Lost and FOUND!

I hope you’ll forgive a bit of self-promotion here,  as this has been a long time coming.

I’ve been on the missing persons list for a few months, putting the finishing touches on my book MISSING MYSTERIES: A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF NONEXISTENT MYSTERIES. I began this massive satirical reference back in 2011 and it has finally launched—in a shiny,  full-color, large format paperback edition from Black Scat Books.


I might as well let the blurbs speak for themselves because—frankly—I’m pooped.


“Derek Pell is quite mad, in rather a brilliant way.”Lawrence Block

“Pell’s satire doesn’t lack for sharp edges. His twisted humor is sure to appeal to crime-fiction lovers.”J. Kingston Pierce, THE RAP SHEET

“This book is a lot of fun!” —Steven Heller


Copies are now available worldwide on Amazon. CLICK HERE TO ORDER


The glory days when Grove Press ruled . . .

Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the Incorporation of the Avant-Garde
by Loren Glass
Stanford University Press

The books Grove Press  published in the 1960s fueled the cultural and  political revolt and changed America. The enormous  impact this one renegade publisher had is inconceivable today. We take for granted the freedom to read books like Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch, but it wasn’t all that long ago such titles were banned. That’s not to say little brush fires of censorship don’t arise today, but there are no more infernos— thanks in large part to Barney Rosset’s remarkable press.

Loren Glass provides a fascinating and in-depth history of Grove —its landmark censorship battles, in-house  marketing strategies and distinctive covers, and  the creative  editors and translators who—under Rosset’s direction—made Grove into an iconic colophon.

For Baby Boomers, Counter-Culture Colophon is heady nostalgia, but for everyone else it’ll prove to be an eye-opener.


Somebody Stole My Rave!

Over the past few weeks I’ve  read a dozen rave reviews of Lawrence Block’s new Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery, THE BURGLAR WHO COUNTED THE SPOONS.

Well that’s fine and dandy, but what about my rave?—this rave—what the hell am I supposed to write when there’s nothing left to say that hasn’t been said already. (OK, that’s redundant.)  It would be easy if I could just  type “Love it!” —end of story. But no,  they’ve all said that.

Funny, witty, charming, LOL, beloved, tightly researched, delightful, lighthearted, comfortable, clever, madcap, amusing, etc. …   are out.

Same goes for a brief plot summary.

Do I dare  mention Barnegat Books or Raffles the cat?  Bernie’s lesbian sidekick Carolyn?

No way, the bloggers have all been there and done that and done it again.  I can’t even say I’ve missed Bernie  like “an old friend” (and believe me, I have) because—as it turns out—Bernie is everybody’s old friend. And  he doesn’t even have a freaking Facebook page.

I thought about searching my thesaurus for archaic praise, but once I stick my head in Roget it takes weeks to get it out and, by then, someone will have beaten me to the  punch bowl.

If I was still a hippie I could call the novel “groovy” and “far out” (which it is) but I’m not.

So forgive me, Larry, but I give up.  I’m throwing in the towel.

Besides, why should I have to share the private pleasure I derive from devouring a Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery?

It’s nobody’s business but mine.



Captain Cap Sails to Brooklyn!


Catch the FREE book launch and performance by Doug Skinner tomorrow (Nov. 23) at  5PM at the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn. Doug will be reading and signing copies of his illustrated translation of CAPTAIN CAP: HIS ADVENTURES, HIS IDEAS, HIS DRINKS published by Black Scat Books.


Fun for all & all for fun—including complimentary Captain Cap cocktails!


Daily Heller Does NOIR


Steven Heller, the editor of one of our favorite design anthologies (Sex Appeal: The Art of Allure in Graphic and Advertising Design), interviewed Norman Conquest, the publisher of Black Scat Books,  for his Daily Heller blog at PRINT magazine. You can read it here.


Photo Books: Learn & Yearn

Here are 9 new books for the shutterbug on your list—from the art of posing women to running a professional photo business.



The Photograph: Composition and Color Design
by Harald Mante
(Rocky Nook)




Talking Pictures
Images and Messages Rescued From the Past
by Ransom Riggs



Photo Inspiration
Secrets Behind Stunning Images


The Photographer’s MBA
Everything You Need to Know for Your Photography Business
Sal Cincotta



Extraordinary Everyday Photography
Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring




Shoot Sexy
Pinup Photography in the Digital Age
Ryan Armbrust
(Focal Press)



The Art of Boudoir Photography
How to Create Stunning Photographs of Women
Christa Meola
(New Riders)



Photographing Women: 1,000 Poses
Eliot Siegel



Photoshop for Artists: A Complete Guide for Fine Artists,
Photographers, and Printmakers
Sylvie Covey
(Watson Guptill)


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