Friday Faceoff – Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble…


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer and is currently hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog. This week the theme is a cover featuring a potion or perfume bottle, so I’ve stretched the idea of a potion a little further and selected Strong Poison – Book 6 of the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers.


This cover, produced by HarperCollins Publishers in October 1987, is boring given the fabulous premise and what is at stake in this stunning book. Wimsey’s unexpected burst of passion for a desperate woman fighting for her life doesn’t remotely factor into this vanilla cover. There’s nothing innately wrong with it, other than its complete lack of excitement or connection with the gripping content.


This edition was produced by Open Road Media in July 2012 and looks as if it took all of 10 minutes using an off-the-shelf graphics program. This book deserves better.


Published in March 1995 by HarperTorch, this cover is deliberately harking back to the 1930s when this book first appeared. The large title font and relatively small area given over to the artwork may not be to my taste, but I can at least respect the care and attention that has gone into the drawing, which takes three crucial scenes from the book and illustrates them.


This HarperCollins offering, published in 1993, ticks all the boxes as far as I’m concerned. I love the punchy colours and strong art deco feel, along with the detailed depiction of the crucial medium scene in the book. This is my favourite – I even like the black edging, which is unusual for me. But this time around, it has the period styling and small details that turn it into part of the cover rather than a blank interruption of the artwork that so many of these solid blocks of colour and bordering tend to do.


Produced in October 2009, this pink and grey effort by Hodder & Stoughton will certainly draw the eye and is clearly designed to work as a thumbnail. The imagery is stark and crude in comparison to some of the earlier efforts and the colour garish, but I suppose it grabs the attention. However, it doesn’t do the book justice in my opinion. Which is your favourite?


Chuckles at Chuckles Book Cave is promoting both Running Out of Space and Dying for Space


Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang are featuring an except from Dying for Space

16 responses »

    • Ah – how interesting! I suspect my knowledge of the story has very much affected my attitude towards these covers. Thank you for popping in and giving me your opinion:))

  1. My favorite is the HarperCollins from 1993. I love the very stylized look of it. The 1st is definitely on the dull side and the 4th is my least favorite. I love Dorothy L. Sayers and this is a fun mystery. I love seeing the different cover choices.

    • Yes… I personally think she knocks spots of Agatha Christie in terms of characterisation and writing excellence, but I’m aware Lord Peter always ends up looking a bit daft on film…

  2. The black cover from 1993 is my favorite too. I just love everything about it and would love to have that one on my bookshelf. The 1995 one right above it isn’t bad either, although I wish the actual artwork was bigger and the author’s name a little smaller. The pink one is my least favorite.

  3. I agree with you: the HaperCollins one is definitely the best: eye-catching, with a daring color-palette (it wouldn’t be my choice, but I can appreciate it nevertheless) and the art deco style you mention. All the others look dull in comparison.

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