Donald Westlake was nothing if not thorough. In fact, there’s a very strong case to be made that he was a bit OCD, if not for the countervailing case to be made out of the disorder of his filing system. Suffice it to say, the things he cared about received detailed attention and the things he didn’t care for… um… what were we talking about?
Among the things he cared about was keeping a record of his publishing exploits, in detail. Don always maintained a library of his own work, segregated from the rest of his rather immense collection of books by other authors. When the last of the kids moved out of his home in New York City, he converted one of the empty rooms into his personal library of all things Westlake. This part may be fairly typical of most authors with a significant body of work. What makes Don’s library special, and oh, so useful for our purposes, is that he kept a chronological record of every first copy of every book, and every edition, ever published and sent to him by the publisher.
Covering most of five shelves across three ten-foot walls is a physical, and chronological, record of everything Don has ever put in print, or at least every edition that the publisher sent to him. It’s possible that some publishers lapsed on that detail from time to time but unlikely to be a regular occurrence. I have made it my long-term mission to chronicle each and every one of these books and editions for posterity, and the eventual definitive Westlake bibliography, which nobody has quite nailed down yet.
To whet your appetite, here are some scans from the first copy of the first book Don ever received from a publisher, All My Lovers under the pseudonym Alan Marshall and published by Midwood’s Tower Publications. Enjoy…