Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing

Uh-oh. Little did we know, when we posted our story earlier this week about the overuse of tree images on crime novel fronts, what the consequences might be.

Among the British books referenced in that story was Jim Kelly’s The Coldest Blood, his fourth novel featuring Cambridgeshire Fens reporter Philip Dryden, published in 2006 by Michael Joseph Ltd. Well, it seems that Kelly’s fellow countryman (and another journalist turned author), John Rickards, saw a mention in Sarah Weinman’s blog of our trees tale, and noticed thereby that the photo used on The Coldest Blood is the very same one that was featured on the jacket of his own 2004 novel, The Touch of Ghosts ... which also happens to have been published by Michael Joseph Ltd.


Yesterday, an aggravated Rickards posted these two covers side by side on his blog, along with this brief note:
I mean, different publishers using the same stock photo, sure, maybe. Different designers working for the same publisher (almost certainly the case here), uh ... well, OK. But when both writers have the same editor and the books came out in one form or another within a year of each other ...

Dude. That’s fucking weak.
We couldn’t agree more, John. Which is why we’ve made a point of pointing out such copycat covers for a while now.

By the way, another of those duplicate fronts was inadvertently exposed by our tree covers piece. As a sharp-eyed Karen Meek from Euro Crime observed in the Comments section of that post, the lonely, windblown specimen that appears on the cover of Ian Rankin’s 1999 novel, Dead Souls, bears an uncanny resemblance to the tree on M. Herron’s 2006 novel, Why We Die. But at least in this case, the novels came from different British publishing enterprises: Rankin’s from Orion; Herron’s from Constable & Robinson.

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