Finally Visible In The US


€Invisible Code Comp

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.


19 comments on “Finally Visible In The US”

  1. Dylan Lancaster says:

    I love the witches hats.

  2. Jo W says:

    Yes that’s a very colourful book cover,but the prominent witches’ hats make it look like another Harry Potter type book. The artwork by David Frankland seems more in keeping with the times in which B & M honed their trade.

  3. glasgow1975 says:

    I have to say I am always amazed at what happens to book covers in the US compared to the UK, I hate the crown and flag on this, and as Jo says, the witches hats make it seem like some Harry Potter rip off. Plus the late publication makes Good Reads think it’s no11, not no10 . . .

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    Nice and a change – is it a hardcover?
    The PCC certainly shines out above the B&M.
    The witches hats are a bit Pottermore, but above there’s that nice quote from the Denver Post. So done well.

  5. pheeny says:

    The US cover is expertly done but wildy inappropriate IMHO – the whimsy is too sugar coated the general effect way too perky.I can imagine Florida matrons and wannabee gothgirl early teens buying this, expecting a Mary Perpins type character to descend half way through …

    However I am a big fan of the classic British covers (and the sources they are paying homage to) so am probably very prejudiced

  6. Sue Gaebler says:

    I love it! I am really looking forward to reading this book. I am more interested in what’s between the cover but I do like this cover. I hate the delay in publishing between the UK and the US. Why does it take so long? It’s not like it has to be translated although some may say it does.

  7. glasgow1975 says:

    (I fixed the Good Reads series number btw)

  8. Philip Jackson says:

    Got to say I love the UK covers, and at the risk of sounding shallow, the cover of Full Dark House was the clinch to me buying the book. I love the old railway posters, and the style fits perfectly with the B&M world.

  9. Lynsey says:

    This looks really striking, love the stained glass window! I do love the illustrations – am going to try for a whole set.

  10. Mike Cane says:

    >>>when all the others (except for ‘Seventy Seven Clocks’) are set in the present day.

    HARUMPH. Some of us like traveling back in time.

  11. Helen Martin says:

    The stained glass is very appropriate, but I still prefer the British covers and the original language. Our current calendar is a collection of British railway posters of the twenties and thirties, including a ‘Kings Cross for Scotland’ poster which shows the Walter Scott Memorial flanked by palm trees(!) It’s a very thirties style poster but I really think it could be had up for false advertising.

  12. Steve says:

    Never been a fan of the US covers, they’re too whimsical. Of course there ARE comedic elements to all the B&M stories, but I think the emphasis is put too much in that direction.

  13. Steve says:

    Oh and I hope the book will be available for Kindle at the same time, if not before. In fact I think I’ll go look it up.

  14. John says:

    Hooray for a US edition! I’ll be sure to mention it in December on my blog. I’ve wondered for years now if it was your idea, dear admin, or your publisher’s to add “Bryant and May and the…” to the titles. I would prefer the titles to be shortened as in the US editions.

    To pheeny: Florida matrons haven’t a clue who Christopher Fowler is. And I doubt they’d ever read the books or, if they dared try one, know what to make of his books. They read “name brands” only. I was in Tallahassee last month and had to leave a bookstore when all I heard was a the constant chattering of a couple of biddies looking for James Patterson, Nora Roberts and John Grisham novels. I was disgusted but at last I finally found out who is buying all those books.

  15. Dylan Lancaster says:

    Having never read any of the Harry Potter books and avoided the films I don’t make the association of the hats with any of that but an integral part of the story.

  16. pheeny says:

    I know John – but my point is that the cover seems to be directly appealing to that slightly fluffy middle aged market no doubt in the hope they will confuse it with other somewhat easier offerings – I dimly remember some literary classic being given a very racy cover in the hopes that someone would mistake it for a Jackie Collins type novella.

    However who am I to opine on Florida housewives, for all I know that once having been tempted into the world of Bryant and May they will prove most enthusiastic!

  17. Lulu says:

    Too eager to put a Hold on The Invisible Code at my local public library in California, I didn’t read your full post. Ack. December. It will be difficult, but I can wait.

  18. Lulu says:

    To those who say no one knows who Christopher Fowler is (and I didn’t even know those women in Florida read!), I have spread the word. Lavishly. The most entertaining books I’ve ever read.

  19. John says:

    I actually like the US covers better and think this one is nice. The cover of “The Victoria Vanishes” is actually what drew me to the series. I like how the US covers have significant details that relate to the story that you don’t recognize their importance until you start reading.

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