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A Likeness to Voices

Savage, Mary New York: Dodd, Mead & Company (A Torquil Book). Good in Fair dj. (c.1963). First Edition. Hardcover. [a serviceable reading copy with various depredations: the book is only moderately shelfworn, but the front endpaper has been removed with consequent weakening of the front hinge, which has also contributed to a split in the binding between the first and second signatures (i.e. between pages 8 and 9); the jacket is edgeworn, with a few tiny nicks and tears, a bit of paper loss at the spine ends, and a wide but shallow chip along the top edge of the rear panel -- but it had also apparently gotten wet at some point (at the rear panel and rear flap only) and some of the color from the blue cloth binding has discolored the interior of those parts of the jacket, with a little bit of bleed-through onto the rear panel]. "When Stanley Withers loses his third job in five years, his wife decides it is time she took a hand. But the methods she uses and the assistants she employs are highly unorthodox, to say the least, resulting in a tale of modern witchcraft inolving one of the most talented and trouble-prone cats ever to survive 2,000 life cycles." Alternate chapters are narrated by said cat, "Rasputin" by name. Mary Savage was the last wife of fellow novelist Davis Dresser (better aka Brett Halliday), to whom she was married from 1961 until his death in 1977. All four of her novels, all of which were published between 1960 and 1964, were issued under the Torquil imprint (Torquil Publishing Company being Dresser's company, founded in 1953), and both she and Dresser/Halliday seemed to stop writing fiction circa 1965, which (coincidentally or not) was the year their son was born. .
Point Blank [*SIGNED* by Grosso]

Point Blank [*SIGNED* by Grosso]

Rosenberg, Philip, and Sonny Grosso New York: Grosset & Dunlap. Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj. 1978. First Edition. Hardcover. 0-448-14547-2 . [minor shelfwear to bottom edges, light spotting/foxing to top of text block; jacket shows some surface rubbing, light wear at spine extremities, one tiny closed tear at bottom edge of front panel]. INSCRIBED with a humorous bit of doggerel ("To my pal ___ / Roses Are Red / Besides my Good Looks / How Lucky we are / For All These Crooks!!") and SIGNED by co-author Grosso on the ffep; the inscribee (the book's previous owner) has added a note at the bottom of the page, documenting the inscription/signing as having taken place at Joe Tecce's Restaurant in Boston in 2001. One-half of the real-life "French Connection" detective duo here "offers a previously unseen view of the police underworld," based on "a true story of betrayal and death" from the annals of the NYPD in the early 1970s. It's cover-blurbed as "More Shocking than SERPICO," and the authors state in their Preface that although they've dramatized some scenes and supplied dialogue where their "sources and research did not disclose the actual words spoken," and have chosen to present their story "in the form of a novel," that it is nonetheless "not a work of fiction." Pretty much everything about the book's presentation suggests that it's a movie waiting to be made -- especially given that Grosso had retired from the NYPD a couple of years before and had set up shop as a film/TV producer -- and by golly if it wasn't, albeit as a TV-movie, under the title A QUESTION OF HONOR, in 1982. (As a title, of course, POINT BLANK was already associated with one of the great crime thrillers of the era.) The hardcover edition of this book is surprisingly scarce, and signed copies very uncommon. .
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Charlie; the improbable life and times of Charles MacArthur [*SIGNED*]

Hecht, Ben New York: Harper & Brothers. Very Good+ in Very Good dj. (c.1957). 1st Edition (E-G). Hardcover. (price-clipped) [light wear to book's extremities, top corners very slightly bumped; jacket lightly edgeworn, a couple of tiny nicks at top edge of front panel, rubbing and minor wrinkling at spine ends]. (B&W photographs) INSCRIBED on the ffep "To Olive Peterson," with a rough sketch of a dog smoking a cigarette, below which the author has SIGNED "her friend / Ben Hecht." Hecht's freewheeling, anecdotal, affectionate memoir of his longtime friend and collaborator -- co-author with him of the plays "The Front Page" and "Twentieth Century" (among others) -- is one of the great showbiz biographies, a perfect melding of subject and chronicler. MacArthur was a celebrity of a kind we don't have any more, "a Roman candle of a man who lit up the skies of the twenties and thirties," as a journalist, playwright, screenwriter, and raconteur, whose "antics in movie land kept the stars and geniuses of that sand dune agog for decades" [that blurb HAS to have been written by Hecht himself] and who "was at home among the celebrities of Europe -- from the Grand Dukes to the Left Bank exotics -- as he [had] been among the gangsters of Chicago." Among MacArthur's notable movie credits (some solo, some in collaboration with Hecht and others) included WUTHERING HEIGHTS, RASPUTIN AND THE EMPRESS, TOPAZE, THE SCOUNDREL, CRIME WITHOUT PASSION and GUNGA DIN. Because he and Hecht were so closely associated for so long (dating back to their newspaper days in Chicago, where they met in the early 1920s), the book makes a nice adjunct to Hecht's own memoir, "A Child of the Century," which had been published only a few years earlier. Actually, given the fact that "Charlie" appeared barely a year after MacArthur's death in April 1956, it almost reads like a eulogy (albeit a very high-spirited one) -- or perhaps more accurately, a book that Hecht felt obligated to write, not just because he knew no one could tell it as vividly as he could, but also, as he states in the opening line of the book: "I have in my keeping the memory of a unique man." The book's preface is by Helen Hayes, MacArthur's wife since 1928, who briefly but movingly recounts her own struggle to explain the essence of her husband's personality, finally expressing her amazement "that for all our possessiveness, our pursuit, our searching, Charlie eluded us to the end. He remained his secret self." She praises Hecht, however: "Brave, wise Ben, to hold fast to his own Charlie -- his Roman candle of a man." The present copy bears a better-than-usually-seen example of the easily-worn dust jacket, and signed copies are uncommon. Signed by Author .
Islandia

Islandia

Wright, Austin Tappan New York: Farrar & Rinehart. Very Good. (c.1942). Later Printing. Hardcover. (no dust jacket) [light soiling to covers, a couple of tiny light stains on spine, binding a little shaken (almost inevitable given the weight of the text block), front hinge feels a little weak but is not split or cracked]. Elaborately-imagined utopian novel about an island kingdom, toiled over by its author (a Harvard Law graduate who later held professorial posts at UC-Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania) for most of his life, ultimately typed up by his wife and daughter (from 5,000 longhand pages!) and published more than a decade after his death in a car accident in 1931. In truly obsessive fashion, he first wrote a 75,000-word history of his dream world, working it all out (geography, climate, language, literature, art, religion, its own calendar and mathemetical systems -- even a bibliography of imaginary works about the place) in his text and then drawing 53 maps to illustrate it. None of this is actually in the book as such -- it's just backstory, since the novel proper begins "where the history leaves off." [NOTE: this copy comes with a not-very-well-made photocopy of the dust jacket from a later edition of the book; it's not much, but it at least gives a small measure of protection to the book.] ***NOTE ALSO: Additional shipping charges for this heavy book may apply for non-U.S. customers, or for Priority Mail shipping within the U.S. (Media Mail shipping is still free, however); if this causes you concern, please inquire before placing your order.*** .
Maybe -- Tomorrow

Maybe — Tomorrow

Little, Jay (pseud. for Clarence Lewis Miller) New York: Pageant Press. Very Good in Good dj. 1956 (c.1952). 2nd printing. Hardcover. NOISBN . [some foxing/soiling to page edges, spine slightly turned; jacket heavily edgeworn, several small chips and tears]. Early gay fiction, a novel exploring "the inner thought processes of a youth, Gaylord Le Claire, who finds himself developing into a homosexual. As we first meet Gaylord, he doesn't realize why he is unlike anyone else he knows; why he has longings to be near a high-school friend, Bob Blake; why he wishes he were a girl. His unhappiness is intensified by the cruelty of his school friends, who realize before he does what he is and what it means." It takes a trip to New Orleans -- where quite a bit of the novel takes place, and where Gay (yes, that's what he's called, for short) "has met others like himself" -- to spur he and Bob to get together. Cited in Young, 2360 -- an asterisked listing, indicating a "work of primary importance," yet neither the book nor its author (who wrote an additional gay-themed book, "Somewhere Between the Two," published in 1956) seem to have gotten much attention from scholars of the genre, despite the fact that this would seem to be a fairly early positive portrayal (with an upbeat ending, no less) of a young man's coming-out. (There is, however, a very nice essay to be found online entitled "Resurrecting Jay Little," in which the blogger (Brooks Peters?) writes very appreciatively of the book, and relates the story of his own quest to track down biographical information about its author.) .
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Captain Kidd and His Skeleton Island

Wilkins, Harold T. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation. Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj. (c.1937). First Edition. Hardcover. [light shelfwear, moderate age-toning to edges of text block, attractive gold-foil endpaper maps; jacket has very shallow paper loss at top of spine, a little wear to base of spine, light soiling to rear panel]. (B&W plates, endpaper maps) Uncommon biography of the supposed pirate, William Kidd, who in the author's view (per the jacket blurb) "was railroaded to the gallows [in 1701] by 'fair weather' friends" -- essentially scapegoated for the misdeeds of others. In some measure the book is a bit of a tease: the author refers extensively to Kidd's "Original Authentic Charts of Skeleton Islands," claimed to have been "dug out of Kidd's own ingenious hiding place." (In reality, according to my little bit of research, he got them from a guy named Hubert Palmer, who found them in a bureau that he bought from an antique dealer in 1932.) In any event, he gives the reader "enough of [them] to indicate their authenticity -- just enough for that -- for he expects to 'follow through' to the hiding place where lie these treasures." One suspects that Wilkins, a well-known pseudohistorian of the day, was priming his own pump: he had previously published at least four books on the topic of -- wait for it -- hunting for buried treasure. He later moved on to other (and otherwordly) topics, notably positing the theory, in the 1950s, that UFOs were laying siege to the Earth. (He wrote quite a bit about "unsolved mysteries," and was fond of such wacky ideas as the notion that the descendants of the original inhabitants of Atlantis were living in underground caves in South America.) .
Type-Faces: A Photographic Study of Ward Ritchie [*SIGNED* limited  edition; incomplete copy (see notes)]

Type-Faces: A Photographic Study of Ward Ritchie [*SIGNED* limited edition; incomplete copy (see notes)]

Blanco, Amanda; with a foreword by Lawrence Clark Powell Northridge CA: Santa Susana Press. Near Fine. 1988. Limited Edition. Hardcover. [brown cloth clamshell box has some minor scuffing to the underside; mounted plates are in Fine condition]. (B&W photographs) SIGNED by the subject, master printer Ward Ritchie, on the title page and also on Plate 12, latterly with an inscription "For old friends from the 1930s -- the Petits"; additionally SIGNED by Lawrence Clark Powell on the limitation page. "Designed, printed and produced by D'Ambrosio, using hand set Della Robbia type and a Vandercook No. 4 proof press . . . under the direction of Norman E. Tanis, Director of Libraries, California State University, Northridge." Contents: ii [title page]; iii-v (Foreword by Lawrence Clark Powell); followed by Plates 1 (WR at work, 1984), 2 ("The 'burden' of printing by hand on an antique Albion press"), 3 ("Setting the frisket"), 4 ("The man and his press"), 5 ("Anticipation"), 7 (Grant Dahlstrom, Jake Zeitlin, WR, and LCP -- the Zamorano 'Compadres' -- at the Clark Library, 1980), 9 (Irving Block, Norman Tanis and WR at an exhibition of WR's books at the Oviatt Library, 1985), 10 ("A good sport"; WR with a tennis racket), 11 ("Gosh! Isn't this fun?"), 12 ("Ward Ritchie: A man for past, present, and future centuries," 1986). Each of the photographic plates is a 4x6 black-and-white print mounted on 2-ply archival board; the text is printed on the same type of boards. [NOTE that Plates 6 and 8 are not present.] The plates are followed by two boards containing "About the Photographer," plus the limitation page stating this to be No. 24 of sixty-five copies; these latter three boards all un-numbered. NOTE also that two of the plates have the previous owner's address label on the verso. NOTE also that there may be another missing board; the order was jumbled when I acquired this, and I'm not certain if the limitation page belongs at the end (where I've placed it) or at the beginning. (There is no page numbered "i", which makes me slightly suspicious.) At any rate, the set IS incomplete, with only 10 of the original 12 plates present, and is commensurately bargain-priced. [Another NOTE: the scanned image is of Plate 1.] Signed by Collection of Signatures .