Wednesday, September 21, 2022

More of the Art of Agatha: Further Examples of (Mostly) Exquisite Christie Paperback Art

William Teason, 1968
Readers of the book will know
how clever a cover this is

Mid-century Agatha Christie hardcover art was often deadly dull indeed, with the publishers seemingly relying on Christie's name alone to sell books (not a bad call either, that).  

However the paperback art for Christie's books was another case entirely.  I have already done posts on some of the superb artwork for Pocket done by Tom Adams and the lesser known Mara McAfee.  

Here are additional some examples of Christie paperback art: 

Works by William Teason, who did Christie covers for Dell from the Fifties into the Seventies

Some of the more surrealistic Christie covers Tom Adams did for the English publisher Fontana in the Seventies and a couple more of his wonderful Pockets I have found

Some examples of Bantam and Pocket paperback editions I purchased as a kid back in the Seventies and the Eighties with appropriately, my own pocket money

Those later Pockets bring back tremendous nostalgia for me, of a time when reading mysteries was really exciting, in a way it never has been quite since: the thrill as a kid of desperately trying to determine just whodunit--and usually never coming close succeeding!

Some of the surrealistic images from Tom Adams' wild Fontana covers
As weird as this Caribbean Mystery cover is, he did an even weirder one,
with just the old Major's glass eye!
Here Adams vividly depicts the murder scene in MMD and a pivotal moment in TMC.  Clever!
the back covers
Bantam had the rights to a small number of Christie titles in the Seventies,
including Death on the Nile.  On left it used  a Tom Adams Fontana design, on right a
rather dull depiction of the Seven Dials Mystery. 
I used this latter edition for a middle school book report back in 1978.
These later Pocket designs were rather minimalistic, but I always found the Ordeal
cover from 1976 rather sinister.  I remember trying to figure it out and being completely gulled.
William Teason, 1970 and 1969
He loved the skull motif and a variety of weapons.

presumed William Teason, the classic items composition design

William Teason

presumed William Teason

William Teason, 1959
a droll, ironic design

back cover

William Teason, 1965
Arthur Hastings on the letter from Emily Arundell
that draws him and Poirot into the case:
"It's exactly as  though a spider had got into an inkpot
and were walking over a sheet of notepaper!"


  1. Those are all wonderful! Poirot Loses a Client is my favorite.

    1. I love how it was inspired by the Hastings quote. Is that a crystal ball to denote the seances in the book?

  2. "Better than Passenger to Frankfurt". Interesting wording.

    1. Okay I had to look that up and as you may have guest this is a beautiful example of mendacious blurbage. Here's the Boston Globe "Mysteries of the Week" notice of The Golden Ball and Other Stories:

      "The Christie book features 15 stories by the author. She is in great form in this book. She was not in her last one, "Passenger to Frankfurt," which was probably her all-time lemon."

      From that Dell got "Better than Passenger to Frankfurt!"

      Of course Frankfurt was, incredibly, on the American bestseller lists for six months.