Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paperback 162: The Black Curtain / Cornell Woolrich (Mercury Mystery 64)

Paperback 162: Mercury Mystery 64 (1st ptg, n.d.)

Title: The Black Curtain
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: [Stefan] Salter (I think that's his first name...)

Yours for: $40

Best things about this cover:

  • The entire book is in pristine condition. OK, maybe "pristine" is pushing it, but for a digest-sized paperback (notoriously flimsy and easy to destroy through negligence) this book is in superhot condition.
  • Cornell Woolrich is the father of modern noir. He is an amazing writer (most of the time). His authorship, the elegant if understated Salter cover, and the overall condition of the book are what's driving the price here. If only it weren't for that damned penciled-in "W" (after "Curtain" in the title). What, did some alphabetically challenged librarian need a cue on where to file it? Yeesh.
  • Look, a blurb from a real media entity! Most of the books I collect seem to have escaped the NYT's notice (not shocking).

Best things about this back cover:

  • This isn't the whole cover, just a close-up of the Mercury Mystery logo (the only thing on the cover - one logo and a whole lot of Brown). The design is superb - love how the flourish on the end of the first "M" spirals into a little dagger handle. Sweet.

Page 123~

A querulous thread of black unraveled from the open magazine; then freed itself, broke off short, went up into nothingness. No more followed.

You gotta love an author who will throw down "querulous."



Anonymous said...

It looks like Woolrich is such a good writer, his book's been recognized on a stamp by the US Postal Service.

And what's with the floaty ghost head that seems to possess eldritch and horrific powers of wordspacing? Look into the terrible void between "the" and "black"!

And while it's cool to get a quote from the New York Times, when the blurb essentially says "The book is not so dull that you'll want to dump it in the trash midway through", that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Anonymous said...

Lovely cover. Too bad there ain't no boobs.

Scott D. Parker said...

I recently found a 60s (or 70s?) reprint cover that is evocative yet wholly generic. Like this cover better.

Miss Maggie said...

That is a pretty book (I'm a big fan of brown). But it looks to me like the top part of that guy's head has been chopped off and then covered over with a piece. Creepy.

Sobriquet Magazine said...

This is part of his "Black" cycle, isn't it? Like Rendevous in Black... God, Woolrich is fantastic.

borky said...

For some reason the book's title conjures up the image of a Sesame Street style anthropomorphic curtain saying, "What you lookin' at, mother fucker? You got a problem with my threads, bi-itch? My black ass too real for y'all? Back off 'fore I cut you...or's what you really at's me all over your lily white ass? You fixin' to be my ho, huh?"