Friday Faceoff – ‘Oh, we loves games! Doesn’t we, precious?’


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 puzzle or game, so I’ve selected Cards on the Table – Book 15 of the Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie.


This cover, produced by Berkley in July 2005 looks as though it’s been knocked up on Publisher for a primary school project. A generic card image is given an orange wash, while the ghastly block featuring the title and the author doesn’t even justify its existence by being easy to read.


This edition was produced by HarperCollins Publishers in 2001 and is a far better effort. The tower of collapsing cards gives a sense of movement and drama, with the pale blue background and white font that successfully creates a period feel. I like this cover – in fact it is my favourite by a long country mile.


Published in 2007 by Altın Kitaplar, this Turkish edition is another distressingly bad effort. The artwork is clumsy and obvious with the splashes of blood simply plonked over the image of the cards without any attempt to manipulate them to appear as if the cards have been spattered. Poor Agatha Christie!


This Romanian edition, published by RAO in November 2010 is another digitally generated cover. Although less dreadful than the previous two efforts thanks to the black background which is effective against the playing cards, it still feels amateurish.


This Arabic edition, produced by مكتبة جرير, is the best of the digital covers in my opinion. The wisp of cigar smoke against the black background produces an interesting effort and the grubby, twisted playing card gives a sense of wrongness that is evident in the HarperCollins collapsing card pyramid. Which is your favourite?



The Writer’s Inkwell has featured an article on General William Norman and an excerpt from Dying for Space.


The Genre Minx Book Reviews features another excerpt from Dying for Space.

20 responses »

  1. Yikes. That first cover is just sad. The second one is definitely way better! I like the illustrated, artistic look. But yikes again for the third and the blood splashes, haha. The other two just aren’t quite doing it for me either, though I agree at least the last one has some effort put into it.

  2. Wow! It is so interesting to see all these covers done on Agatha Christie’s “Cards On The Table”!! Some of them were down right pitiful, and I’m glad she’s not around to see them. I agree the HarperCollins one is best, and most effective! Nice post!!👍

  3. Yay, Agatha Christie! And boo, these covers! Gosh, what awful works those generic covers are. They literally heard the title and just ran for the public domain imagery. You’re right about that 2nd cover; at least it’s something composed with elements that compliment one another. It’s, oh, got effort, or something 🙂

  4. None of these is particularly creative or unique, don’t you think? (except maybe the last one that is trying) It feels more like “It’s Agatha Christie. It doesn’t matter what you put on the cover, because she’ll sell anyway.”
    It’s sad, because I think that writers like her deserve the best of the best.

    • Oh yes – funnily enough we were having that discussion about this week’s FF which featured John Wynham, which were another bunch of rather mediocre, disappointing covers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.