Better weather usually makes for cheerier booksellers and eager spending on the part of the attendees. I know I went a little overboard in spending this year. I'm not divulging the grand total in my spending (except for the price of one terrific find), but I will list and post a few pictures of my haul of books.
They mostly consist of vintage paperbacks. I've rekindled my interest in them now that I have a blog. Several new authors I've just discovered this year only had their work published in paperback so I've been hunting them down for the past few months. I hit gold with one dealer at the fair and also learned they have their own website and will probably be visiting them regularly to add titles by specific authors who interest me.
Here's what I picked up:
Kill Me in Tokyo by Earl Norman (first book in a unique private eye series that will soon be featured on this blog)
The Case of the Beautiful Body by Jonathan Craig
So Young, So Wicked by Jonathan Craig
The Man Who Didn't Exist by Gregory Homes (very excited about this purchase. I now have all the Robin Bishop books and will be reviewing them all in the coming weeks)
The Cheim Manuscript by Richard S Prather
Kill Me Tomorrow by Richard S. Prather
The Time Masters by Wilson Tucker (a sci-fi thriller with detective story elements)
Invasion of Privacy by Harry Kurnitz (AKA Marco Page)
Murder – Very Dry! by Samm Sinclair Baker (A Graphic Mystery. I like the covers on these. Sometimes the writing has an "alternative classic" edge to it and can be unintentionally funny.)
The Case of Mr. Cassidy by William Targ (a reprint with the hard to find DJ)
Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout (a reprint but an actual Farrar & Rinehart book rebound in G&D boards. Includes the rare cookbook found in only a few of the G&D rebound reprints)
Ladies of the Underworld by Netley Lucas (a true crime book that I bought for the previous owner's bookplate which I will be writing about next week)
And the pièce de résistance…
Tainted Power by Carroll John Daly – 1st edition in FINE condition.
I found this at a booth where none of the books were priced. You had to ask the dealer what he wanted for each one. I generally don't like this practice. Often when you show an interest in a book the dealer will make up an exorbitant price tacking on an extra $10 or $20 to what he would normally charge. But for this book I was willing to pay good money.
He said, "That's $15."
"I'll take it!" came my automatic and gleeful reply. And I handed over a twenty dollar bill.
As he gave me my change he told me, "That's a very old mystery novel."
"Yes," I said. "I know. The original hardboiled writer."
"Well, not many people know that," he said.
I agreed with him. "And hardly anyone reads him anymore either," I added.
This little exchange caught the attention of a man to next to me. He asked who it was and I exploded in a rambling speech telling him that Daly was one of the most popular writers in the days of Black Mask, the pulp magazine that pretty much invented the hardboiled school. I also mentioned he created tough guy detectives Race Williams and Satan Hall (although I called him Satan Jones in my excited state). The man hadn't a clue what I was talking about and merely said, "Oh." Well, you try to educate other people and sometimes it just falls on uninterested ears.
When I got home I was eager to discover how many on-line booksellers had copies of Tainted Power. Imagine my shock when I found only two. Both have DJs, one is priced at $1250 and another copy in Otto Penzler's Mysterious Bookshop (which sounds like it's in better condition) is priced at $1750! I was floored. A perfect copy like mine can be priced at 75% of that high end price since it doesn't have a DJ. I think I'll be holding onto this book for a while.