Saturday, 7 January 2012

Scary book covers

Well, my theory that the more murder mysteries you read, the easier they are to solve didn't stand up against The Moving Finger - I had no idea whodunnit. So my guessing the murderer of Roger Ackroyd was obviously just a fluke!
After that I started Murder at the Vicarage which seemed to be about a woman struggling with repressed memories of a house she'd lived in as a child and where she'd witnessed a murder. It was brilliantly creepy as the woman began to wonder if she was going mad. When Miss Marple asked her who had been murdered, she replied reflexively... "Helen."
Since this is my name, I was agog!
Then there was a sudden blank page in the book and the second half of an entirely different story began. I half-wondered whether I was going mad too!
I had been reading the first half of Sleeping Murder inside the cover of Murder at the Vicarage - which meant that neither of them actually worked as a story!
I asked Waterstones for another copy, but they said they didn't have one. I even emailed HarperCollins and asked for another copy, but they didn't answer me. So I'll never know who the other Helen was - or why she was murdered!
When I was showing my mum the book containing two halves of two different stories, she remarked that the modern Agatha Christie covers were now far too stylish for her taste and we reminisced about the garishness and utter lack of subtlety of the seventies editions.
I had a look in the charity shop and unearthed some examples...

Look - a dead bird! Who wouldn't be tempted to buy this?

This story features the death of a bluff Colonel with a glass eye - so that is exactly what the cover artist has drawn. Then he's added an agonized expression and a putrid green hue to the cadaver's skin. Thus making it even more tempting than the dead bird!

This one is about a woman with a very seventies-style hand being strangled on a train. Can she reach the alarm in time? No, it doesn't look like she can.

Not Agatha Christie, but easily my favourite. It shows a grumpy, sheepish-looking man dressed in Regency costume with added Andy Warhol-type paint effects. No doubt exactly what  Georgette Heyer had in mind for her romantic hero!

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