Friday, December 27, 2013

the corpse in the waxworks

Next up in this stack of dusty paperbacks is The Corpse In The Waxworks by John Dickson Carr. Unlike the previous two Carr penned entries (see here and here), not one of the 23 novels by the Pennsylvania native featuring detective Dr. Gideon Fell but one of the five featuring crime solving magistrate Monsieur Henri Bencolin.

It's also one in a series of two Carr books with Schongut covers sleuthed out by the husband over the Summer; tune in next week for the second.

Friday, December 20, 2013

the mirror crack'd

Following in the footsteps of our previous post, tonight's entry is another by the grande dame of mystery novels, Agatha Christie; this time not featuring famously moustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot but another of well known characters, the presumably facial hair free Miss Jane Marple, aka Miss Marple.

Originally titled The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side, this is the eighth of the twelve books starring the spinster turned sleuth and, apparently, inspired by the true, tragic story involving the birth of Gene Tierney's first child. (A portion of the plotline is at least. I won't spoil it for you by detailing the whole story but, if you're into that sort of thing, this page will.)

Anywhoo, like many of her books, The Mirror Crack'd was later adapted for film. Thanks to the wonders of You Tube, here's the trailer for the 1980 version starring Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple and an ensemble cast featuring (among other less famous people) Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Richard Burton and Tony Curtis.

And yes, I will totally be watching this later to see what other sort of awesome, horrific, awesomely horrific and / or horrifically awesome outfits Taylor and Novak sport during the course of the film. Although I doubt anything will top Liz's purple and white flower hat.

Friday, December 13, 2013

an overdose of death

Continuing our leisurely stroll through this pile of pulp fiction found by the husband over the course of a couple of leisurely strolls around one or more local flea markets this past Summer, tonight's entry is An Overdose Of Death by Agatha Christie. Interestingly, one of only a handful of Christie novels to appear on the blog over the years and only the second featuring famously moustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

A trivial fact made slightly more interesting, to me at least, based on the fact this single book has been published under at least three titles. (According to Wikipedia The Patriotic Murders is the second; One, Two, Buckle My Shoe was it's original title.)

Cover illustration by Adams

Naturally this knowledge led to a brief flickr search for examples of other editions / titles. Not so surprisingly, I found three. Interested parties can check out an alternate but similarly minded Dell edition here; a Pocket Books edition of The Patriotic Murders here; and a Fontana edition with the original title and cover sure to make anyone with a dentist phobia feel slightly uncomfortable, here.

(The Pocket Books one is my favorite of the bunch.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

the maltese falcon

Next up in this stack of thrifted / flea marketed paperbacks is one of the most revered novels of the crime fiction genre, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.

Cover by Harry Bennett

As a fan of crime fiction novels, crime fiction films, film adaptations of crime fiction novels and TCM, needless to say, I've seen the 1941 movie version quite a few times. Yet for some reason, it's never occurred to me to track down a copy of the original novel. (Or rather a copy of the collected original installments; from what I understand most of Hammett's novels were first published as serials.) Now that one has essentially dropped into my lap I'm definitely moving it to the top of my reading pile.

(Sorry The Corpse Steps Out! And yes, I'm referring to the same euphemistic vacation reading pile referenced in our previous post. Even though I still have no plans for a vacation any time soon.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

the corpse steps out

Next up in this pile of pulp fiction is The Corpse Steps Out by Craig Rice, aka Georgianna Ann Craig; dubbed, at least by one source, "the Dorothy Parker of detective fiction" and, according to the same source, the first mystery writer to appear on the cover of Time Magazine.

I will spare you from copying the rest of her Wikipedia entry here but feel free to click on the link and read more; it's pretty interesting.

We'll be here when you get back...

Anywhoo, as the front cover would imply, this is one in a series of novels (the second to be specific) featuring a fella named Jake Justus. Interestingly, not a lawyer - nor a private detective, beat cop, salvage consultant, etc. - but a publicity man who likes a drink before dinner and occasionally (read: once per book) teams up with a fast thinking, hard drinking lawyer and a blonde heiress / lush / lady destined to be the future Mrs. Justus to solve crimes.

Sounds like quite the crew! I'm definitely putting this in my vacation reading pile. Even though I have no plans for a vacation any time soon.

Friday, November 15, 2013

time to kill

As you may have guessed from the photo above, tonight we're setting off on a stroll through a (relatively) newly acquired stack of old paperbacks found in various stages of decay. Starting, appropriately enough, with the book on top of the pile: Time To Kill by Terry Spain.

FYI: This photo also represents what happens when you leave the husband alone at a flea market with $3.00 in his pocket long enough to walk to the bathroom, make use of said facilities and return. Except tonight's subject which has been on our shelf for years and somehow managed to escape inclusion.

Anywhoo, I have no credit for the cover art, nor information to offer on the author - save the fact, if the copyright on the title page is accurate, Spain's real name is Ted Stratton - but as always if I learn anything I will add it in.

Friday, November 8, 2013

the snow was black

Rounding out this pile of pulp fiction, tonight's entry is The Snow Was Black by Georges Simenon. Not a crime novel featuring his most popular character, detective Jules Miagret, but a somewhat sober tale about a boy born into a life of sin, via his prostitute mother, and his subsequent trials, tribulations and, ultimately, salvation.

Or at least that's how I remember it. It's been a few years since I read this one.

On a semi-related topic, am I the only person who thinks this cover looks like a painted depiction of a scene from a James Cagney movie?

Friday, November 1, 2013

good deeds must be punished

Next up, and next to last in this stack of thrifted / flea marketed paperbacks, is Good Deeds Must Be Punished by Irving Shulman; aka the author of Cry Tough!, The Amboy Dukes and the screenplay for Rebel Without A Cause (among other things); aka another book the husband picked up over the Summer while I wasn't looking.

I'm pretty sure he chose to let this novel follow him home based on the title but, in retrospect, he should have chosen this based on the cover artist. (In his defense, neither of us knew it was a McGinnis until we consulted "the book.")

According to the aforementioned source, this painting originally appeared on a different Popular Library title, The Burning Air by Eugene Mirabelli. As we can see here the book is right. (For the record, I was willing to take it's word for it. I just wanted to check out the other cover & see what the differences were.)

PS: No offense to anyone involved, Mirabelli got the better version.

Friday, October 25, 2013

man on the make

Next up in this pile of pulp fiction is Man On The Make by Wade Hunter. Based on the cover art and tagline, a book I imagined to be a saucy, possibly slightly cautionary, tale involving some sort of sleazy Mad Men-esque character climbing his way up the corporate ladder by climbing on top of his rivals' wives - and / or girlfriends, mistresses, secretaries, daughters who have recently turned 18, etc. - then killing them. (The rivals, I mean. Although I suppose the latter wouldn't be completely out of the question.)

According to the back cover though I was only half right - our anti-hero's version of a lofty career path is actually a tunnel leading directly to the underground. (Unless there was such a thing as a legally sanctioned gambling syndicate in the '60s.)

Still not sure if he actually kills anyone or not but the sleeping around part is a definite, which I'm pretty sure is all anyone who purchased Playtime books cared about in the first place.

Friday, October 18, 2013

the secrets of caroline cherie

Continuing our stroll through this stack of paperbacks, tonight's entry is The Secrets Of Caroline Cherie by Cecil St. Laurent, aka French novelist / essayist/ screenwriter Jacques Laurent.

From what I gather this is the fourth novel featuring the somewhat saucy (at least for the time) adventures of a woman named Caroline penned by Laurent; the first three were made into films & each successively met with a lesser degree of success. Which, I gather, is the reason this entry never made the transition onto the big screen.

Cover painting by Freeman Eliot

FYI: I'm pretty sure the credit on the back contains a typo & the cover art is courtesy popular pin-up artist Freemam Elliot. (Also FYI: Interested parties can check out a gallery full of examples of said pin-up art here.)

Friday, October 11, 2013

rogue's holiday

Next up in this pile of thrifted / flea marketed pulp fiction is Rogue's Holiday by Hamilton Cochran. A tale told of a time when pirates lusted for women and gold... (Which, I suppose, would generally cover any time pirates existed...)

Cover painting by Bill George

I'm not sure if this novel qualifies as a "bodice ripper" but I am pretty sure the bountiful but non-ripped bodice depicted on the cover is what inspired the husband to spend a quarter on it.

(Upon closer inspection I think this is probably a men's adventure novel; I believe a bodice ripper is a term used to describe a style of women's romance novel.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

prettiest girl in town

Continuing our journey through this stack of paperbacks, next up is Prettiest Girl In Town by Thomas Fall.

Cover art by Charles Copeland

As mentioned in this post Copeland is also responsible for the cover of the top book in the stack; and, as also mentioned in said post, had I realized the connection at the time it's likely the stack would have stacked in a slightly different order. But we're past that now.

Anywhoo, I learned from perusing the page(s) on the Lynn Munroe site Copeland's work can be seen on many other book covers, a smattering of movie posters, and inside the pages of assorted men's magazines of the '50s, 60s and 70s. Naturally I had to take a brief flip through our magazine archive to see if I could find any examples of the latter & my search turned up two, courtesy the April 1957 issue of Bachelor and the August 1970 issue of Men respectively:

(PS: Larger versions of these pages - and pretty much everything else posted here - can be found in our flickr photostream here.)

Friday, September 20, 2013

captain rebel

Tonight we return to our regularly scheduled regular schedule with the next book in this pile of pulp fiction, Captain Rebel by Frank Yerby. A book I gather the husband was attracted to based on the cover art. Although it's entirely possible he may enjoy a rich, lusty story of a Confederate gunrunner.

(By the way, sorry for the brief unscheduled drop out there. It was actually a brief scheduled drop out; I just always forget to mention that stuff until I'm back to posting.)

Cover painting by Charles Binger

My lunchtime Google search didn't turn up too much information on Binger, save the fact he was a popular and respected artist up until his passing in the mid '70s whose work graced many a book cover and film poster, but interested parties can check out a gallery featuring some more of the former here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

the man within

Next up in this stack of paperbacks is another book that eventually became a film, The Man Within by Graham Greene.

For those who don't feel like following the links above, or as a supplement to the jazzy synopsis on the back cover below, I took the liberty of copying this explanatory paragraph, courtesy whoever was employed by Bantam at the time to write these type of things...

"Author Graham Greene, master of muted violence, tells with terrifying impact the story of a relentless manhunt. A manhunt for a smuggler who has informed on his cutthroat allies - a chase with the smell of blood tempting the pursuers deep into the night-filled English woods. And when the prey finally finds shelter and release in the enveloping love of a beautiful woman, the pack closes in. Here is a tale that strips bare a man's anguished soul, a man who could love and be loved, who could fight or fall - but who could not face himself."

Cover by Jules Karl

As is often the case, I don't have any biographical information to offer on the artist; fortunately this edition also contains a written interpretation of the artist's interpretation, presumably courtesy the same person who wrote the previous paragraph...

"Out into the swirling English mist steps a fear-tormented man, bent on a mission that would prove his courage - or destroy him. Behind him is a woman who has given her love without a question; behind him, too, is his knife, his only weapon against an enemy that presses ever closer. This is the moment of decision - and this is the tense situation depicted with all its thrilling implications by artist Jules Karl."

Should you care to see two other artist's renderings, you can do so here and here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

the postman always rings twice

Second in our survey of this pile of pulp fiction is a crime novel that went on to become a successful film noir (something which doesn't happen around here quite as often as you - or I - may imagine it would) The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain.

Cover art by Tom Dunn

Although I haven't read this book, I did see the 1946 motion picture starring John Garfield and Lana Turner. FYI: Assuming the latter stays true to the former, it's a euphemistic postman.

On a semi-related topic, ever since we found this edition I've hoped to find or make myself an article of clothing featuring a snake and apple appliqué. As of yet I haven't been successful on either front but if that changes I'll let you know.

PS: Since it was available, here's the trailer for the aforementioned motion picture adaptation...

Friday, August 23, 2013

twist of the knife

As you may have guessed from our previous post / the picture above, tonight we embark on a new journey through a stack of old paperbacks; starting with Twist Of The Knife by Victor Canning, a suspenseful novel of love and violence east of the Suez.

Cover art by Charles Copeland

Interestingly, Copeland is also responsible for the cover of Prettiest Girl In Town, aka the fifth book in the stack seen above. (Needless to say, had I known the connection when staging said stack I likely would have put them next to each other but didn't have time to rearrange / reshoot this afternoon so it is what it is.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

a bullet for cinderella

Rounding out our survey of this pile of thrifted pulp fiction is A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald. Also, apparently, known as On The Make.

While I wouldn't say I dislike this cover (particularly since I still have yet to meet a jaunty typeface I didn't like) I must admit, I like this cover by George Gross and this cover (for the alternate title) by Mitchell Hooks just a bit more.

Friday, August 9, 2013

girl in a shroud

Speaking of Carter Brown mysteries, which we were last time, tonight's entry is Girl In A Shroud. Not one of the thirty or so novels featuring Detective Danny Boyd, a la this and this (aka our previous entry and what was previously the only book by the many pseudonym-ed author featured here) but one of fifty or so featuring a somewhat similarly minded fictional character, Lieutenant Al Wheeler.

Cover by Robert McGinnis

While were still throwing numbers around in a sports talk radio fashion according to this book, McGinnis is responsible for around a hundred covers for assorted Brown books published by Signet. I have to admit I didn't bother to count how many were represented in my flickr search but, suffice it to say, interested parties can view many, many examples here.

Friday, August 2, 2013

the wayward wahine

Continuing a theme from last week's post (unintentionally; the theme being the artist responsible for the cover) tonight's entry is The Wayward Wahine. One of approximately thirty books featuring Detective Danny Boyd written by Carter Brown, aka Peter Carter Brown, aka Alan Geoffrey Yates (aka his real name), aka a few other pseudonyms over the course of his prolific career.

Cover painting by Barye Phillips

Despite the fact Brown / Yates was an "international sensation whose books have sold over 25,000,000 copies" this is only the second time any of his names have popped up on the blog / on our shelves. (This entry, featuring another Danny Boyd mystery and cover by another PFP fave Robert McGinnis, was the first.)

Tune in next week for the third...

Friday, July 26, 2013

dear, deadly beloved

Next up in this stack of paperbacks is Dear, Deadly Beloved by John Flagg, aka John Gearon.

Cover painting by Barye Phillips

A book I read on vacation a couple years back but, apparently, had little impact on me as I've retained nothing. Perhaps I'll try it again if I make it back to the beach this Summer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

too hot to hold

Continuing our journey to the bottom of this pile of pulp fiction - via each book's front and back cover - tonight's entry is Too Hot To Hold by Day Keene.

Particularly appropriate, title-wise at least, as it is so disgustingly warm and humid in Philly today my laptop keeps getting overheated and is literally too hot to hold. Sigh...

(On the bright side, after I hit publish on this post I am pretty much done with this work week and off to spent the rest of the night in the relatively comfortable confines of our bedroom, aka the only room in our house with air conditioning, enjoying a movie and watermelon lime granita a la the Kommandant. Hope you have a great evening / weekend, whatever you have planned!)

Friday, July 12, 2013

the judas hour

Next up in this stack of thrifted / flea marketed paperbacks is The Judas Hour by Howard Hunt, aka E. Howard Hunt.

I have no credit or other information to offer on the cover art but, to paraphrase the old adage, the author's truth is stranger - or at least more scandalous - than his fictional works; see here.

(For those who don't feel like following the link the Reader's Digest version of the story is, aside from authoring many a spy novel under this and a few other pseudonyms less like his real name, Hunt was a CIA agent during the Nixon administration and - to butcher / paraphrase another old adage - sunk with the ship during Watergate. Escandalo!)