Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Black Wings Has My Angel

From: Michael S. Chong (
Date: 26 Nov 2008

  • Next message: Jeff Vorzimmer: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Black Wings Has My Angel"

    A few years ago, I came across 2 copies of this Gold Medal PBO and they were cheap.

    Living in The Hague at the time, occasionally I would take the train down to Antwerp to browse the used bookstores.  For those who have never been to European used bookstores or open-air book markets (how I miss those), there is a preponderance of vintage paperbacks.  There was this one time I found piles of PBOs from Charles William and Lionel White at the Waterlooplein market in Amsterdam and another where I came across stacks of Richard Stark at the weekly book market in The Hague.

    This trip to Antwerp, I was looking for one book in particular, Fredric Brown's Madball.  Looking for a bookstore I had been to a few times in the past with boxes and boxes of old paperbacks, I got lost amidst the cobbled streets and turned into an Antiquarian bookstore to ask directions.  The proprietor, an ancient man that blended in with the leathered tomes that surrounded him, sent me around the corner to a shop I had never been to before.  Outside, there was a box of old paperbacks but nothing of interest.  I went inside and met the owner, a non-Flemish speaking British man.  I wandered around and found 2 copies of Elliot Chaze's Black Wings Has My Angel.  They were both under a Euro and I chose the cheaper one since I am more a reader than a collector.  At the time, I did not know the rarity of the title, only that it had been recommended on Rara Avis and by Bill Crider, I believe, in the Big Book of Noir.  When I brought my purchase to the
     counter, the owner made me buy the other copy since it was in better condition and only like 20 Euro cents more.  He also asked if I was looking for anything in particular.  I told him I was looking for books by Fredric Brown and he said he would take a look upstairs.  Less than a minute later, he returned with the Gold Medal 2nd edition of Madball.  Opening the first page, I saw it was 3 Euros,  I told him this is the exact book I was looking for.  He told me it, therefore, would cost 3 times the stated amount and smiled.

    By email, I kept in touch with him after that since he told me he was going to open a bigger store in a barn.  He never did open that store, at least that I know of.


    --- On Tue, 11/25/08, Jeff Vorzimmer <> wrote: From: Jeff Vorzimmer <> Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Black Wings Has My Angel To: Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 7:28 PM


    > No. Why? I know the Centipede editions have introductions and are

    > better quality overall. Will it fall apart after I open it?

    many distracting typos






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