Sat 20 Jun 2009
ROSS MACDONALD – The Zebra-Striped Hearse. A. A. Knopf, hardcover, 1962. Bantam F2715, paperback reprint; 1st printing, January 1964. Reprinted many times in both hardcover and soft, including those seen below.
If you somehow missed Ross Macdonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse in its hardcover edition or in one of the previous twelve (!) Bantam printings, you get another chance, for that publisher has reprinted it again, after a four-year hiatus.
Because this is one of the best in an outstanding series of private-eye novels, it is a book you shouldn’t miss. You’ll find many elements taken from the author’s own life and placed into the investigation of his detective, Lew Archer, including the runaway father, the canyon forest fire, and California’s unique culture, accurately presented in a book that ranges the state from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
We see the compassion for which Archer is justifiably known, but there is also ample evidence of his intelligence as his creator has him quote Dante in a conversation so well written that it fits in seamlessly.
Shown above is the cover of the 12th printing that Marv was referring to. Others covers that have graced this book are shown below, but to my mind, none of them surpasses the Knopf hardcover First Edition:
Here’s the hardcover UK first edition, from Collins Crime Club, 1963:
And I believe this to be the first UK paperback edition, published by Fontana in 1965:
To finish up this short display, a paperback edition from France, Éditions J’ai Lu #1662, 1984.
[UPDATE] 06-22-09. Submitted by Juri Nummelin, a hardcover edition published in Finland:
See the comments for a link to a short write-up about Juri about Macdonald, including this book.