Secondhand Rows 

Join Stephen Reid, our secondhand maestro, every month here as he takes a closer look at a couple of titles from his shelves.

September 2016

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, September 07, 2016
This month, four further titles of vintage crime. Featuring the return of ‘H.M.’, Hercule Poirot, Colonel Race and an intrepid investigative reporter, Kathryn Forrester. All these paperback are in Fair to Good condition. The two Christie titles have spine damage, repaired by adhesive tape.

A Graveyard to Let by Carter Dickson (1950). PB reprint 1955. $10.00.
Sir Henry Merrivale (H.M.), Scotland Yard detective, makes his first visit to the United States. A visit caused by an invitation from millionaire Frederick Manning, to ‘witness a miracle and explain it’ at his country house. The morning after Sir Henry’s arrival, and just as the house party hears police sirens approaching the Manning estate, the millionaire dives into the swimming pool, fully clothed. His clothes and hat float to the surface, but he appears to have vanished...

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (1936). PB reprint 1959. $8.00.
A mysterious letter is received by detective Hercule Poirot:
Mr Hercule Poirot, —you fancy yourself, don’t you,
at solving mysteries that are too difficult for
our poor thickheaded British police?
Let us see, Mr Clever Poirot, just how clever
you can be. Perhaps you’ll find this nut too hard to crack.
Look out for Andover on the 21st of the month.
yours, etc., A B C
Following its arrival, a Mrs Asher, a tobacco shop owner, is murdered at Andover on the 21st. A second letter announces a murder at Bexhill and Betty Barnard, a waitress, is found strangled. A third names Churston, the victim is Sir Carmichael Clarke. A fourth lists Doncaster on the day of the St Leger horse race. An open ABC railway guide is left with beside each victim...


Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie (1945). PB reprint 1955. $8.00.
Seven people dine at the elegant restaurant, Luxembourg. One of them, Rosemary Barton, dies by cyanide poisoning. Her death is ruled a suicide due to depression. After receiving mysterious letters stating she was murdered, her husband George restages the dinner with the same guests—and an actress portraying his late wife—hoping to force a confession. Unfortunately, George meets the same fate. This prompts his good friend, ex-army officer (and associate of Hercule Poirot) Colonel Race, to investigate.

Death and the Sky Above by Andrew Garve (1953). PB reprint 1956. $10.00.
Paul Garve was one of three pseudonyms used by English journalist and crime writer Paul Winterton (1908–2001). He authored some 40 novels between 1938 and 1978. With author Elizabeth Ferrars (1907–1995), he co-founded the Crime Writers Association in 1953.
In Death and the Sky Above, the murder of Charles Hillary’s bitter, dissolute wife, Louise, leaves him the chief suspect. His ongoing affair with his true love, television journalist Kathryn Forrester, adds to suspicion. Charles is convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. A prison fire enables him to escape with Kathryn. The couple attempt a small boat crossing of the Channel, which ends with the boat capsized and Charles’ recapture. Kathryn’s investigation of the crime results in a last minute stay of execution and the reversal of Charles’s sentence when she is able to conclusively prove his innocence—all thanks to the timing of a cricket Test Match at the Oval! The novel was later filmed as Two Letter Alibi (1962). Stephen


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