Monday, November 07, 2011

A Nice Find

I don't normally take part in the "New in the House" series, as a number of my friends and fellow bloggers do, but I came across something today I have to share. One of the items from my collection that I really regretted losing in the fire was a hardback copy of a Mickey Spillane novel (I don't remember which one) that Bill Crider took to the Milwaukee Bouchercon when Spillane attended and got signed for me. I've always appreciated Bill doing that for me. Well, today I was in Half Price Books browsing through their nostalgia section when I saw a paperback copy of what I consider to be Spillane's best novel, ONE LONELY NIGHT. I pulled it off the shelf to look at it, even though I have a policy of not buying books I've already read, and it had a sticker on it that said "Signed". Of course I had to open up the bag and take a look at the inscription, which starts off (wait for it), "Hi, James." Not me, naturally, but still, there it was in Mickey Spillane's handwriting: "Hi, James."


Yes, it came home with me. And I had to sit down and read the opening chapter again, one of the very best opening chapters in all of mystery fiction. For my money, the only one that can match it is the opening chapter of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, and that's only because that chapter has such a great last line. I'm not sure anything will ever equal the impact the first chapter of ONE LONELY NIGHT had on me when I read it the first time on the front porch of my sister's house in 1970. Reading it today, it's still great. And I have a signed Spillane again.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a cool story...yours AND Mickey's. NIGHT is definitely his masterpiece and that first chapter works beautifully as a self-contained short story for the uninitiated interesting in sampling the Mick at his very best. And that sure was a great BoucherCon.

--Stephen Mertz

Scott Cupp said...

jealousy abounds

James Reasoner said...

And I didn't even mention how much I paid for it, which was $6.00. (Regular price $10.00, but I had a 40% off one item coupon.)

Jerry House said...

I've often wondered why this chapter is not taught in literature classes.

George said...

Congratulations on a great book find! I agree with you: ONE LONELY NIGHT is Spillane's best book. And Jerry is right: Chapter One should be taught in Literature classes!

BISH said...

Nice bit of serendipity . . .

Bill Crider said...

Best find in a long time!

Randy Johnson said...

As Scott says, jealous...

Keith said...

You've got to be kidding me! Six bucks for a book signed by Spillane? That's a steal and a half. Jealousy more than abounds.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have this version, but not signed. Cool.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Happy for you, Mr. Reasoner! I have read Spillane way in the past but not ONE LONELY NIGHT which I will soon as I get hold of it. Hopefully, one of his signed copies will have found their way to India.