I just discovered some book illustrators and cover designers were never credited by Collins. In particular the first UK editions of Agatha Christies Murder on the Orient, published in 1934. Maybe Collins were not alone in this. However, I will need further research. A book cover is so important and the artist needs to be recognised.
1934 was the year my Mother was born. This is a mere coincidence and has nothing to do with the issue here, although I know my Mum would have raised an eyebrow or two. Not even a small mention on the inside cover? I hear her say. When a book is published there is usually a list of acknowledgments and everyone should get a mention about the work they put in.
I would love to know who produced this work, not because I admire it but because I think it is only right. It is a wonderful picture that required a labour of love from the artist. Probably someone’s grandad who still has sketches of it stashed away in an attic somewhere. Where are you? Mystery artist.
The Americans were kinder and publishers acknowledged their artists. Murder on the Orient express was first published in a non-book form. The Saturday Evening Post serialized six episodes under the title ‘Murder in the Calais Coach. Retitled because Graham Greene’s best-selling novel Orient express had been published in 1933.
The artist-illustrator was William C. Hopple who was born in Brooklyn New York in 1893. That is all I know about him. He deserves a mention at least. His work has a sense of movement and suspense, you can almost feel the train moving as you look deep inside the image.
A hardback book was published in America by Dodds Mead and Company two months after the British edition which used the original title. The book cover was designed by Clayton Rawson 1906 – 1971. Tom Adams designed a lot of Agatha Christie covers and was her most well known designer. He worked on UK and US publications.
I love the way the styles change over the years as new editions are produced. The story, timeless but the impression on the cover needs to move with the fashions of the time. Designing book covers is a skill and important for the publicity of a book. Most sales come from first impressions and artists should at least be recognised for the work they produce.