Keeler In Spanish
Updated November 11, 2014
Spain was Keeler's most successful foreign market -- in fact, his most successful market anywhere, by the number of titles printed. He published dozens of novels with Instituto Editorial Reus of Madrid, almost all of which were translated by Fernando Noriega Olea. Several of these novels were never published in English. Most Spanish Keelers do not have blurbs.
Noches de Sing Sing (Reus, 1941): A dramatic cover for Keeler's first book to be published in Spain (and his most successful novel ever). Courtesy of Alberto Sobórnez. This novel was reissued by Reus, with the same cover, in 2011.
Noches de ladrones (Reus, 2nd ed., 1947; the first ed. was published a few years earlier): A beautiful, dreamlike cover for a dreamlike novel (Thieves' Nights). Courtesy of Mariano García.
Las gafas del Sr. Cagliostro (Reus, 2nd ed., 1947; the first ed. was published a few years earlier): This cover illustrates a dramatic scene in which the hero hangs from a railroad bridge. Courtesy of Alberto Sobórnez.
El libro de las hojas color naranja (Reus, 1945): This cover successfully combines two motifs from the cover and the spine of the Ward Lock edition of The Book with the Orange Leaves: a mysterious Chinese book and a cracked safe. Courtesy of Mariano García.
La cara del hombre de Saturno (Reus, 1946): This is a direct copy of the Dutton edition of The Face of the Man from Saturn. Courtesy of Mariano García.
En busca de XYZ (Reus, 1946): A spiffy illustration for Keeler's brilliant In Search of XYZ (AKA The Case of the Ivory Arrow). Courtesy of Alberto Sobórnez.
Dos señoras extrañas (Reus, 1946): A gruesome picture of the two murdered "strange ladies," black and white. Courtesy of Mariano García.
Los cinco budas de plata (Reus, 1946): An original interpretation of The Five Silver Buddhas. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El cuarto rey (Reus, 1947): This picture is based on the Dutton edition of The Fourth King, with some innovations. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El enigma de la plaza de Washington (Reus, 1947): This bizarre scene from The Washington Square Enigma pictures a dead man with a hatpin sticking out his eye. Courtesy of Mariano García.
Hallad el reloj (Reus, 1947): Very close to the Dutton edition of Find the Clock. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El caso del reloj ladrador (Reus, 1947): Similar to the Ward Lock edition -- a good, woofing image. Courtesy of Enrique Flores.
La voz de los siete gorriones (Reus, 1948): A direct copy of the Dutton version of The Voice of the Seven Sparrows. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El caso de las 16 judías (Reus, 1948): If I told you exactly what was going on in this picture, I might spoil part of the plot of The Case of the 16 Beans. And then you'd have to kill me. Courtesy of Mariano García.
Hazel Goodwin Keeler, Juguetes peligrosos (Reus, 1948): The only -- and massive -- novel by Harry's first wife, Dangerous Toys is a roman à clef about Harry's dalliance with his secretary Thelma in the mid-1920s. In the fictional ending, the Harry-like character dies, and the Hazel-like character finds happiness with a handsome young Parisian. In the real-life ending, after Hazel's death in 1960, Harry looked up Thelma and eventually married her in 1963, no doubt causing Hazel to spin quite fast in her grave.
Courtesy of Chris Wheeler.
El libro de piel de tiburón (Reus, 1949): A dramatic scene of our hero in prison graces this Spanish translation of The Sharkskin Book. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El caso del asesino sagaz (Reus, 1949): Although the title reflects the Phoenix edition of Keeler's tale, The Case of the Canny Killer, the illustration is inspired by the Ward Lock version, Murder in the Mills. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El anillo de hierro (Reus, 1950): A view from Margaret Annister's death cell is featured on the cover of this Spanish translation of The Iron Ring. The image closely follows the Ward Lock edition.
El misterioso señor Yo (Reus, 1950): Similar to Dutton's jacket, but with the addition of a humanoid-questionoid figure. Personally, I prefer the Dutton.
El camaleón (Reus, 1950): A close copy of Dutton's handsome cover for The Chameleon. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El enigma del cráneo viajero (Reus, 1951): A fairly rudimentary, but creepy jacket for the Spanish edition of The Riddle of the Traveling Skull. Courtesy of Miguel Barciela.
El misterio del ladrón violinista (Reus, 1951)
There he is, the fiddling cracksman himself! Courtesy of Enrique Flores.
El camión de oro desaparecido (Reus, 1951): A dramatic scene from The Vanishing Gold Truck, copied from the Ward Lock edition. Courtesy of Mariano García.
La trama asombrosa (Reus, 1951): A closeup of a writing hand signing "Archibald Chalmers."
La mano de jade verde (Reus, 1952): A phantom borrowed from Dutton's cover for The Green Jade Hand actually carries a little jade hand in this version. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El testamento extraño (Reus, 1952): This dustjacket imitates the Ward Lock jacket for this novel, The Strange Will. Courtesy of Art Scott.
El enigma de la zuri amarilla (Reus, 1952): This is truly a cute illustration, isn't it? English title: The Riddle of the Yellow Zuri (also known in England as The Tiger Snake). I don't know what those lizards are doing in the picture.... Courtesy of Mariano García.
El abanico de pavo real (Reus, 1953): A direct copy of the Dutton version. Courtesy of Mariano García.
Detrás de esa máscara (Reus, 1954): An attractive cover for the Spanish edition of Behind That Mask, based on the Dutton jacket but adding a mask.
¡Dedo! ¡Dedo! (Reus, 1954)Clearly inspired by the Dutton cover. Thanks to Oscar Pons Cuesta.
El caso del trapero enjoyado (Reus, 1955): A direct copy of the Phoenix version of The Case of the Jeweled Ragpicker. Courtesy of Mariano García.
10 horas (Reus, 1955): A direct copy of the Dutton dustjacket. Courtesy of Chris Wheeler.
El hombre de los tímpanos mágicos (Reus, 1955): In case you didn't understand the title, this cover accentuates the ear of The Man with the Magic Eardrums. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El ladrón defraudado (Reus, 1955): A direct copy of the Dutton edition. Courtesy of Alberto Sobórnez.
El hombre de la caja carmesí (Reus, 1956): Closely based on the Dutton version of The Man with the Crimson Box. Courtesy of Mariano García.
El hombre de las gafas de madera (Reus, 1956): An obvious copy of the Dutton original, although here the spectacles are more obviously wooden. Courtesy of Miguel Barciela.
La muchacha del maletín azulado (Reus, 1956): This Spanish dustjacket for The Case of the Lavender Gripsack sticks very closely to the Phoenix original. However, the title has been altered so that it faithfully reflects Keeler's intended title: The Girl with the Lavender Gripsack. The gripsack also looks a bit more like a suitcase and less like a mailbox. Courtesy of Art Scott.
El Caso Jaarvik (Reus, 1957): This book is an expanded version of The Monocled Monster. The cover depicts the hero in his condition as "The Nordic Scum," dressed in rags and with a half-eaten banana in his mouth. Curious? You'll have to read the book! Courtesy of Alberto Sobórnez.
El asesinato de London Lew (Reus, 1957): A direct copy of the Ward Lock edition of The Murder of London Lew, but without the color range. Courtesy of Art Scott.
Noches del verdugo (Reus, 1957): This jacket for Hangman's Nights (never published in English) is a creepy one. The white thing is a nun's headgear (thanks to John Morris for that insight).
El matemático asesinado (Reus, ca. 1958): The dying mathematician draws a spiral -- or is it an "unwind"? Courtesy of Art Scott.
28 sospechosos (Reus, 1958): This Spain-only novel, 28 Suspects, is an expansion of the novel known in English as Murder in the Mills (Ward Lock) and The Case of the Canny Killer (Phoenix). Courtesy of Art Scott.
Ladrones de Circos (Reus, 1958): Simple but effective. A circus ring is threatened by the ominous figures of Wolf Gladish and one of his nefarious henchmen. The Angus MacWhorter novel The Circus Stealers was never issued in English.
¡Londres al habla! (Reus, 1958): Similar to the Ward Lock edition, but the Spanish artist seems a bit unclear on the location of London. Also note the misspelling "Gooldwin" for "Goodwin."
Color image needed.
El cráneo del clown bailarín (Reus, 1959): A rough imitation of the Dutton jacket. Courtesy of Alberto Sobórnez.
El cubo carmesí (Reus, 1959): Here's an amusing case in which the illustrator didn't bother to read the novel. Keeler's title for this Spain-only novel is The Crimson Cube. But "cubo" in Spanish can mean either "cube" or "bucket." Hence the crimson bucket! Courtesy of Art Scott.
Una versión del Beowulf (Reus, 1960): The cover for this Spanish-only novel, A Copy of Beowulf, borrows heavily from Ward Lock's dustjacket for The Ace of Spades Murder, a closely related Angus MacWhorter novel. Courtesy of Art Scott.
La misteriosa bola de marfil de Wong Shing Li (Reus, 1961): This charming little Celestial looks very non-threatening. This novel, The Mysterious Ivory Ball of Wong Shing Li, was never published in English. Courtesy of Gerry Kroll.
El retrato de Jirjohn Cobb (Reus, 1961): This image is closely based on the Dutton version. Courtesy of Gerry Kroll.
Las lágrimas de Cleopatra (Reus, 1962): This time, the Spanish artist improved on Dutton's design, adding an Egyptian profile. Courtesy of Gerry Kroll.
La botella del sello de lacre verde (Reus, 1962): Loosely inspired by the Dutton dustjacket for this book (The Bottle with the Green Wax Seal). Courtesy of Gerry Kroll.
El caso de la mujer transparente (Reus, 1963): Her head sticks out of the steam cabinet -- but her body's missing! A nice cover for the Spain-only novel The Case of the Transparent Nude (note that the prudish censors have changed "nude" to "woman"). Courtesy of Art Scott.
Yo maté a Lincoln a las 10:13 (Reus, 1964): The inevitable illustration for I Killed Lincoln at 10:13! shows the assassinated president right after Booth's fatal shot. Courtesy of Art Scott.
El círculo blanco (Reus, 1965): The White Circle, Keeler's first venture into book-length science fiction, receives a minimal yet handsome treatment on the cover of this paperback.
"HARRY STEPHEN KEELER, the American author whose works have been translated into German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Portuguese, Finnish, Russian, French, and Spanish, treats us in The White Circle to another of the interesting mystery stories that have earned him his reputation as a master of the detective genre."
La calle de los mil ojos (Reus, 1966): a striking, very 1960s illustration for this paperback edition of The Street of a Thousand Eyes. Courtesy of Art Scott.
El cuarto rey, second edition (Reus, 1967): In the liberalized Spain of the late sixties, Reus reissued some of Keeler's early novels in paperback, gracing them with sexy sirens who have nothing to do with the contents. This painting by Manuel Cuesta does a manly job of dragging The Fourth King into the miniskirt age. The author's name appears as "Stephen Keeler" on the front, but the "Harry" is included on the spine and back. There is no blurb specific to this book, only a word about Keeler (see below).
Hallad el reloj, second edition (Reus, 1967): Another raunchy-yet-classy effort by Manuel Cuesta, illustrating Find The Clock.
This caricature of Keeler that appears on the back of the paperback editions of El cuarto rey and Hallad el reloj is clearly based on this circa-1930 photograph. Wrinkles have been exaggerated to create the appearance of appropriate age.
"HARRY STEPHEN KEELER, the American author whose works have been translated into German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Portuguese, Finnish, Russian, French, and Spanish."
El hombre que cambió de piel (Reus, 1967): Reus issued HSK's ultimate exploration of race (The Man Who Changed His Skin, written 1959) as a cheap and flimsy paperback, featuring a black couple in bed.
"The Man Who Changed His Skin is a novel laden with situations as strange as they are dynamic. The dynamism here is interior, and a single great adventure--the transformation of the body and soul of history professor Clark Shellcross--fills it completely."
Las gafas del Sr. Cagliostro, third edition (Reus, 1968): Another wonderful painting by Manuel Cuesta illustrates this posthumous paperback edition of Keeler's novel about persecution, real and imagined. Unfortunately, the illustration is printed in black on pink, instead of in full color. The author's name is given as "Stephen Keeler" on the front and on the spine.
"From the first chapter of this disconcerting book until the last, its plot attracts and fascinates the reader. At the same time, it poses this question: 'Is the author a profound philosopher, or rather a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst?'."
La cara del hombre de Saturno, (Círculo del Crimen, Ediciones Forum, 1984): this is a cheap, magazine-like reprint of the 1946 Reus translation of The Face of the Man from Saturn. (Just to give you an idea of the quality, the English title is given on the front page as "The Saturn's Man Face.") The cover illustration (courtesy of Gonzalo Laguno) has some menacing energy! There are a number of internal illustrations, in a pretty crude style.
The inside back cover has the well-known photo of HSK smoking a pipe along with some good information, translated, I believe, from a reference book and ultimately stemming from Francis M. Nevins. "Keeler, Harry Stephen, American author, is the inventor of the 'zany,' that is, the greatly complicated farce-intrigue. Most of his novels were published as mysteries, although they really constitute a special genre unto themselves...."
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