Judge a Book by its Cover


I’ve never been much of a collector. However, that changed about a year ago while I was fossicking about in an op shop and came across the Fontana June 1970 edition of The Body in the Library. The cover was so delightfully trashy that I had to buy it (helped by the fact that it was only a few dollars). While at first glance, the artwork seems to be deliberately attention grabbing (which it most certainly is), the elements are all drawn directly from the plot, including the bearskin rug, the painted toenails and the spangly dress details. Further investigation revealed that Fontana had published a good deal of Christie titles, all with these wonderful illustrated covers.

There are the menacing oversized insects, superimposed over stylised normality.

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The creepy dolls.


The startled eyes.

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And my personal favourite, the Egyptian themed covers.

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Although I still have some to read, and can’t be sure how relevant some of the covers are to the actual plots, I think these covers were a brilliant marketing decision by Fontana. I know I’m not the only one as I already have one friend also collecting them, and I’ve noticed even in the short time I’ve been buying them, that the prices are definitely starting to creep up as more people start judging a book by its cover.


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