Re: RARA-AVIS: Mercury Mystery

From: foxbrick (foxbrick@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Jan 2009

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    MERCURY MYSTERY and its stablemates BESTSELLER MYSTERY and JONATHAN PRESS MYSTERY were a periodical set of digest magazine-format reprints (at least for most of their run) of cf novels and eventually some short story collections...a number of indexers and collectors consider them paperback books, but they were produced in the same format as stablemate ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, and were apparently issued periodically, so I tend to think of them as magazines (much as I would the ELLERY QUEEN'S ANTHOLOGY issues, and the subsequent AHMM and ASIMOV'S and ANALOG anthologies in magazine form that Davis Publications and its successors have issued). They were very sedately covered in the 1940s into the '50s, and then started to use the same sort of splashy covers the newsstand EQMMs did from the early-mid '50s onward. At least one MERCURY MYSTERY cover was the same photograph that had been used on a newsstand EQMM a few years before, though the image was rotated so that the model was lying in the opposite direction.

    After the sale of EQMM by Mercury Press to B. G. Davis, MERCURY and BESTSELLER continued for a few years, into the '60s, as more straightforward magazines, with a lead novel/novella and s few short stories and at least one regular column on true crime in MERCURY. I believe the last MERCURY was a collection of Dahiell Hammett's "Thin Man" stories.

    Sorry, have other matters to attend to, as usual these days, so will let one of the true scholars here flesh out and/or correct this quick precis.

    Todd Mason

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Nathan Cain" <IndieCrime@...> wrote:
    >
    > Although, on second glance, the Mercury Mysteries I'm talking about
    > appear to be older. They don't have the covers like those listed in
    > the link. These are solid colors, with artwork surrounded by a
    > rectuangular frame in the middle. As far as I can tell, they're
    from
    > the 40's. At least the Woolrich, Dead Man's Blues (published under
    > William Irish), was published in 1947. It is listed at prices
    between
    > $40-70 on the internet. You can see a picture at the link below.
    >
    > http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/ListingDetails?
    bi=1011584038&cm_mmc=gbase-_-us-_-gbase-_-1011584038
    >
    > Seeing as how, I just won that one and four others on ebay for
    about
    > $13 including shipping, I might have just made out. These are
    listed
    > as being published by Jonathan Press, and I'm curious to know if
    they
    > relate to the book's in Ed's link, or to Spivak's Mercury Press.
    > > On Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 10:26 PM, <ejgorman99@...> wrote:
    > >> I recently ran across some Mercury Mysteries by Woolrich,
    Richard
    > >> Powell and others, but I can't seem to find out much about this
    > >> particular line of digests. They look like Reader's Digest
    condensed
    > >> versions of mystery novels. Is that impression correct? They
    seem to
    > >> be fairly rare. Does anyone collect these?
    > >>
    > >> ------------
    > >>
    > >> Here's some background with covers.
    > >>
    > >> http://www.philsp.com/mags/mercury_mystery_book.html
    > >>
    > >> http://www.philsp.com/data/data207.html
    > >>
    > >> Mercury Mystery-Book Magazine
    > >>
    > >> Total Issues: 23
    > >>
    > >> Numbering began from #210. It was a continuation of the Mercury
    Mystery
    > >> novels, published in digest form since Mar-1940.
    > >>
    > >> Issues & Index Sources
    > >> Sep-1955 Apr-1959:
    > >> Monthly Murders
    > >> Crime Fiction Index (in progress)
    > >>
    > >> #merges with Bestseller Mystery Magazine
    > >>
    > >> Publishers
    > >> Mercury Publications
    > >>
    > >> Editors
    > >> Joseph W. Ferman
    > >>
    > >> Formats
    > >> digest
    > >>
    > >> Prices
    > >> 35c
    > >>
    > >> Pagecounts
    > >> 128pp
    > >>
    > >> Frequency
    > >> Sep-1955 May-1956: monthly
    > >> Jun-1956 Apr-1959: bi-monthly
    > >>
    > >> Sources
    > >> UltGuide, CookMDE
    > >> Issue Checklist
    > >>
    > >> Mercury Mystery Book Magazine (Australia)
    > >>
    > >> Total Issues: 6 (at least)
    > >>
    > >> Australian reprint edition of Mercury Mystery Book Magazine.
    > >> Issues & Index Sources: Mar-1956 ?:
    > >> Crime Fiction Index (in progress)
    > >> (Missing: #2, any after #6)
    > >> Publishers: Atlas Publishers, Melbourne



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