The Devil Drives – Virgil Markham (1932)

DevilDrivesThis is a book that I’ve been dying to get to for a while now.  First, it’s featured in John Pugmire’s list of 99 key locked room novels.  Second, reliable impossible crime enthusiast JJ at The Invisible Event posted a review raving about the book despite declaring it contrary to his usual mystery standards.  The real reason though that I’ve been excited about The Devil Drives is the physical copy I got hold of – a 1944 Bartholomew House edition.

I’ve never had a Bart before, but this one is gorgeous.  The feel of the cover is almost that of a well worn leather baseball mitt.  The pages are of WW2 regulation paper-saving stock – so soft to the touch that they feel like they were printed on the skin of a lamb who lived its entire short little life in a bath of warm olive oil.  I have a dozen or so other books of similar vintage (all Pocket Books and nearly all Ellery Queens), but my copy of The Devil Drives is unsurpassed in the experience of simply holding it.

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