If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Notes From an Amateur Book Collector by Warren Bull





Notes From an Amateur Book Collector by Warren Bull

I have a collection of mystery books. I started with the idea of buying hardback first editions in very good or better condition that were signed by their authors. I wanted to have books that reflected the history of mystery fiction. Since I am not unimaginably rich, I knew some signed books would be way out of my price range.  Knowing some authors did not sign many books, I concluded that some of what I wanted would be unavailable. I did not use first edition of the original publication as a criterion because of the rarity of many books published long ago. I also knew that I could not possibly buy a copy of every significant book in the history of mystery fiction. My plan was to get enough books to make up a sketchy outline of that history.

As a collector, writer and reader, I find satisfying one role undercuts another. A collector wants the best condition possible. An unopened, unread book is great for a collector and not so great for reader. Once read, a book is less valuable, like a new car driven off a dealer’s lot, i.e. it is automatically used. A tattered paperback may be a great read and stimulate ideas for writing, but it is rarely valuable as a commodity.

I like books that are already used that have points of interest about them. For example a have an armed services edition of Wilkie Collins’s Moonstone. The book is a paperback designed to fit in a military uniform pocket. I have no idea how many books were made of that edition, I have not seen any others but there could be millions of them. The condition is very good minus; it was the idea I liked.

I have a copy of Rex Stout’s Champagne for One that he endorsed, “April 28, 1959 For the National Jewish Hospital All Good Wishes.” The book itself is a library book with stamps and markings from the National Jewish Hospital. The condition is what you would expect from a used library book. Still, because of the inscription I find it worth owning.

I also have I, Witness an anthology from Mystery Writers of America. As with the other two there were books available in better condition. The book I bought was signed or inscribed to Aaron Marc Stein by many of the authors. He was presented with the book when he was named a grandmaster in 1979.

While every signed book is unique, I enjoy seeking out the books that have a story attached to the physical book itself.


Do you own any books like the ones I described?

7 comments:

Carla Damron said...

I love signed books, too. Your collection is quite unique, which is no surprise. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Tina said...

My mom-in-law found this book at a yard sale -- a perfectly boring one, to be sure, on economics or something, except that it had once belonged to J. Edgar Hoover, who had received it as a gift apparently.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I don't have any signed books that I know of that are old, but I do have quite a collection of old books many passed down by my father. I have "The Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb published from 1820-1823 in pretty sad condition. My brother-in-law, an old book collector, sent me "The Life of Nancy" by Sarah Orne Jewett published in 1890. I have "The Life of James Arram Garfield by William Ralston Balch, published in 1881, and acquired by my father in on Sept. 10, 1936. and Standards of Perfection The American Poultry Society put out in 1912. Everything you want to know about chickens is in there. Not that I've ever read it.

Grace Topping said...

Attending mystery conferences, I've been able to collect a number of mysteries signed by the author. I find it hard to part with these books, especially those inscribed to me personally, even when my shelves are overflowing and the books need to find a good home.

Kait said...

I have a number of signed books, most contemporary. I like the idea of collecting first editions, but they are way out of my price range. I do think, if I ever came upon an uncut page book, I'd need to buy it for the novelty value. Have you ever seen one, Warren? I never have, but I have been told they still exist.

Good luck with your collection, and keep us up to date.

Margaret Turkevich said...

We took the kids to meet Marc Brown, Rosemary Wells, and Norman Bridwell, and saved their autographed books with quick sketches of the characters.

I have a Victorian parlor table book passed down through the family: Queenly Women Crowned and Uncrowned (1885), with biographical sketches and "elegant steel engravings", about notables like Martha Washington and Madame de Stael. Riveting reading.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, after I left an earlier message I went through more of my old books and found two by
A. Conan Doyle - "Micah Clark," and "White Company." Neither one of them have a publishing date, but the first pages may have come out. Either way, they're very old with fragile yellowed paper.