Friday, September 23, 2011

Forgotten Books: Avon Giant Mystery Reader

Take a look at what you could get for a half buck back in 1951. I don't have to tell you what the book contains; it's all right there on the cover. What a deal!

You might be curious about the stories by the authors listed, so here are the titles: "Lida" by Charteris, "The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge" by Christie, "The Gutting of Couffignal" by Hammett, "Twenty-Dollar Debt" by Treat, "The Smiling People" by Bradbury, and "It Comes off Sometimes" by Cheyney.

No editor is credited, but this must be a Donald A. Wollheim project. Wollheim's the one who put together the Avon Science Fiction Reader and the Avon Fantasy Reader, too, along with The Girl with the Hungry Eyes, also from Avon and the first anthology of original SF stories. Wollheim later went on to work for Ace Books, where he came up with the great Ace Doubles line before founding his own DAW Books. It would be hard to overstate his influence in the SF field, but we shouldn't misunderestimate his work for us crime fiction readers.


George said...

Another book I've never seen before! I suspect you're right about the uncredited editor being DAW.

Anonymous said...

Such a bargain.

The Hammett story is a classic.


Todd Mason said...

Wollheim edited the SF and FANTASY READER magazines, and also OUT OF THIS WORLD ADVENTURES (famous as the first fantasy/sf pulp to have comics bound in) as well for Avon, but Sol Cohen took over after Wollheim left for Ace to do the AVON SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY READER issues.

And, of course, Cohen went on to work at the Galaxy Group, then founded Ultimate Publications and controversially published FANTASTIC, AMAZING and a slew of other titles for fifteen years as a retirement job...

Jerry House said...

Great choice. I had a copy of this book (too) many years ago, but someone had removed both novels. Since I had read the Carr and could easily get the Lockridge, I was happy to buy the book at its greatly reduced price. I enjoyed all the stories and the articles.