February 6, 2010

Pieces of Modesty - First Printing by Souvenir Press!

Stop the presses!
Actually, don't stop them, because I've been waiting years for this...


Souvenir Press started reprinting the Modesty Blaise novels back in 2000 -- the first time this publisher had printed them in paperback. Souvenir Press was the 'original' publisher of the series, having printed the first U.K. hardcover editions, with one exception... Pieces of Modesty.

I still, after all these years of research, haven't been able to find out why Souvenir Press never published Pieces of Modesty. Mysterious Press published it in both hardcover and paperback in the U.S.A., and Pan printed the novel in paperback in various english-speaking countries (U.S.A., Australia, and the U.K.)

The next mystery arose when Souvenir began reprinting the series in paperback: did this mean they had bought the paperback reprint rights to Pieces of Modesty along with the reprint rights to the others? A few years ago, a placeholder appeared on Amazon U.K., but it began to seem like this must have been a mistake, as no book appeared. (The last one published by Souvenir had been Cobra Trap, in 2006).
The new paperback reprints used the cover art from the original hardcover printings. So the more exciting mystery for me, the collector of Modesty Blaise book covers, was: if Souvenir were to finally print Pieces, what would they use for the cover art? This was the only book without any 'original' cover artwork.

Well, the book has now appeared Amazon UK and Amazon Canada, with a release date March 2010, and a cover that fits well with these editions! The source of the artwork is still a mystery, however; I won't be able to find out who the artist is until I get my hands on the book. It looks very similar to the Holdaway covers for the first two books, so either this is an old Holdaway drawing, or a new one created to match his style.
UK readers, you'll be able to get it as of March 4th; I'll have to wait until March 31st. No word yet on when it will be available on Amazon USA. So whoever gets their hands on the book first... please let everyone know who the cover artist is!

You can see all the english-version Modesty covers collected here; books in other languages can be found via this page.
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3 comments:

健康保寶 said...
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Elaine said...

I have just seen your comment over on my review of Pieces of Modesty:

http://randomjottings.typepad.com/random_jottings_of_an_ope/2010/03/modesty_blaise.html

and I will try and find out who did the cover design for you!

Elaine said...

I think Souvenir Press will be in contact with you but this is what they said re the cover:

"Our new paperback editions of the Modesty Blaise books use the original cover art from the hardback editions. However 'Pieces of Modesty' was published in paperback by Pan without a hardback edition, so we didn't have an image to work with. So we tried to keep to the style used on the original hardback covers of 'Modesty Blaise' and 'A Taste for Death', which both use illustrations of weapons on the cover rather than illustrations of Modesty (which are used on the other books)"