Oranges & Lemons – Date And Cover
I now have a publication date for ‘Oranges & Lemons’, the next Bryant & May mystery. It’ll be out on July 23rd in time for your summer holiday reading. That’s a tad later than usual because last year there were two new B&Ms, so the paperback versions of both ‘The Lonely Hour’ and ‘England’s Finest’ precede it. Most writers are wary of producing too frequently in case reader fatigue sets in. I know you are made of stronger stuff.
The hardbacks and the paperback editions are marketed a little differently. The former sell more to collectors and the passionate readers (that’s you lot), and are branded with Bryant & May’s logo in the traditional style, while the paperbacks are flogged as Peculiar Crimes Unit Mysteries and promote the story title more.
It’s important to get the covers reflecting the timing of the stories, which can be dated from Raymond Land’s memos – so the next book takes place in the spring. The first thing was for cover artist Max Schindler to sketch the one scene I had given him – the Speaker of the House being inundated with fruit. It wasn’t much for him to go on, but of course he ran with it.
When it came to the coloured version, Max decided to escape from the usual blues and blacks of most murder mysteries and go for mad pink. It’s unusual to use pink flowers to promote a pretty dark story, and I was worried that readers might think I’d written a ‘cosy’ (not on my watch) but I like the result.
I’ve always liked the typefaces, which are clean and modern but nod to the 1830s as well. In the paperback versions, they get even more stripped back and elegant. We no longer use the old PCU logos, 1, because I’m sure that designer Martin Butterworth’s symbol meant that the very litigious Transport for London would have sued us and b, it belonged to the earlier days of the unit.
We went through a Custard Creams stage in the logo development when art director Simon Moore was in charge – I always loved this one, which ran as a header on the short-lived American PCU site for a while – I think we took the site down because it confused everyone and besides, the unit soon moved out of the Mornington Crescent building it featured.
Next year will see the arrival of the 20th Bryant & May volume, so we’ll be doing something special for that. Meanwhile the TV series is still ‘in development’, which is television-speak for ‘waiting for the author to die’.
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