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0468 Het beschuldigend verleden

October 19, 2013
0468 Het beschuldigend verleden 1695
  • Title: Het beschuldigend verleden
  • English Title: The Accusing Past
  • Canon: Death Trap
  • Language: Dutch
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1958
  • Publisher: Schoonderbeek
  • Cover Artist: unknown

Today we have a very early Dutch edition of Death Trap. The production run was only 800 so you can imagine it is quite rare. Before I get into my usual litany of rambling nitpicks, let me say that I like this cover quite a bit and this is because of the use of color and the way the girl is drawn.

There was obviously a sale on gray-green paint and the unknown artist made good use of it, with one shade for the man’s shirt (more on that later), another for the trim paint on the house, and a darker shade for the foliage around the road leading up the hill (more on that later). Together with four shades of red, some brown and flesh tones, and a little gray, the picture is complete with a guilder or two left over for a well-deserved Grolsch.

I really like the girl on this cover. Her eyes are her obvious feature, although perhaps not the one that the young man is currently thinking about, and the way they are looking out of frame is nicely accomplished. I also like the arched eyebrows and small mouth (a small mouth is so prim), but the winner is her hands. Why is her little finger crooked? Did she break it dancing the Driekusman? The positioning of her index finger on the other side of the man’s ear is realistic and a subtle touch. Nice.

Ok, enough of that. What on earth is that boy wearing? What kind of long sleeve dress shirt has no cuffs and no collar? And why is she leaning out of a window? What is he standing on? Is she holding him by the head and threatening to drop him?

The scenery bothers me, too. It looks like it’s set in Switzerland or Bavaria with those quaint European houses. And what is with the mountain in the background? I know the story involves a college on a hill, which according to Steve Scott represents Hamilton College in Clinton, New York (did you know there are three?), where MacDonald lived at one time, but that isn’t a hill, it’s a peak. I guess I shouldn’t blame a Dutch artist for not knowing what a hill is since I don’t think there’s a single hill in the whole country.

Snarky rant ends. I still like the cover.

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