Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Author of the Week: Christiana Brand


Although no longer one of the most famous practitioners of the classic English detective story, Christianna Brand (1907-1985) had few equals when it came to producing perfectly plotted mysteries, especially those about Inspector Cockrill. The noted critic Anthony Boucher wrote of her: "You have to reach for the greatest of the Great Names (Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen) to find Brand’s rivals in the subtleties of the trade: the precise knowledge of how to plant a clue so that it is completely fair and apparently meaningless, the ability to construct an entire series of legitimate false clues to lead the over-confident reader up the garden path, the power to produce an astonishing Least Suspected Person whose guilt is as convincing as it is surprising."

Brand, Christianna, The Crooked Wreath, N.Y., Dodd, Mead, 1946. First edition. Inspector Cockrill. Very good. $15.00

Brand, Christianna, London Particular, London, Joseph, 1952. First edition of this outstanding Inspector Cockrill mystery, one of the great fair-play detective novels, the equal of Brand’s Green for Danger. A bit of foxing, else about fine in dust jacket with light wear along edges and a couple of creases. A scarce book. $100.00

Brand, Christianna, Fog of Doubt, N.Y., Scribners, 1953. First U.S. edition of London Particular and a superb Inspector Cockrill detective novel. Edges rubbed, else near fine in heavily chipped dust jacket with a long closed tear on front panel. $35.00

Another copy. First U.S. edition. Very good. $17.50

Brand, Christianna, Tour de Force, London, Joseph, 1955. First edition. Cockrill. Worn ex-library reading copy only. $12.50

Brand, Christianna, The Three-Cornered Halo, London, Joseph, 1957. First edition. Fine in dust jacket, which has a bit of foxing on rear flap. $45.00

Brand, Christianna, The Three-Cornered Halo, N.Y., Scribners, 1957. First U.S. edition. Fine in a dust jacket, which has a lightly soiled spine and is rubbed at spine tips. $35.00

Brand, Christianna, Starrbelow, Los Angeles, Brooke House, 1958. Book club edition. Fine in dust jacket with light wear at top of spine. $12.50

Brand, Christianna, Heaven Knows Who, N.Y., Scribners, 1960. First U.S. edition of this true crime recreation. Near fine in dust jacket with light chipping at spine ends. $40.00

Brand, Christianna, What Dread Hand?, London, Ian Henry, 1977 (originally 1968). Reprint. Fine in lightly rubbed dust jacket. Short stories. $17.50

Brand, Christianna, Court of Foxes, London, Joseph, 1969. First edition. About fine in dust jacket. $35.00

Another copy. London, Joseph, 1969. Book Club edition. Very good in dust jacket. $15.00

Brand, Christianna, The Honey Harlot, London, Allen, 1978. Large print edition. Fine. $10.00

Brand, Christianna, The Brides of Aberdar, London, Joseph, 1982. First edition. Very good copy with library stamps in an unmarked dust jacket. $17.50

Brand, Christianna, Buffet for Unwelcome Guests, Carbondale, IL, Southern Illinois U. Press, 1983. First edition of this collection of Brand’s best short stories, including several about Cockrill. Very fine in dust jacket with a sunned spine. $25.00

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