First published in 1961, now revised and updated with an introduction by prize-winning author Philip Hoare, the book comes with a beautiful wraparound cover illustrating 42 common shells.
Among the remarkable creatures it describes are the slipper limpet, which lives in stacks where the lower individuals are female, the uppermost are male and the central ones are in the process of changing sex.
This is a book to take with you to the seaside, along with the beach summer novel. There’s even a lined blank page inside the jacket for the reader to scribble “Spotter’s Notes”. I’m not sure anyone will do this. It’s more of a book to read and enjoy than it is a field guide for an anoraky shell-spotter. Reading about the lives and deaths of the sea snails all around you will either enrich or trouble your post-picnic beach snooze.