The Antiques Trade Gazette recently issued a ‘book special’ number to coincide with the London Book Fairs. There were, of course, no real book fairs this year but the PBFA and some other organisations ran ‘Virtual Fairs.’ The magazine (the ‘ATG’, to aficionados) had pages and pages of highlights and two interviews with collectors. I was one of them, and you can read the article here.
Most collectors start fairly aimlessly, drift into their specialism and then wallow there like a liner trapped in a whirlpool. I was no exception. I became obsessed by bibliomysteries, which is to say crime fiction with some sort of bookish theme to the plot. In the ATG I recommend collecting crime fiction by theme, not author, so here are some examples. Two of these books are reprints, by the way, and can be picked up for five or ten pounds at book fairs. If they were by famous authors they might cost ten times as much. Welcome to the inside track of collecting by theme…
Inside track! The first book is a horse racing thriller by Nat Gould. Huge in his day, he wrote dozens of best sellers set in the world of riding, betting and nobbling. Decades later Dick Francis continued the theme with similar success. Next is a medical mystery with a cracking cover and title – it doesn’t get more straightforward than that. ‘Death Takes The Stage’ is pretty obvious too. The theme of performing arts is well covered in detective fiction and Sussex author Simon Brett specialises in them.
Finally, ‘The Secret of The Siding’. As the subtitle suggests, this railway-themed novel is ‘a mystery thriller from a new angle.’ I hope that this ‘new angle’ inspires you to collect in your own area of interest. There are about a quarter of a million crime fiction books out there, so whatever your passion you’re sure to find plenty of titles in your line – and very little competition for them. Happy hunting!