Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another Road Trip, Another Book Haul

The lovely mess of Choctaw Books
(rare book room through the archway at left)
Just returned last night from the annual road trip to the south. This year, at my insistence, we traveled to Florida via Mississippi and Alabama, two states I had yet to set foot in. I figured there had to be a few interesting old bookstores in Mississippi with its rich Civil War history and being the home state of several literary giants (Faulkner and Welty come immediately to mind). Well, the book hunting there was pretty darn sad for most of the time. It was only at the very last stop where everything brightened. A shop I was thinking would be mostly nonfiction based on its decidedly Native American name of Choctaw Books held a jackpot of vintage mysteries.

For those who live in the area I highly recommend Choctaw Books located at 926 North Street in Jackson, MS. The place is a chaotic mess - just the way I like used bookstores. Often you need to literally dig through some of the piles. But thankfully there was a room devoted solely to mystery books where everything was shelved alphabetically. I had little need of a shovel in there.

Below are the books I found there as well as a few choice titles picked up in Florida.


  1. John: Glad you found an interesting bookstore.

    I did not realize Modesty Blaise was a mystery series. She is a unique sleuth.

  2. Oh it sounds like you had tons of fun, John. Geez, again I wish upon a star for a used bookstore in my neck of the woods.

    You know Dorian is doing a film post on the Edward G. Robinson version of the book you're showing. WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. Coincidence.

    I haven't heard of any of the books you purchased so I await your reports. All I know about Modesty Blaise is that it was a movie.

    P.S. I just finished THE MUMMY CASE MURDER. It was a lot of fun.

  3. Bill -

    The covers of most of the Modesty Blaise books tend to focus on her physical attributes. She was dubbed the "female James Bond" by some not very well read critic, but nothing could be further than the truth if you read the books. The only thing they have in common is espionage and action. She owes more to the hero pulps of the 40s than she does to Bond. She started out as a British comic strip.

    Yvette -

    I've seen the WOMAN IN THE WINDOW several times and like it a lot even if the ending is an utter cop out. I've never read the book - the original title of which is ONCE OFF GUARD (seen in very small type on the DJ). Couldn't resist buying this with the DJ. There are more stills from the movie on the rear panel.

  4. Congrats on your new acquisitions, John, and if I ever choose to live a life of crime; your home will be one of the first places I will burglarize. ;)

    I have to warn you for Wright's Strange Murders at Grey Stones. It's not one I have read myself, but I remember a very scathing review that was posted over at the Mystery*File Blog.

  5. If anything goes missing I'll know where to point the authorities. Though they may find it hard to believe the culprit lives in another country. :^)

    Too late comes your warning - I read the first half of Elsie Wright's book while I was on vacation and it's truly wretched. It comes off as a very bad JUVENILE mystery. The writing and plotting are at that level. It will get its own little scathing paragraph in an upcoming post I'm calling "Digging Myself Out of the Depths." Just guess what it's about. I do like that weird staring green eye on the DJ, though.

  6. Nice haul!

    The Modesty Blaise newspaper comic strips are well worth reading, by the way. I launched the most recent series of collections (I say recent; it's nearly ten years ago now) at Titan and oversaw the initial ones. I interviewed the late Peter O'Donnell for the first few volumes, at his home in Brighton. Lovely man. Idiotically, I forgot to take those volumes with me when I left Titan. C'est la vie.