Sunday, April 25, 2021

Something About Mistaken Identity

What’s in a name?

To begin, I am chalking this up to a mistake in the initial graphic Puffin Books released. 

In 2004, Puffin re-released 10 books in the Bellairs Corpus with revised covers. The artwork was the same, but these had new titles identifying them as “A John Bellairs Mystery” and a scroll underneath with the title. The blog mentioned the news when it occurred.

One of the images appearing online to promote the rollout was one for The Specter from the Magician’s Museum. I thought it was strange to reissue the title so soon since it was only in 2001 when it was initially released. But, as the Puffin press release said, “loyal fans and enticed newcomers will love the series even more with this haunting new look.”


Anyway, the Brett Helquist artwork remained the same between the two Puffin editions. Even though the 2001 edition identified the book as staring “John Bellairs’s Lewis Barnavelt”, the initial image of the 2004 edition referred to it as “A John Bellairs Mystery featuring Johnny Dixon.”

As far as I can tell, Puffin never published anything with the incorrect character name. I suspect if they did, such volumes would be exciting collection keepsakes. If I’m wrong, and you have such a rare thing, please consider sharing some images of the cover and copyright page with us.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Well, the only paperback I have of this title is a First Printing, but if I ever do run across a cover with a name error I will be sure to send pictures. It is really not all that unusual to find early pre-publication errors in ads for upcoming books. One supposed Robert Lawson illustrated title (Pete the Pelican by Rita Kissin) got started with a mistake in a Publishers Weekly ad. The book was actually illustrated by Joel Stolper, but because of the mistake this title has shown up in Robert Lawson bibliographies for years. I found another mention of a Lawson illustrated jacket that I have to assume was an error when searching Publishers Weekly. I will not mention the title and author because I do not want to start another Phantom title in Lawson's bibliography.