Saturday, March 05, 2011


I just got a copy of Killy by Donald Westlake.

It is in hard cover, a first edition, and its dust jacket is unclipped. It is a little worn and has some tanning on it. Since I got it for $6.50, I am rather pleased with it. There is only one small problem with it: it is an ex-library copy, a fact the seller did not disclose. Had I paid more, I would be pissed off. But since I got it so cheaply, I can live with it. (Additionally, I won't be so worried about messing it up when I read it.) The seller gave the item a detailed listing and I am certain he purposely omitted the fact that it was an ex-library copy.  (The library sold it for 10 cents.)

My copy of Killy came from the Daycroft School Library. Now closed, this Christian Scientist school was located in the tony Connecticut town of Greenwich (now better known as the primary base for most American hedge funds). It seems odd to me that a Christian Scientist school would have early Westlake novels. Perhaps a librarian had a fondness for crime novels and ordered it. Killy does not strike me as the kind of thing that the school founders would want their students reading. From the dust jacket:

Killy is a first rate detective story about the solving of several murders, but it is even more a novel about how a young man still filled with illusions can be turned into the inevitable path of the ruthless seeking for power.

Or perhaps maybe the students were to read it as a cautionary tale.  Having had a look at the place, I would think they could have used a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go instead as it looks like the kind of place where they keep cloned kids until they are ready to donate their organs.  (But I suppose being a Christian Scientist school, such a thing would have been singularly unlikely.  Or, perhaps, that is the perfect cover?)
The dust jacket of my copy of Killy was designed by Arthur Hawkins.  I don't know much about him (I get the feeling he was an important/prominent designer or artist) but I like what I see of his work.  He's also done:

I am still reading Tana French's fantastic second novel The Likeness and don't know when I will get around to reading Killy.


Louis XIV, 'The Sun King' (Nick Jones) said...

Ooh, I hate when sellers don't tell you a book is ex-library. It's just bloody rude apart from anything else. Still, ex-library copies can be interesting in and of themselves, as you've just proved. I've got a good one coming up in a few weeks' time (yes, that's how far ahead I'm planning on the blog these days).

Killy's a good read too. not a typical Westlake crime novel at all.

Book Glutton said...

Just when I calmed down about the ex-library thing, I went to Borders to see if I could get a deal on something during their store closing sale. I got two manga (Bakuman, vols 1&2, by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata)and after the cashier swipes by debit card, he whips out a black marker and slashes a line through the UPCs. Boy was I pissed. No reason for that at all. Everything at Borders is now non-returnable and non-refundable anyway. I don't like people marking my stuff.

Bakuman is kind of neat - its about two boys who want to be mangaka (or is that mangakas?) and is the story of how they write and struggle to publish. And other stuff. Manga about normal things.

I look forward to your next ex-libris post; the shit we find interesting is amazing, isn't it?