Sunday, June 1, 2008

Paperback 105: The Ipcress File / Len Deighton (Panther 026193)

Paperback 105: Panther 026193 (14th or so ptg, circa 1971)

Title: The Ipcress File
Author: Len Deighton
Cover artist: Photo cover

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • Simplicity - B&W still photo that is the epitome of mid-century hard-boiled cool. Espresso vs. Smith & Wesson - Paper Clips vs. Bullets. Such great, simple balancing of iconic images. Gives you a sense of the Where and What and even the Who of the story before you've even opened the book. Details are incredibly precise. You can even read the "Gauloise" on the cigarette and the "Wesson" on the barrel of the gun. This book is from outside my collecting window (i.e. post-1969), but when I saw it at my local University book sale, I had to have it. If I ever publish a book, I want it to look like this, no matter what it's about.
  • LEN Deighton is a frequent crossword puzzle answer
  • The paper clips are somehow charming the hell out of me

Best things about this back cover:

  • Stamp!
  • A near complete lack of punctuation, including standard blurb quotation marks. No exclamation points, commas ... figure it out for yourself, reader!
  • Quaint passive voice construction in the last sentence. So British (Panther is a British imprint, in case you didn't know)

PAGE 123~

Wriggling away from the legs of the tower, black smooth cables and corrugated pipelines rested along each other like a Chinese apothecary's box of snakes.



Anonymous said...

That coffee looks oily. And what is that stain between the coffee cup and the cigarette butt: blood or nicotine-infused coffee?

Rex Parker said...

All the best coffee is oily.

I have no idea what made that stain, but I just noticed that I can read "War Office Canteen" on the espresso cup. I love little textual details like that.


Anonymous said...

The cover is simply excellent.

For oily coffee, you can't beat "engine room coffee" on a ship or submarine - with extra non-food oil for extra nutrition. On the submarine, the engine-room coffee pot was a double-protected vital load.

However, I prefer espresso (max coffee - preferably LaVazza Qualita Rossa whole bean - and minimum water).

Anonymous said...

I think you and I are on the same page Anonymous. I like my coffee black as death and twice as strong. (Ok, I'm not that tough, theres a bunch of sugar and cream in it too, but I like the way those words sound together. And hey, Winston Wolf likes it with lots of cream, lots of sugar.)

Michael5000 said...

The cover is tight.

The metaphor in the quotation is the kind that overwhelms what it's trying to describe: Chinese apothecaries have boxes of snakes? Really? Do you buy your medicinal snakes by the each or by the pound? Would a couple snakes each day for a week help with this cold I'm having trouble shaking? What were we talking about, again?