by James Thurber
THE Business of selling things in your computer creates situations in which a prospective customer will inquire about what are referred to in “e-commerce” as “product details.” It is a lot work, usually, and mostly (‘at the end of the day’, as the English say — in single-inverted commas, they being as I have said English and still not really over it) the customer decides not to buy.
Still, the erstwhile bookdealer does have the obligation to try to describe things thoroughly if not always clearly, and he is especially gratified if he can help people to keep from making mistakes.
I received the following today:
If this Sara Woods paperback is Popular Library #1350 w/a .75 cover price I’ll take it.
Thanks, Milo Hammerschlager
AFTER Crawling around in the attic for several hours and disturbing a family-party of comatose bats just finishing up with hibernation, I was able to “generate” the following reply:
DEAR Milo Hammerschlager, the “Popular Library” title The Windy Side of the Law which I have up for sale has the following number imprinted in the top left front cover:
AND, In the top right front cover (outer) corner:
IF This helps, the cover-art features a summery blonde wearing an ill-omened expression of cheap significance & leaning on the back of a blue brocade chair in which some rummy is lolling back in smoked glasses and trying to look tough by holding a large pistol in his right hand, barrel pointed upward. It is probably meant as a phallic symbol. The blonde’s head is canted backward, and she appears to be putting out her tongue whilst looking down her nose, although not directly at the handgun. (It seems to me that this is probably a cover-illustration that was turned down by the New Yorker, most likely because of the gun and dark glasses.)
THE Paperback is copyrighted 1965, and it is a “Popular Library” printing of a “Harper” title, in the “Joan Kahn-Harper Novel of Suspense” line.
TO Be truthful, having farmed and been married once upon a time, I no longer care much for all of this “suspense” stuff and so in the hope that this all will help you know what you are getting into, I can also “scan” to you a picture of the book, if you should wish to see it — always stipulated, of course, that one cannot judge a book by its cover, as my 9th-grade English-teacher, Miss Govett, used to say at Nokomis Junior Highschool in south Minneapolis, in the Fall of 1963 (before Kennedy was shot anyway).
THE Thing is described as a prequel to another title, Trusted Like a Fox, by the way. Altogether, this is all so unnerving that I will not blame you, if you decide not to buy this thing. There is after all something to be said after all for peace and quiet, which is why I work at home now, and I for one certainly don’t care for stories about gunplay & bad women, and at the end of the day (as noted above) I expect that you don’t either, if you will just think about it a bit more.
Emmett R Smith
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 18 March 2007]