Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Damaged but dandy dust jacket: "Mystery at High Hedges"

I absolutely love this dust jacket — even with its big chunk missing and even though the identity of artist is unknown — on a book I discovered at The York Emporium.

  • Title: Mystery at High Hedges
  • Author: Edith Bishop Sherman
  • About the author: Edith Bishop Sherman wrote children's books and magazine articles. She died at age 81 on February 19, 1971, at her home in northern New Jersey, according to The New York Times. Her other books included Mistress Madcap, Polly What's-her-name and Upstairs, Downstairs: A Boarding School Mystery for Girls.
  • Cover illustrator: Unknown. But see more about the cover below.
  • Publication year: 1937
  • Publisher: The Goldsmith Publishing Company
  • Original price: Unknown
  • Pages: 251
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Provenance: The following is written on the first page...
    Property of Mary Pride [or Prill]
    153 S. Beaver St.
    York, Pa. — 1944
    [and then in a different style of handwriting]
    School — Hannah Penn
    Grade — 9-6
    Present from Polyanna Mary Distefano for Christmas
  • Dust jacket blurb: "Marcia turns up her nose at spending the summer in a poky little New Jersey town, but what with haunted houses, mysterious disappearances and a near drowning, the summer is anything but boring. A mystery story told with the inimitable charm and brilliance of this famous writer of girls' books."
  • First sentence: Her eyes searching the crowd of upturned faces upon the dock below her, Marcia Lambert followed a heavily-laden porter down the gang-plank from the big transatlantic liner Ile de Mer.
  • Last sentence: "High hedges are all right, Aunt Hattie, only I hope there'll always be a hole in mine — somewhere — big enough for folks to come through!"
  • Random sentence from middle: "The Heel Woman! It's the Heel Woman!"
  • Online commentary: Here's an excerpt of what Diane Plumley wrote about the book on The Bookshop Blog in July 2011: "It’s a simple story, nothing elaborate, or scary, or even very mysterious, but for me, it rang true then and and still did. ... I suppose we all have some book from our youth that remains on the edge of our consciousness. Be it a on of the Hardy Boys books, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret of the Old Clock etc. If we’re lucky, we get a second chance, and maybe a third, fourth, fifth to experience the thrill the book gave us when we were young and just starting to become lovers of books."

* * *

But wait, there's more!

While nosing around online and trying to discover more about Mystery at High Hedges — and especially the identity of the dust-jacket illustrator — I discovered that the original jacket illustration, and its color guide, were sold at a 2006 auction! There were still no clues as to the identity of the artist, but it offered a rare look inside the design process of a book that's more than eight decades old.

One handwritten note states: "Can we leave out yellow under black so it won't be yellowish black when printed wet yellow & black — and could we print blue over black to make black shine."

Here are some screen shots from the page on Heritage Auctions.

1 comment:

  1. Great cover. I love the covers from youth mystery novels from that era. They hook you and make you want to read the book.