Friday, July 17, 2009



Instead of a specific author this week, we’re again offering some books in one of the most interesting sub-genres of the mystery world, "Bibliomysteries," which are books about books. They may be set in bookstores or libraries, they may involve collectors, librarians or authors, or they may involve rare books or manuscripts, but, for all of us who love the world of books, these are among the most satisfying books in the field, both for readers and for the many collectors who have specialized in these titles. If you would like to put together your own collection of bibliomysteries, whether reading copies or fine first editions, please make contact with Otto, who would enjoy working with you.

Avantiere, Sylvester (pseudonym of Michael Avallone), The Man from Avon, N.Y., Avon, 1967. First edition. A parody of spy fiction and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. involving the U.S. government’s top UFO expert and the top salesman at Avon. Published as a promotional item and not for sale. Very fine, unread copy. $15.00

Birkegaard, Mikkel, Library of Shadows, London, Bantam Press, 2009. First edition. When Lucas Campbelli dies, his son Jon inherits his antiquarian bookshop. Unbeknownst to Jon, the bookshop has been hiding a remarkable secret for years. $65.00

Bloch, Robert, Out of the Mouths of Graves, N.Y., Mysterious Press, 1979. First edition, limited to 250 copies, numbered and signed by Bloch. Contains "Night School," a short story about a used book store. Very fine in slipcase. $75.00

Block, Lawrence, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, N.Y., Random House, 1980. First edition. Thief and bookstore owner Rhodenbarr becomes involved with a very rare coin and a fence who collects books on Spinoza. Very fine in price-clipped dust jacket. Signed. $35.00

Block, Lawrence, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, N.Y., Dutton, 1997. First of this edition. Very fine in dust jacket. Signed. $19.95Block, Lawrence, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, N.Y., Dutton, 1994. First edition. Very fine in dust jacket. Bookstore owner and burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr is involved with murder and a million-dollar baseball card collection. Signed. $21.95

Block, Lawrence, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, N.Y., Dutton, 1995. First edition. Very fine in dust jacket. Burglary is more lucrative than Bernie’s Greenwich Village bookshop. Signed. $21.95

Block, Lawrence, The Burglar in the Library, London, No Exit, 1997. First trade edition, preceding the U.S. edition. The first issue with misprint of "settle" for "settled" on first page. Very fine in dust jacket. Signed. $100.00

Block, Lawrence, The Burglar in the Rye, London, No Exit Press, 1999. First U.K. edition. A literary agent is auctioning off her personal correspondence with a reclusive author who is outraged by the invasion of privacy but can’t outbid the collectors. Bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr hones his burgling skills. Very fine in dust jacket. Signed. $35.00

Bristow, Gwen, and Bruce Manning, The Gutenberg Murders, N.Y., Mystery League, 1931. First edition. Nine precious leaves of a Gutenberg Bible are stolen from the New Orleans Shelton Memorial Library, leading to murder. Worn reading copy. $10.00

Caldwell, Ian, and Dustin Thomason, The Rule of Four, London, Century, 2004. First edition. In 1999, two Princeton students have been studying one of the world’s rarest books, hoping to unlock its secrets, as scholars have attempted to do for 500 years. When they locate a rare diary, they are almost there, only to have the campus in an uproar when another studier of the book is murdered. Very fine in dust jacket. $125.00

Another copy. First U.S. edition. Very fine in dust jacket. Signed by both authors. $100.00

Another copy. First U.S. edition. Not signed. Very fine in dust jacket. $65.00

Caudwell, Sarah (pseudonym of Sarah Caudwell Cockburn), The Shortest Way to Hades, London, Collins, 1984. First edition. A barrister investigates a murder on Race Day, tracing obscure references to classical literature and finding a critical clue in Book XI of The Odyssey. Fine in dust jacket. $45.00

Clason, Clyde B., Murder Gone Minoan, N.Y., Doubleday, 1932. First edition. Research of archaeological subjects are at the center of solving the mystery. The author provides a two-page bibliography of Cretan culture. Very good. $50.00

Cline, Ed, First Prize, N.Y., Mysterious Press, 1988. First edition. The winner of an important literary prize disappears. Top of pages dusty, else fine in dust jacket, which has a sunned spine. $15.00

Cook, Judith, Keeper’s Gold, London, Severn House, 2004. First edition. Former policeman John Latymer is now co-owner of a bookshop and is offered use of a cottage by one of his customers. While on the vacation, a body is found at an archaeological dig and the local museum curator is missing. Very fine in dust jacket. $27.95

Cross, Amanda, The James Joyce Murders, N.Y., Macmillan, 1967. First edition. A great American publisher dies, leaving a large cache of letters by Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and other major literary figures. Kate Fansler is asked to edit them and becomes involved with murder. Fine in a fine, price-clipped dust jacket. $65.00

Cross, Amanda, Poetic Justice, N.Y., Knopf, 1970. First edition. Kate Fansler is drawn into a murder case during a student demonstration. Helping to solve the crime in poet W.H. Auden. Fine in dust jacket. Inscribed and signed as Amanda Cross and with the author’s real name, Carolyn Heilbrun. $45.00

Cross, Amanda, The Theban Mysteries, N.Y., Knopf, 1971. First edition. Kate Fansler is teaching a course on Antigone when a scandal involving some of her students threatens to ruin the exclusive girls’ school. Fine in dust jacket. $45.00

Curran, Terrie, All Booked Up, N.Y., Dodd, Mead, 1987. First edition. A scholar consults a very rare book on the shelves of the Smedley Library. When he returns the next day, the book is missing, and so is mention of it in the card catalogue and memory of its very existence by everyone on the staff. As he hunts for the book, other rare books disappear, librarians are murdered, and rare books appear on the shelves. A very fine copy in dust jacket. $20.00

Daly, Elizabeth, Death and Letters, N.Y., Mercury, 1950. Digest-size paperback reprint. Gamadge’s bibliographic expertise is vital in a case involving a cache of stolen letters and a woman who has been locked up against her will. Very good. $5.00

Dane, Clemence, and Helen Simpson, Enter Sir John, N.Y., Cosmopolitan, 1928. First edition. A murder in a London theater is solved by means of a neatly rewritten play. Frontispiece. Very good copy. $35.00

Derleth, August, "The Adventure of the Spurious Tamerlane" and "The Adventure of the Haunted Library," two stories in The Casebook of Solar Pons, Sauk City, WI, Mycroft & Moran, 1965. First edition. Very fine in dust jacket. Signed. $150.00

Derleth, August, The Adventure of the Unique Dickensians, Sauk City, WI, Mycroft & Moran, 1968. First separate edition. A parody of Vincent Starrett’s famous Sherlockian pastiche, "The Unique Hamlet." Fine in wrappers. $35.00

Derleth, August, The Adventure of the Unique Dickensians, Sauk City, WI, Mycroft & Moran, 1968. First separate edition. One of only 35 hardcover copies. With a label affixed to the free front endpaper, inscribed and signed by Frank Utpatel, the artist. Very fine and very scarce. $200.00

Derleth, August, The Praed Street Dossier, Sauk City, WI, Mycroft & Moran, 1968. First edition. A short story collection including "The Adventure of the Bookseller’s Clerk." Very fine in dust jacket. $125.00

Dolson, Hildegarde, Please Omit Funeral, Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1976. Book club edition. After a right-wing extremist demonstrates against "dirty" books in the library and burns them, a local author is murdered and she is the prime suspect. Near fine in dust jacket. $8.50

Dunning, John, The Bookman’s Wake, N.Y., Scribner, 1995. Book club edition. Denver rare book bookseller Cliff Janeway is happily buying and selling books when he is asked to pick up a young woman fugitive who may have stolen a priceless copy of Poe’s The Raven. He doesn’t like the job, but can’t resist because of the book. Fine in lightly worn dust jacket. $10.00

Fearing, Kenneth, The Big Clock, N.Y., Harcourt, 1946. First edition. A young woman involved with a large publishing company is murdered by a member of the prestigious publishing house. The basis for the outstanding 1948 Paramount film noir directed by John Farrow, with a screenplay by Jonathan Latimer; it starred Ray Millan and Charles Laughton. It was remade by Orion in 1987 as No Way Out. Fine in dust jacket, which has a sunned spine and small chips. Uncommon. $125.00

Ferrars, Elizabeth, Hunt the Tortoise, London, Collins, 1950. First edition. A woman finds herself in a complex situation involving buried treasure, a disappearing tortoise and a man who has stolen 12 volumes of Marcel Proust. Bookplate, else very good. $12.50

Ferrars, E.X., The March Hare Murders, N.Y., Doubleday, 1949. First U.S. edition. The smuggling of rare books is the motive for murder. Fair reading copy. $10.00

Fish, Robert L., Kek Huuygens, Smuggler, N.Y., Mysterious Press, 1976. First edition. A collection of clever short stories including one in which the gentleman smuggler manages to help steal the original manuscript of a Bach cantata. One of 1,000 copies. Fine in dust jacket. $10.00

Fuller, Timothy, Harvard Has a Homicide, Boston, Little, Brown, 1936. First edition. The murder of a professor sets off an investigation throughout Harvard, the Hasty Pudding Club and its famous library. Very good in a badly chipped dust jacket. $20.00

Another copy. Reprint. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. $25.00

Another copy. Reprint. $15.00

Fuller, Timothy, Three Thirds of a Ghost, Boston, Little, Brown, 1941. First edition. As Boston’s Bromfield Bookstore celebrates its 150th anniversary, the principal speaker is a mystery writer-turned satirist who somebody doesn’t find funny and a shot rings out at the crowded autograph party. Near fine in dust jacket, which has a bit of wear at spine ends. Signed by the author. $100.00

Goldman, James, The Man from Greek and Roman, N.Y., Random House, 1974. First edition. The curator of Greek and Roman art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art steals a $3,600,000 chalice and changes from a bookish scholar to an adventurer. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. $15.00

Goodrum, Charles, The Best Cellar, N.Y., St. Martin’s, 1987. First edition. The three bibliographic sleuths in Goodrum’s series return to investigate another scholarly murder, this one involving Thomas Jefferson, rare books, and the Library of Congress. Fine in dust jacket with the merest trace of rubbing at spine ends. $20.00

Gottlieb, Samuel Hirsh, Overbooked in Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ, Camelback Gallery, 1994. First edition. Paperback original, limited to 501 copies. A bookman goes to a yard sale and finds row-upon-row of first editions in dust jacket of Fitzgerald, Hammett, Chandler, Christie, Steinbeck, etc. While the seller has no idea of the value of the books, he will only let them go for cash, which the bookseller doesn’t have. His quest for money leads to murder. Very fine copy, signed by the author. $25.00

Grimes, Martha, The Five Bells and Bladebone, Boston, Little, Brown, 1987. First edition. A dismembered corpse is found in an antique secretary, and one of the prime suspects is the owner of Long Pidd’s bookshop. Very fine in dust jacket. $20.00

Grimes, Martha, The Old Contemptibles, Boston, Little Brown, 1991. First edition. Superintendent Richard Jury sends a friend to the Lake District to pose as an eccentric librarian to work in the Tarn House library, where Jury believes murder has been done. Very fine in dust jacket. $20.

Harrison, Michael, Murder in the Rue Royale, London, Tom Stacey, 1972. First U.K. edition of The Exploits of Chevalier Dupin, with five additional stories, including "The Mystery of the Fulton Documents." Fine in dust jacket, which has minor wear at the spine ends. $85.00

Innes, Michael, Appleby Talks Again, N.Y., Dodd, Mead, 1972. First U.S. edition. A short story collection including "The Lombard Books" and other bookish tales. Fine in a price-clipped dust jacket with spine lettering faded. $30.00

Kenney, Susan, Garden of Menace, N.Y., Scribner, 1983. First edition. A Vassar professor is hired to edit the papers of famed author Lady Viola Montfort-Snow and learns that some people will do anything to prevent her—including murder. A fine fresh copy in dust jacket; advance copy with review slip and publicity letter laid in. $20.00

Kurnitz, Harry, Invasion of Privacy, N.Y., Random House, 1955. First edition. A hot young Hollywood producer acquires the rights to a book by a beautiful woman and, after the film is shot, learns it was based on a true story. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. $17.50

Lewis, Arthur H., Copper Beeches, N.Y., Trident, 1971. First edition. A member of the Sherlockian scion society wages his entire Holmes collection, worth more than $100,000, that club members could not find him and his wife if they disappear. Fine in dust jacket. Inscribed and signed to a Sherlockian at the time of publication. $35.00

Ludlum, Robert, The Chancellor Manuscript, N.Y., Dial, 1977. 4th printing. Peter Chancellor learns of a secret group of men who were involved in killing J. Edgar Hoover and reveals many secrets in the form of a novel. Much information about publishing. Fine in dust jacket. $12.50

McCloy, Helen, Two-Thirds of a Ghost, London, Gollancz, 1957. First English edition. A publisher throws a book party and one of his most successful authors is killed. Good reading copy of a scarce title. $17.50

Pearl, Matthew, The Last Dickens, N.Y., Random House, 2009. First edition. When news of Charles Dickens’ death reaches his American publisher, James Osgood send his trusted clerk, Daniel Sand, to get the the manuscript of his unfinished novel. But Daniel is murdered and the manuscript is nowhere to be found. New in dust jacket, with a signed bookplate laid in. $25.00

Pearson, Edmund L., The Secret Book, N.Y., Macmillan, 1914. First edition. A scarce collection of adventures involving a "secret book"—a 16th century book that was banned by the church which burned the entire edition as well as the printer. A single copy escaped the fire, however, and is at the center of this volume. Very good. $150.00

Pearson, Edmund L., Sherlock Holmes and the Drood Mystery, Freeville, N.Y., Aspen, 1973. First separate edition, limited to only 400 copies. Holmes the puzzle of Dickens’ unfinished novel. Fine in wrappers. $45.00

Purtill, Richard, Murdercon, N.Y., Doubleday, 1982. First edition. Murder at a science fiction convention, with many super-star authors thinly disguised. Fine in dust jacket. $25.00

Reno, Marie, Final Proof, N.Y., Harper, 1976. First edition. The editorial director of a major book club is found slumped over a set of galley proofs. Written by a long-time publishing insider. Near fine in dust jacket. $15.00

Schorr, Mark, Red Diamond, Private Eye, N.Y., St. Martin’s, 1983. First edition. Simon Jaffe is a New York cab driver by day, an avid pulp fiction reader and collector by night. Fine in dust jacket. Inscribed and signed. $45.00

Skom, Edith, The Mark Twain Murders, Tulsa, OK, Council Oak Books, 1989. First edition. Murder in the stacks of the university library may be even more serious than the stolen books. No front endpaper; good reading copy in dust jacket. $10.00

Smith, Charles Merrill, Reverend Randolph and the Unholy Bible, N.Y., Putnam, 1983. First edition. A previously unknown copy of the Gutenberg Bible, printed by Gutenberg just before his creditors drove him out of business, is at the heart of this mystery. Very fine in price-clipped dust jacket. $20.00

Starrett, Vincent, "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet," contained in 221B: Studies in Sherlock Holmes, N.Y., Macmillan, 1940. The first publication after the very rare privately printed edition of 1920 of what many believe to be the finest Sherlock Holmes pastiche ever written. A very fine, fresh copy in a bright dust jacket with a small chip at head of spine and a piece torn from the front flap, which is price-clipped. $150.00

Starrett, Vincent, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, N.Y., Pinnacle, 1975. First of this edition. Contains "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet." Fine in wrappers. $7.50

Swaim, Don, The H.L. Mencken Murder Case, N.Y., St. Martin’s, 1988. First edition. An 18th-century manuscript about the French Revolution surfaces in 1948 New York and there is much excitement along the famous booksellers row on Fourth Avenue. Very fine in dust jacket. $22.50

Thayer, Lee, Murder Stalks the Circle, London, Hurst. 1947. First U.K. edition. The first detective novel that uses the famous forgeries of Thomas Wise as background, with Peter Clancy investigating a possible case of arson. Very good. $15.00

Tilton, Alice (pseudonym of Phoebe Atwood Taylor), Beginning with a Bash, N.Y., Norton, 1972. First U.S. edition. To escape the cold of a Boston winter, a man stops in an antiquarian bookstore and finds a local professor murdered among his piles of books. The bookshop owner asks Leonidas Witherall, who closely resembles Shakespeare, to investigate. The first book under the Tilton name. Fine in dust jacket with some wear at top of spine. $35.00

Upfield, Arthur W., An Author Bites the Dust, Sydney, Australia, Angus & Robertson, 1967. Later edition. Napoleon Bonaparte becomes involved with the world of belles-lettres and publishing to solve a murder mystery.

Very good in chipped dust jacket. $15.00

Valin, Jonathan, Final Notice, N.Y., Dodd, Mead, 1980. Private detective Harry Stoner is hired to stop a psychopath who has been mutilating books in a Cincinnati library by cutting out parts of the female anatomy from art books before he escalates to the real thing. Very fine in dust jacket. $125.00

Wallace, Edgar, The Door with Seven Locks, N.Y., Doubleday, 1928. A man of evil repute steals a book of biology from a library–not the least of his crimes. Filmed in London by Rialto in 1940 with a screenplay by Norman Lee, Gilbert Gunn and John Argyle; it was directed by Lee and starred Leslie Banks and Lilli Palmer. It was released in the United States by Monogram as Chamber of Horrors. Very good. $15.00

Warga, Wayne, Hardcover, N.Y., Arbor House, 1985. First edition. An antiquarian bookseller discovers that a signed first edition of John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday is a forgery, leading to murder. Very fine in dust jacket. Signed. $30.00

Williams, David, Murder in Advent, N.Y., St. Martin’s, 1986. First U.S. edition. Mark Treasure investigates a fire in the Cathedral Library which caused the death of the librarian and apparently destroyed many fine books, including a priceless copy of the Magna Carta. Very good in dust jacket with wear at bottom of spine and front panel. $15.00

Wings, Mary, She Came by the Book, N.Y., Berkley, 1992. First edition. Lesbian San Francisco private eye Emma Victor is entrusted with some important manuscripts relating to a gay politician who had been murdered decades earlier. At the opening of the archives dedicated to his memory, poison takes another victim. Very fine in dust jacket. $21.95

Woolrich, Cornell, Angels of Darkness, N.Y., Mysterious Press, 1978. First edition, limited to 250 copies. Short story collection containing "The Book That Squealed." Very fine, as new copy in a price-clipped dust jacket and slipcase. Signed by Harlan Ellison, who wrote the introduction. $75.00

Wren, Lassiter, and Randle McKay, The Baffle Book, N.Y., Doubleday, 1928. Later printing. A collection of solve-them-yourself mysteries, including "The Problem of Napoleon’s Signatures." Fine in dust jacket, which has minor spine wear. $45.00

Wren, Lassiter, and Randle McKay, The Third Baffle Book, N.Y., Doubleday, 1930. First edition. Another collection of solve-them-yourself mysteries, including "The Stolen Endymion." Very good. $15.00

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