Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Book market watch: Books by D. E. Stevenson

Going through a stack of used books, getting them ready for sale, I came across one that looked like about a three dollar book, everything else being equal - used paperback, good condition, Ace Books, 1978 printing. It proclaims itself "A D.E. Stevenson Romance" at the top of the front cover, but the artwork is a family seated at dinner. (Oh good, not that sort of "romance," I say to myself. I can handle only so many of the dangerous-illicit-encounters-are-as-good-as-love-maybe-better books before I get exasperated. You know the ones I mean.)

Anyway, The Musgraves (the book I'm investigating) looks to be something a little bit different from the standard "romance," and Ace books in this line sometimes get collectible, so I go look it up on the Internet. The prices are not what I expected. As I look around, a copy listed for nine dollars and some cents sells. And most of the rest are $15, $20, $25 and up. Yikes. I do a bit of nosing about. The author wrote quite a few books, and a surprising number of the titles are $10, $15 and up books, even in standard mass market paperback editions. I'm finding hardbacks for $60. Fascinating. Another author that's hot but out of print? Maybe?

Has anybody read D. E. Stevenson? Glancing through this book, I didn't happen on anything objectionable. On the contrary, it seemed good, clean fun. Anybody? This is not an author I know. Is she a good one to recommend?

Hmmm. While waiting for reader input, let's see what we can find on the Internet. Here's a Moffat Town write-up on her. I guess she was Scottish...

Oh, bingo! In 2003, the North American Branch Angela Thirkell Society (ATS) sent a survey to its members asking about their favorite authors, and she's one of the top selections, according to this 2004 speech by Jerri Chase of the Richmond, Virginia branch of the society: Comparing the lives and works of Dorothy L. Sayers, D.E. Stevenson and Georgette Heyer with Angela Thirkell.

That puts her in illustrious company indeed. And being listed in the same breath with Sayers, Heyer or Thirkell, any one, would be a sort of recommendation in itself.

Now, if I can just remember who it is who was bemoaning that they'd read everything ever written by Angela Thirkell and wanted another author to try...

At any rate, don't put her books out willy-nilly for 50 cents at a yard sale, unless you like kicking yourself later. ;)

4 comments:

Jen Robinson said...

I love D. E. Stevenson's romances (and I'm not normally a reader of romance novels at all). I consider them "comfort reading." I was introduced to them by my mother and grandmother, and now I collect them myself, and re-read them regularly. The best ones are set during WWII (e.g. "Listening Valley", my favorite). You might also enjoy "Celia's House", which bears what simply must be intentional echoes of Mansfield Park. I snatch these books up whenever I run across them.

Kathryn Judson said...

Jen, Thanks for the info. I have an affinity for books written during and before World War II, plus I'm always looking for good authors I haven't met yet. Stevenson's going on my to-read list.

Mim said...

I am a total DE Stevenson fan, have most of her books and am on a continual crusade to get the remainder in my collection. They are wonderful reads, especially the Mrs. Tim series - easy reads, comforting.

Kathryn Judson said...

Mim, Thanks for stopping by, and for the recommendation.