Monday, February 25, 2013

Books That Never Were

I’ve written a couple of times about efforts by Northern California artist, photographer, and author Derek Pell to create a pictorial collection of 100 “missing mysteries,” puckish fronts for whodunit and thriller novels that never actually existed. He started out by periodically dropping new covers in that line onto a page of his online magazine, Zoom Street. More recently, however, the “missing mysteries” seemed to go missing themselves; last week, I could no longer find a link to that once-growing set from Pell’s site. So I shot him an e-note, asking what had become of those book covers.

Well, it seems that Pell had hoped to create a full, printable book of “missing mysteries”--with plot descriptions of each imagined work--but when he couldn’t find a publisher (“Rizzoli nearly did it,” he says, “but backed out.”), Pell let the project slide, concentrating his energy instead on another venture, Black Scat Books. Fortunately, my query about the “missing mysteries” provokeed Pell to post his whole (189-page) unpublished book online as a PDF document.

Click here for a free download.

Where else, I ask, can you find such long-forgotten masterpieces of mystery fiction as Malice in Wonderland (“a hare-raising tale”), Dashiell Hammett’s obscure Sam Spade novel, Murder Is a Four-Letter Word, Raymond Chandler’s Call Me Shallow, But Bury Me Deep, and Odor in the Court (“a scratch ’n’ sniff mystery”)?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Malice in Wonderland has already been nabbed as a title- five books by that name in the British Library, the earliest by Nicholas Blake/C. Day Lewis