Vintage Mystery Paperbacks at the Iliad Bookshop

After World War II, G.I.’s came home with a powerful reading habit (thanks to the armed service edition paperbacks). This new audience of readers created what we now refer to as the “vintage paperback”. Paperbacks democratized reading because they were very inexpensive compared to the hardbacks being sold at the time  (25 cents vs $4.95).

These inexpensive paperbacks weren’t initially sold in bookstores, but appeared on newsstand racks The artwork was often lurid, but well designed and striking. Paperback cover illustrators like James Avati and Robert McGinnis have become as popular as the authors themselves. But it was the hard-boiled masters like Jim Thompson, Harry Whittington and Richard Stark who made the books so great, but there are literally dozens of authors (some featured below) who await rediscovery.

Here at the Iliad we have a large collection of vintage paperbacks. Prices range from a few dollars to seventy five and a hundred dollars (for the more collectible titles).

Here are a few examples from our vintage paperback stock:

I Wake Up Screaming by Steve Fisher.
Black Lizard Books. 1988 – $3.00

Devil Take the Blue-tail Fly by John Franklin Bardin.
Macfadden Books. 1967. -$2.50

The Mask of Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer.
Pyramid Books. 1962. -$2.00

The Kill-Off by Jim Thompson.
Lion Library. 1957. -$20

Web of Murder by Harry Whittingon.
Gold Medal Books. 1958. -$20

Madball by Frederick Brown.
Dell First Editions. 1953. -$25

The Handle by Richard Stark.
Pocket Books. 1966. $25

The Split by Richard Stark.
Gold Medal Books. 1966. $20

Baghdad Blues by Sam Greenlee.
Bantam Books. 1976. -$10

Black Vendetta by Matt Gattzden.
Belmont Books. 1970. -$4

Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliot Chaze.
Gold Medal Books. 1953. -$75

Note: condition of these books vary from fair to very good. Some copies have corner wear, small scrapes and page browning. Contact us at if you’d like more information (including additional photos) of any of these titles. We have plenty more!