I've long had an interest in the American Noir of the 1930s-1950s period and was particularly happy to find that The Library of America considers much of the work of that period worthy of being added to its list. In fact, I know of six volumes published so far: two collections of Raymond Chandler's work, two volumes from Dashiell Hammett, and two volumes entitled "Crime Novels," one covering the decades of the thirties and forties and another of work first published in the fifties.
In its own words, The Library of America publishes "America's best and most significant writing in durable and authoritative editions." I totally agree with that description and I've been collecting LOA books for a few years now, adding two or three a year to my shelves.
Today I've been reading Cornell Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man, a novel that is included in Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s & 40s. I plan to review the novel when I finish it because it is one of those "lost novels" that few people remember and that is a shame. But what I already find interesting is the great contrast between the quality of the volume from which I'm reading Woolrich's book (classy, full cloth binding, acid free paper) with the way that it was marketed in its earlier life.
Take a look at this 1949 cover:
Several of Cornell Woolrich's novels were published under the name of "William Irish," so no big surprise there. What makes me chuckle is how misleading this rather outlandish cover is about the book's plot, making it appear to be some kind of ghoulish horror novel when it is actually more akin to the kind of story that made Alfred Hitchcock famous. I wonder how many readers judged this book by its cover.