See what they’ve done here, our friends across the Atlantic? They’ve dropped the words ‘Bryant & May’ from the cover but have hidden their initials in the stained glass window. It’s an elegant solution to the age-old problem; how do you keep refreshing a series? Every time a new volume comes out, the sales of the first, ‘Full Dark House’, rise – but of course that’s the odd book out, being an origin story, when all the others (except for ‘Seventy Seven Clocks’) are set in the present day.
The US covers took a while to find their feet, but now all of them match. They’re painted by Sarah Coleman at Inkymole Studios, and are very sweet, although utterly different from the UK approach, which has a more semiotically complex background. I think to fully appreciate the British covers you have to be aware of old railway posters and Golden Age graphics for detective novels. David Frankland’s artwork is a joy, although he tends to get the heights of my detectives around the wrong way!
Jake Rickwood’s early illustration for ‘Full Dark House’ originally gave John May the pipe, not Arthur Bryant, and there are a few hardbacks around with the incorrect cover – is it too much to hope that these will become collectors’ items?
‘The Invisible Code’ is out in the US on December 17th. Meanwhile, the next volume, ‘Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart’, arrives in the UK in March, so the series will remain a little out of step between the two countries.