Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Yesterday's mail brought me a copy of a new Stark House double volume. This one reprints two of Vin Packer's Gold Medal novels, SOMETHING IN THE SHADOWS and INTIMATE VICTIMS. It's a nice package, and one I highly recommend. Packer (whose real name is Marijane Meaker) was one of the few women writing paperback originals in the 1950s, and she was right up there with the best. Anthony Boucher consistently praised her books in his NYTBR column, and with good reason.

Besides the two novels, this new volume has a short introduction by Packer that touches on her relationship with Patricia Highsmith and tells a little about the envy Highsmith had of Packer's income and reviews. Packer, the lowly paperback writer, was making a lot more money for her novels than Highsmith was with her prestigious hardcovers. And Packer was getting reviews in the New York papers just as Highsmith was. Highsmith didn't think it was fair for a paperback writer to get the same kind of attention that a hardcover author received.

There's also a reprint of Jon Breen's essay titled "The Novels of Vin Packer," also highly recommended reading.

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