Monday, June 6, 2011

Printer's Row Book Fair - June 4 & 5

The Printer's Row Book Fair was this past weekend. It's an annual event here in Chicago in the summer and draws quite a crowd when the weather is good. For the first time in the past three years it didn't rain. To be honest, there were a few sprinkles late Saturday afternoon, but the deluge of rain that ruined the fair for three straight years (and cost several booksellers quite a bit of money in damaged books) was nowhere in sight.

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:

Vintage Paperbacks
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 knew this to be an exceptionally scarce book. I was astonished how gorgeous the book was. The top stain was still bright green and there wasn't a trace of dirt or soil anywhere on or in the book. It was like it had just been printed. I had to have it.

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.


  1. Nice haul here, especially the Daly. I have dreams of running across a book of that rarity. My luck doesn't run that way, though.(sigh)

  2. I have 32 Shell Scott books and you find 2 I don't have. Darn!. The cover on that Craig SO YOUND SO WICKED is hot stuff.

    Congrats on Tainted Power. Of course you'd want the DJ if such had existed, even in fair condition, and one wonders if it was poor enough the seller dumped it to get more (ha!). Would you ever consider putting a reproduction DJ on a book like this?

    It certainly seems you have a wonderful time. I wish I could have been there, tagging along. You might have had to tussle with me over that Wilson Tucker book. By the way, did it have a DJ?

  3. Furthermore, I've been trying to get my hands on a VG or F copy of Cheim for a while.

  4. I think I will get a facsimile DJ for Tainted Power. Mark Terry who owns Facsimile Dustjackets LLC has one for this book and I like the work he does. Maybe I can finagle a deal with him if I send him scans of some of the rare DJs I have. I hear from others that he sometimes will do that.

    The Time Masters is the Signet paperback. I didn't put up a picture since it's fairly well known book in the PB format. It's the 3rd one I've found, and I had wanted to read it for years but I kept selling each copy before I could get to it. Now I can. Strange that you mention a DJ for that book. I actually did find the first edition hardcover with a DJ of Tucker's book last year and put it up for auction on eBay thinking it would generate a lot of interest. But no dice. I did sell it but only for the minimum bid. And it went to - Bill Pronzini! He buys so many of my books I should just open a website for him to browse and shop.

    After I read The Cheim Manuscript I'd be more than willing to give it to you, Rick. I'm not big on keeping paperbacks. Except for Dell Mapbacks which I really love. I usually read and then sell them. It's in superior condition. I'd call it FINE with no hesitation.

  5. You got some gorgeous vintage books! I love the cover art for Kill Me in Tokyo, how fantastic. I am one of the ones who hasn't read Carroll John Daly, I'll have to put him on the TBR list.

  6. Eeee! You have at least two of the Shell Scotts that I haven't found yet!

    I went to Printer's Row once when I was in Chicago. I'm so jealous. I remember being completely blown away. Alas, I was a starving student at the time, so didn't return. Now, I realize that food is a temporary thing, whereas a good Prather lasts forever.