New York: Robert M. McBride, 1938. First Edition. Octavo (21cm). Red linen boards, titled in black on spine and front cover; yellow top-stain; 213pp. Bit of soiling to upper edge of text-block, with consequent dulling to top-stain; very minor thumb-soil within; in all a tight, straight copy, VG+ to Near Fine. Lacking the scarce dustwrapper.
Classic hard-boiled, hard-luck tale of the Thirties, long-forgotten but revived in the Eighties and given a new cult following by Black Lizard Press. Though generally discussed as a crime novel, You Play The Black has many great proletarian elements, including a drifter protagonist who thumbs his way out of the Oklahoma dustbowl to Los Angeles at the height of the Great Depression. Author Eric Knight is best known as creator of the juvenile classic Lassie, Come Home; the present work is his only venture into the hard-boiled genre, though his first novel (Sound on Your Bugles, 1936) was a straightforwardly proletarian depiction of British working-class life.