman], Douglas, George [pseud. for George Douglas Brown]
44 Douglas, George [pseud. for George Douglas Brown] The House with the Green Shutters [SIGNED and annotated by novelist Reginald Wright Kauffman]
New York Thomas Seltzer 1924 (c.1901) NO Later Printing Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [a worn but fundamentally sound book; bookplate on front pastedown, biography of author (probably from the jacket flaps) affixed to rear pastedown along with a small vintage bookseller's label (Brentano's, New York); see notes regarding annotations]. The Scottish author's first and only novel, a mystery (listed in Hubin) originally published in 1901, a year before his death at age 33. An influential realist work, it has remained in print for most of the intervening time. While by no means a rare book, this copy is of special interest due to the interesting and informative annotations by novelist Reginald Wright Kauffman (1877-1959), which cover the front endpapers and also appear intermittently throughout the book. Kauffman, who has signed and dated his comments (November 1924), recalls having been "among the first of American reviewers to praise [the book]," and states that he later read it a second time -- but not a third, "because I can't forget it - and it frightens me." He also notes that it was "the first book that represented the reaction against the Victorian modes and moods [and that] it sprang from the very soul of its young author," about whom he further opines: "Perhaps, had he lived, he might outrank today all the others." Signed by Notable Personage, Unrelated 
Price: 50.00 USD
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The Gambler, the Minstrel, and the Dance Hall Queen [*SIGNED*], Downing, Warwick
45 Downing, Warwick The Gambler, the Minstrel, and the Dance Hall Queen [*SIGNED*]
New York E. P. Dutton & Co. (c.1976) 0-8415-0439-3 / 9780841504394 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj photo) Peter Clemens Signed by Author
[nice tight clean copy, just the faintest trace of wear to bottom edge; jacket shows mild surface wear, one tiny tear at bottom front corner]. SIGNED by the author (signature only) on the title page. His second novel to feature Joe Reddman, a Denver-based private investigator. Signed by Author 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Bookman's Wake, Dunning, John
46 Dunning, John The Bookman's Wake
New York Scribner (c.1995) 0-684-80003-9 / 9780684800035 4th printing Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Corsillo/Manzone 
(NOT a book club edition) [mild shelfwear, spine slightly turned, light soiling to page edges; jacket shows a little edgewear, minor rubbing, slight wrinkling at spine ends]. "The rare-book angle gets to Janeway every time." Nuff said. 
Price: 8.00 USD
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American Tabloid [*SIGNED*], Ellroy, James
47 Ellroy, James American Tabloid [*SIGNED*]
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1995 0-679-40391-4 / 9780679403913 First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Chip Kidd Signed by Author
[good solid copy, light soiling to page edges, one turned-down top page corner (short diagonal crease); jacket shows only some insignificant handling wear]. INSCRIBED with a typical scrawled Ellroyan epithet ("Blood Blast!" or, possibly, "Blood B lust!") and SIGNED by the author, on the second half-title page, additionally dated in the year of publication. Ellroy broadens his canvas, getting outside of L.A. to write a novel set "behind, and below, the scenes of JFK's Presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination -- in the underworld that connects Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C. -- where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy." Signed by Author 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Detour at Night; an Inner Sanctum Mystery, Endore, Guy
48 Endore, Guy Detour at Night; an Inner Sanctum Mystery
New York Simon and Schuster 1959 First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) H. Lawrence Hoffman 
[pages browned as typical with S&S books of this era, otherwise just minimally shelfworn, with very slight bumping to top corners; jacket shows just a trace of soiling to the rear panel, very shallow chipping at top of spine]. Mystery/suspense novel about a hitchhiking former linguistics professor (now an accused murderer on the lam) who finds himself back in the very town -- Devon, Indiana (not its real name) -- where his troubles began. The novel is written in the first person, and while I won't be so bold as to call it "Nabokovian," I can't help but think that V.N. would have recognized a kindred spirit in G.E.'s protagonist, who seems to spend an inordinate amount of time musing on word origins, syntax, and so forth. A random example from page 60, where he goes off on a tangent about "reduplication": "And the history of such words! 'Mumbo jumbo' from an African tongue. 'Tohubohu' from Hebrew. 'Jimjams' from American slang. And 'pall-mall,' or 'pell-mell,' from an Italian game played with a ball and a mallet! And 'holus-bolus' from Latin. A universal phenomenon, reduplication." Endore was a lefty novelist and screenwriter, whose movie career pretty much ended after he was blacklisted circa 1950. (His last major feature credit was on the somewhat ironically-titled 1951 film TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.) 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Methinks the Lady..., Endore, Guy
49 Endore, Guy Methinks the Lady...
New York Duell, Sloan and Pearce (c.1945) NO 3rd printing Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj) Kuttner 
(price-clipped) [light shelfwear, very slight bumping to a couple of corners; jacket slightly faded at spine, light wear to extremities]. Psychological mystery/suspense novel about "a lost soul, a woman bedevilled by her other, evil, self" (i.e. a distaff Jekyll & Hyde yarn). Basis for the 1949 Otto Preminger film noir WHIRLPOOL, starring Gene Tierney and Richard Conte. 
Price: 35.00 USD
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The Night Before Murder (A Clue Club Mystery), Fisher, Steve
50 Fisher, Steve The Night Before Murder (A Clue Club Mystery)
New York Hillman-Curl, Inc. 1939 NO First Edition Hardcover Good in Fair dj Illustrated by (dj) [Carl] Cobbledick 
[solid book with not much actual wear, BUT: (a) its one-time owner went absolutely bonkers with his ownership rubber-stamp, using it on all endpapers, the bottom edge, and a couple of other places; and (b) the dust jacket, heavily worn, is firmly glued down at the flaps]. Early mystery novel by Fisher, as he was still clawing his way up out of the pulps (his breakthrough novel, "I Wake Up Screaming," was just two years in the future), about a washed-up actress whose life "had become dull, barren and incredibly stupid, and [who] had become obsessed with the idea of death. So she decided to commit a murder!" Great opening line: "If Mrs. Rhea Davis had not been sleepless and miserable it is entirely possible that the idea of committing a murder would never have occurred to her." 1939 was also the year Fisher moved to Paris, although he soon returned after a couple of his stories were sold to the movies; he went on to a lucrative career or so as a screenwriter, while continuing to crank out novels on occasion, often with a Hollywood or showbiz background. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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Winter Kill, Fisher, Steve
51 Fisher, Steve Winter Kill
New York Dodd, Mead & Company 1946 First Edition Hardcover Fair in Poor dj Illustrated by (dj) Hoffman 
[a reading copy only: ex-rental library, typical marks, heavy shelfwear; jacket heavily worn/rubbed, trimmed by about 1/4" at both top and bottom edges, flaps glued down, all in all pretty rough]. 
Price: 10.00 USD
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All the Skeletons in All the Closets, Fowler, Keith
52 Fowler, Keith All the Skeletons in All the Closets
New York The Macaulay Company (c.1934) NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj 
[light wear to binding at ends of spine, otherwise a clean and solid book; jacket edgeworn, with some chipping and minor paper loss in the vicinity of the spine ends, wrinkling and a bit of shallow chipping along top edge, ditto wrinkling at bottom of front panel]. Mystery novel centered around "New York's swankiest and most murderous scandal sheet" -- a magazine called "The Social Arbiter," essentially a not-too-subtle blackmail operation dedicated to fleecing the well-to-do. A contemporary reviewer observed that the book was "written in the frankest kind of Broadway idiom [and] abounds in off-color wheeze, wisecrack and innuendo not advisable for perusal by the prim." The author is lauded (in the jacket blurb) as "a new star in the literary skies!", but it must have been a shooting star, for this appears to have been his only book -- although, given the publisher, it's not unlikely that "Keith Fowler" was a pseudonym. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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Hell Street, Franklin, Max (pseud. for Richard Deming)
53 Franklin, Max (pseud. for Richard Deming) Hell Street
New York Rinehart & Company Inc. (c.1954) NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj desing) Lawrence S. Camp 
[solid, clean book, with minimal shelfwear, slight browning at page edges, small and very faint dampstain on top edge; jacket shows virtually no wear, with just a little browning around the edges of both flaps, and a tiny bit of what might be insect-chewing at the top corner of each flap]. A tale of an honest cop framed by organized crime, in order to protect the city's vice district. Supposedly set in a recognizable American city - - the jacket copy says that the author's previous novel was set in St. Louis, and that this one takes place in "another Mississippi Valley city." 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Hammersmith Murders, Frome, David (pseud. for Zenith Jones Brown, aka "Leslie Ford")
54 Frome, David (pseud. for Zenith Jones Brown, aka "Leslie Ford") The Hammersmith Murders
Garden City NY Doubleday, Doran & Company, for the Crime Club 1930 NO Later Printing Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj 
[good solid book, some light foxing/staining to bottom edge and fore-edge of text block; jacket soiled along edges of flaps, slight dog-earing at spine ends]. Brown's third novel under her "David Frome" pseudonym, the introductory mystery featuring "Mr. Pinkerton," and a Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. The book itself bears the Crime Club imprint and endpaper logos, but no edition statement (hence a later printing), and the dust jacket is Grosset & Dunlap; while it's not in the most fantastic condition you'll ever see, any jacketed copy of this important book is mighty hard to come by, period. 
Price: 300.00 USD
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The Dark Page, Fuller, Samuel Michael
55 Fuller, Samuel Michael The Dark Page
New York Duell, Sloan and Pearce (c.1944) 2nd printing Hardcover Very Good in Good dj 
[solid copy, very slight fraying to one top corner, small embossed previous owner's stamp on ffep and half-title page, fading to cloth at very top of spine, a handful of "puncture wounds" (small indentations) in spine; jacket shows general wear, and has been tape-repaired and -reinforced at several points, including a brown-paper-tape patching of half-inch paper loss at top of spine (partially affecting title)]. What might be called Fuller's "breakthrough" novel (after a couple of cheapie efforts in the 1930's), a slam-bang mystery set in the New York tabloid milieu where the screenwriter/director had cut his pulp-narrative teeth. The rear jacket flap features a photo of Fuller in uniform, with a self-written bio that sounds like a dispatch from the front: "You can tell them I'm 32, started running copy on the old New York Journal in short pants, was Brisbane's copy boy, which I'd rather have been than president. He predicted I'd develop into a 9th grade reporter. He was right. Worked on now-buried Graphic as police reporter, and on San Diego Sun as a waterfront reporter. Wrote a few novels, wrote about a dozen yarns for the screen in Hollywood. Am now a corporal in the United States Army." By Fuller's own account -- barely fictionalized in "The Big Red One" (book and film) -- he first encountered his own novel in published form in Europe, shortly after D-Day, when he observed another GI reading the Armed Services paperback edition. The book was filmed in 1952, as SCANDAL SHEET -- but not by Fuller, who was simultaneously at work on his more personal paean to the newspaper biz of an earlier day, PARK ROW. 
Price: 400.00 USD
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Lamaar Ransom, Private Eye, Galloway, David
56 Galloway, David Lamaar Ransom, Private Eye
London/Dallas John Calder/Riverrun Press 1979 0-7145-3686-5 / 9780714536866 1st (unstated) Hardcover Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Charles A. McMahan 
[a very nice copy, tight and clean with no discernible wear; jacket shows just a tiny bit of surface wear]. Chandler-esque detective yarn with a gender-twist: the title character is a lesbian, who "runs her detective agency -- an agency with a difference -- from a run-down office in the Cahuenga Building of Los Angeles, keeping the wolf from the door with $25 expenses and a sharp line in wisecracks." According to the jacket blurb, the book "has more tantalising false leads than 'The Big Sleep,' a more involved plot than 'Farewell My Lovely,' and a private eye with more wit and wits than Philip Marlowe himself." 
Price: 15.00 USD
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The Canvas Coffin, Gault, William Campbell
57 Gault, William Campbell The Canvas Coffin
New York E. P. Dutton & Co. 1953 First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Paul Galdone 
[ex-lending library book, stamped on endpapers but no other markings; book is mildly shelfworn but still a solid copy; jacket is attractive but with two problems: one, the flaps have been firmly glued down; two, the jacket was trimmed by about 1/8" at the top and 3/16" at the bottom, to fit inside one of those old-style jacket protectors; that jacket cover has now been removed and replaced with a mylar wrap-around, which makes the volume quite presentable, since the jacket itself is quite clean, albeit a bit wrinkled due to the presence of the paper backing (which couldn't be removed), and except for the presence of a small lending-library sticker on the front panel]. The author's third novel, a hard-boiled tale about a middleweight boxer who is implicated in the murder of a woman who he had taken home after a party -- but he was so punch-drunk that he can't remember whether he killed her or not, so he sets out on his own investigation. "Staged against the racketeering, merciless background of the prize ring this is a frightening and menacing tale of a fighter's struggle to prove his own innocence. With barely a clue to tell him how and where to begin, Luke Pilgrim has to find an answer which will lead him to his freedom or brand him as a murderer." 
Price: 40.00 USD
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Double Jeopardy, Goldsmith, Martin M.
58 Goldsmith, Martin M. Double Jeopardy
New York The Macaulay Company (c.1938) First Edition Hardcover Good+ 
(no dust jacket) [decent copy, front hinge cracked but not separated, light dampstaining and a few small white marks at bottom of front cover (interior of book not affected), slight fraying at bottom front corner]. Very scarce first novel by the author of "Detour," exploring the question of whether "it is possible in this day of enlightened justice for a man to be punished twice for the same crime." (A very nice facsimile dust jacket can be had for this book, from another source.) 
Price: 125.00 USD
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Double Jeopardy, Goldsmith, Martin M.
59 Goldsmith, Martin M. Double Jeopardy
New York The Macaulay Company (c.1938) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) "Sargent" 
[nice square copy, a few tiny nicks to cloth at edges, a little wear at spine ends, long-ago seller's price lightly rubber-stamped on rear endpaper; jacket shows a bit of edgewear, teensy paper loss at a couple of bottom corners, one-inch closed tear at top front hinge]. Very scarce first novel by the author of "Detour," exploring the question of whether "it is possible in this day of enlightened justice for a man to be punished twice for the same crime." 
Price: 600.00 USD
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A Person Shouldn't Die Like That, Goldstein, Arthur
60 Goldstein, Arthur A Person Shouldn't Die Like That
New York Random House (c.1972) 0-394-47230-6 / 9780394472300 First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) David F. Holzman 
[spine turned, some spotting to page edges, mild wear to bottom edge and spine extremities; jacket faintly soiled, one tiny closed tear at top of front panel]. A mystery "in which seventy-two-year-old Max Guttman, a Lower East Side Jew, finds a body." This was the first of several Max Guttman mysteries. 
Price: 20.00 USD
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