Sunday, April 29, 2012

LEFT INSIDE: Inner Sanctum Mysteries Post Card

This I just found two days ago! It was in my copy of Death and the Maiden by Patrick Quentin which had been sitting on my bookshelves for many years until I decided to read it this month. I think I bought the book from Steve Powell who used to run Dunn & Powell Books via mail and online and now sells books in a real store in Maine: The Mystery Cove Bookshop. He has great books! Check out their website.

Quite a fascinating little piece of P.R. from the old "Inner Sanctum Mystery" imprint put out by Simon & Schuster. I have never seen another one of these post cards in all my days of collecting. The jibe about Inspector Pipsqueak made me laugh. Must've been the work of some wiseacre copywriter because the editorial staff at Simon & Schuster didn't disparage the genre. Writers included in the Inner Sanctum imprint throughout its 40+ year lifespan included Craig Rice, Patrick Quentin, Elizabeth Sanxay Holding, Hake Talbot, Hilda Lawrence, Richard Powell, Henry Kane, and Emma Lathen.  And those are just the ones I can read from the spines on my shelves. The Simon & Schuster catalog had a lot of great mystery writers who stayed with the publisher for their entire careers. That doesn't happen any more.

(Top photo can be clicked on to enlarge.  Bottom photo is at full size.)

Publishing history trivia about Simon & Schuster found at their website:  They were the first publisher to allow stores to return unsold books for credit; they invented the paperback book with their Pocket Books, the first American mass market paperback line that sold for a quarter a piece; they also launched Little Golden Books, a juvenile book imprint that sold 2.7 million books in the first year alone. As for the Inner Sanctum imprint, here is the legend of how it got its name. It has nothing to do with the radio show.
The Inner Sanctum was a term first used at S&S in 1930 when a certain room at the House became a hang-out for staffers who played Ping Pong, sorted mail, hosted after hours cocktails and exchanged ideas. Soon, The Inner Sanctum became quite famous in publishing circles and the term became identified with the company. Max Schuster and Dick Simon decided to use the name Inner Sanctum in the chatty advertising columns they ran in Publishers Weekly and The New York Times.


  1. Fascinating. I don't remember these at all.

  2. John: Thanks for a great post about a subject of which I did not know anything. It would be fun to have one of those cards as a souvenir.