Let's be honest: Amazon MarketPlace is one of the worst places to buy books on the Net. It's virtually a dump of information without honest and detailed descriptions of the books. In most cases best you will get from reading a description is "used book". How about that, huh? Oh, I didn't know it was used. You take me for an idiot?
Unique and honest sellers on AMP is a rare thing. Therefore the most detailed descriptions of the books come from experienced sellers who love and know their books, and by know I mean they know the prices. If a book is well described it usually means it won't be sold for cents or pennies.
To buy something scarce, for cheap and with good description, you should browse for hours and hours on Amazon MarketPlace, and you never can be sure you will find something valuable. Or you can just get lucky, and after a couple of clicks you can find a rare book with good description almost for nothing (shipping price will be way more than the price of the book). I got lucky once - though I browse AMP not so often.
The book I found is Act of Fear by Michael Collins. I already had by the moment one copy of this book, but it was a jacketless one, just yeallow borads. I bought it a year ago, for a couple of bucks from ABE seller who promised DJ. I got my money back but promised to myself I'd never return to that seller. He (they) just doesn't know his business.
But even without DJ it is a scarce book: you will find a couple three-in-one book club edition, maybe even find moderately unexpensive UK firsts, but US first is rare and expensive. As far as I remember the price would be closer to $100.
I was happy when the seller of the book supplied me with the details, I googled the attributes of first editions of Dodd, Mead publisher who issues the book, and I knew then that it was US first edition. My copy cost me around $3. I paid five times more for shipping.
It is an ex-library copy, but I have nothing against ex-lib books. Act of Fear is considered one of the rarest titles which won Edgar awards. It's won an Edgar for the first novel, though for Collins, or Dennis Lynds, as Collins is merely a pseudonym, wrote a few books before Act of Fear (that was also the case for Donald Westlake). It was The Shadow novels mostly, you don't win Edgar for them. Later Lynds used more that half a dozen pen names, he also ghost wrote Mike Shayne novellettes for Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. Lynds has his readers, critics liked him, though I doubt he had a cult following. I can't explain scarcity of his first books, perhaps, printing runs were small.
Below you can find images of my copy of the book. Act of Fear is, for me, one of the best P.I. novels ever.