RARA-AVIS: odds & ends

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 14 Sep 2000

Reading all the bargain stories made me realize that the bargains purchased do not stick in my memory like the bargains lost. I still have nightmares about the first four Brett Halliday Mike Shayne hardbacks, mint in dustjackets and no library stamps for less than $10 each. I passed, reconsidered and returned, only to find them gone.

That was in an Atlanta store run by a guy named Cliff who knew nothing of books when he opened. His real ambition was to become a social force in the Atlanta arts world, an ambition he eventually achieved. He loved having Pat Conroy and others hanging out at his store. Before price guides, one could find fantastic bargains on his shelves. Cliff's biggest boner was reported in a newspaper profile I remember. An odd-looking book came in with a garish dust jacket (a big eye on a billboard) and the jacket copy talked about an upwardly-mobile sinister guy and so on. So Cliff marked it at $10 (his favorite price) and put it on the mystery shelves. It was a first edition of THE GREAT GATSBY.

Once he learned more about the business (and price guides appeared), bargains were harder to find. Now and then something would still fall through the cracks, such as the issues of Magic Carpet with R.E. Howard stories I bought from him for a very good price.

Other odds & ends: Pinkney Benedict is a very good writer. I discovered him when I picked up a proof of his first book TOWN SMOKES for a couple of bucks in DC. His Dad served a term or two in Congress and both his dad and his grand dad once ran against Sen. Robert Byrd of West (By God) Virginia. As Bryd still serves, Pinkney could carry on the tradition but shows little inclination towards politics.

THE MAN OF COLD RAGES by Jordan Park (C.M. Kornbluth) is an excellent novel. I forget what I paid for that old (1958) Pyramid PBO but it was a bargain. Has it ever been republished? I also found a bargain when I bought the Perma Book PB of Fred Brown's MOSTLY MURDER. It was on the two for a quarter shelf. Forget what the other one was. Of course that was too long ago to count.

Goodwill Stores can be good hunting grounds, as are Salvation Army stores. One of my great joys was finding more than a hundred Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines from the mid-40s to mid-50s for about 10 cents each in a SA store near Capitol Hill in DC.

And to Mr. Tribe's movie list: where can one buy a copy of "Unwanted," directed by Ida Lupino?

Thanks to our leader for stopping the chest-thumping thread. It saved you all from hearing about my last near fistfight. It was at a Malice Domestic convention a few years ago, proving I guess that if a man is born to trouble, he can find it anywhere.

Richard Moore

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