(A discussion of a disparity between editions of The Widening Gyre.)
It all started when Hisao Tomihari noted a small error as to which night Spenser and Susan were to have dinner. Over the course of several E-mails we discovered that our books did not match in several places centering on chapters 17 and 18. My copies have quite a number of continuity errors.
The page numbers are from my first Dell paperback printing and the wording agrees with the first edition Delacorte Press hardcover and Thorndike Press large print editions.
1) Page 92 as Spenser drops Susan off at work:
- "Want me to pick you up after work?" I said.
- She shook her head.
- "I can't tonight," she said. "There's a staff dinner. Pot luck. They have one every month on the assumption that morale will be uplifted."
- I nodded. "Why don't we have dinner tomorrow night," she said.
- "I have to work late, but I should be out by eight or eight thirty."
2) Page 93 strolling along Wisconsin Ave. without a plan:
- I could work on my restaurant selection for tomorrow evening.
3) Page 99 after breaking into Gerry's place:
- It was nearly quarter of two when I finished the apartment.
4) Page 100 at the market having a sausage sandwich and a coffee:
- I looked at my watch, twenty to one.
5) Page 102 after calling Belson and trying to phone Wayne Cosgrove:
- I looked at my watch. Two fifteen. Six hours till I picked up Susan.
6) Page 105 After tailing Jerry to the library and back that same afternoon:
- At 6:30 Gerry got up...and walked back to his apartment and went in. I left him there. It was time to get ready for Susan.
Points three, four, and five involve traveling back in time for his victory lunch. Following up on points one and two, point five has him either missing a day or forgetting that Susan wasn't available.
Meanwhile Hisao is working from a Dell twelfth printing paperback with a few changes and a Japanese translation from Hayakawa Publishing that only has one change.
- "I can't until late," she said. "There's a staff cocktail party. They have one every month on the assumption that morale will be uplifted."
I nodded. "I'll make a reservation for nine," I said.
3) (Dell) The line is omitted.
- (Hayakawa) It was nearly quarter of twelve when I finished the apartment.
5) (Dell) I looked at my watch. Almost eight hours till I picked up Susan. Smooth. The Dell version straightens out the time issue and if they had changed point two everything would have worked out perfect.
Okay everyone, here's something you can do for me. Get out your copy and compare chapters 17 and 18 with the versions above. Then look at what printing you have and see if we can track down when the change was made.
For those unfamiliar with the process turn to the copyright page. The publisher takes away a number with each printing, so for instance a twelfth printing would look like this:
20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12