Collecting Adam Hall

I’ve written previously about how much I enjoy Adam Hall’s Quiller.  In The Berlin Memorandum, released in 1965 and retitled to The Quiller Memorandum in the US.

Today I’d like to highlight a few of the signed copies of Quiller books I own.

The first edition of the The Berlin Memorandum has a flat red dust jacket with green boards. I do love the simplicity of the cover. The tag line “A novel of espionage – Berlin 1965” combined with the title immediately make you want to know more.

I’ve got a couple of copies of this edition and although unsigned I have picked up something neat that I keep with my copy. A Quiller bookmark, signed by Hall.

As you can see here and will see more of in a bit, Hall had wonderful handwriting. Adam Hall was the pen name of Elleston Trevor, a truly prolific author who changed names and genres at the drop of a hat. Children’s books, nonfiction, thrillers, mysteries, romances – he wrote them all. About the only type of book I don’t think he wrote was science fiction, probably more due to a lack of an idea than any disdain of the genre. He’s probably best know for The Flight of the Phoenix, which has been adapted for film twice, but among spy fans his Quiller novels rank him with the best of le Carré and Deighton.

In addition to the UK first edition, I was also able to find this French edition of the first Quiller book. The cover is great and my copy includes an inscription by Hall in French. Translated it reads – “For Mrs. Sven Nielsen, with my respect and in all sympathy. Adam Hall” although I’m not sure what tragedy the madame was dealing with, I was able to find that Sven Nielsen ran Presses de la Cité which was Hall’s publisher in France.

However, my favorite of the signed Quiller books I’ve collected is The Kobra Manifesto. It’s an association copy given by Hall to the author of The Shootist, Gordon Swarthout, which had just been released as a film starring John Wayne. Swathout and his wife Kathryn, also a writer, lived in Scottsdale, Arizona a short drive from where Hall lived and presumably they knew each other.

It included a separate note to Swathout and his wife congratulating them on the adaption  and joking that Swathout finally gave Wayne his big break.

The best part? I bought it for five bucks. Collecting doesn’t get any better than that!

Further reading on Quiller and Hall- – a comprehensive, albeit not recently updated, site for all things Quiller.

Bradley on Film– Matthew Bradley wrote about, interviewed, and befriended Hall and his posts on him are worth checking out.

Quiller: A Profile and Bury Him Among Kings: Intimate Glimpses of the Life and Work of Elleston Trevor – His wife,  Chaille Trevor, published a touching tribute to his writing and their love. Bonus, it includes the only Quiller short story. – Nick Jones wrote a few posts on Quiller but this one is a must read if you are collecting Quiller first editions.

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