01 May 2007

John Blaine. Danger Below, 1968.

John Blaine. DANGER BELOW. Grosset & Dunlap, NY 1968.

Current Selling Prices
$450-$600 /£220-£300

A much wanted book, one of a handful of true Grosset firsts (normally a reprint house.) Like many rarities it is the last of a series (began in 1947) and it is that odd thing - an illustrated hardback that came out sans jacket. A book that looks like nothing, in fact a book that looks like trash, but in nice condition can be cashed in for a $500 note. Of the content the Wikiman explains:
'The stories focused on teenaged Rick Brant and his ex-Marine pal, Scotty. They live on Spindrift Island off the coast of New Jersey, where Rick's father, Hartson Brant, heads a group of scientists working in the field of electronics, later expanding to a wider range of scientific endeavors. In this way, Rick and Scotty are able to be involved in various adventures in the US and abroad, solving many baffling mysteries. Series second-banana regulars include a resourceful youth from India named Chadha; Steve Ames, agent of a government spy group called JANIG; Rick's pert younger sister Barbara; and proto-girlfriend Janice Miller.

The publishers were averse to any suggestion of the supernatural in the series. An ambiguous coda to "The Blue Ghost Mystery" was dropped, and an entire book ("The Magic Talisman") was rejected due to its inclusion of ESP elements. This lost tale was eventually published in an independent edition in 1990.'

VALUE? Most copies that show up seem to be unpleasant ex library copies with pockets , stamps, labels and perforations, a clean civilian copy can cost as much as $600. Signed copies are not unknown, usually signed Hal Goodwin. John Blaine was a pseudonym for Peter J. Harkins and Harold L. Goodwin. Goodwin wrote the last 21 of the series of 24. Harkins appears to have been the Syd Barrett of the operation.

As always it is often possible to pick up copies more reasonably at Ebay - the trouble with citing Ebay prices (apart from the fact that copies are sometimes in poorish condition and badly described) is that you take yourself out of the equation in the result. Once you actually bid, especially on a decent copy, there can be quite a difference in price. The price before was low because you weren't there! With keen bidders prices can exceed the ABE/ Alibris/Biblio price-- sometimes by a country mile.

The book mentioned above 'The Magic Talisman' appeared as a limited edition of 500 copies and seems to sell for $1200 +. It was published by Manuscript in Mountain Home, Tennessee, after Goodwin's death. Again no jacket and again Ebay might yield up a cheaper copy. [ W/Q *** ]

Incredible trivia - everything you need is at Spindrift Island including where and how to find the books. The cool young Indian guy Chadha should have his name pronounced Chowder like the soup corn chowder and in Hindi his name looks like this:-


stan said...

We enjoy your posts on book collecting, and have nominated you a Thinking Blog.

Bookride said...

Thanks Stan, my first award outside of Hockey--you have cheered me right up! Nigel