Jan 12, 2009, 05:28AM

Marketing Mystery

One man's quest to track down a pulp mystery novel that goes for hundreds of dollars on Amazon.

Just a kink in the free market?

Amazon.uk said it had indeed sent the book. The Royal Mail tracing service seemed to confirm that fact. Yet on the Chinese end, nothing got here. Hmmm again. But this is not so unusual with mail in and out of China. Things just get lost

Amazon.uk issued a full refund. Gracious of them. And I thought, I'll get this the next time I travel to the outside world.

So I went to America that autumn -- and still didn't find the book in any US stores or sites. Had no trips planned to England, so didn't try to pick it up there. For family reasons, kept going back to the US every few weeks. Kept checking. Never saw it.

Today I thought: let's find this book! And now I see it in stock on the Amazon.uk site for 42 pounds (ok, 41.99) and two copies on the main US Amazon site for either $75 or $247.87. What the hell???


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