Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Books do furnish a room: Elementary, my dear Reader

Though we're a bookish lot, we're pretty excited by the forthcoming Guy Ritchie film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Created by Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes and his loyal companion Dr Watson have seen countless outings in various book jackets since their appearance in Strand magazine in 1891, and Caustic Cover Critic tackles the various incarnations of the brilliant "consulting detective".

Included are Michael Kirkham's tasteful pipe and swirls of smoke for White's (see also) Vintage Classics's handsome hardcover edition, as well as Atlantic Crime Classics retro patterned jacket. Hats off, though, to Hard Case Crime's "lurid pulp drag" dime store cover that has startled the broadsheets. Says publisher Charles Ardai,
"This is the tradition we wanted to revive with our edition of The Valley of Fear – presenting something 'good for you' in 'bad for you' garb," he said. "We chose Conan Doyle precisely because he does seem miles away from what we usually do – part of the goal was to startle readers with the apparent disconnect between the style of the art and the work being presented."

Our personal favourites are Coralie Bickford-Smith's acidic, Hammer horror-style covers for Penguin Reds, and available in-store. Created with Mike Topping, you can read both artists talking about the series here.


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