Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Two-fer Tuesdays: Shape Shifting

A twice-monthly pairing of book covers that just seem to go together. Click on any of these images to open up an enlargement.

As I’ve mentioned on this page before, it was quite common during America’s paperback heyday of the mid-20th century for publishers to recycle cover illustrations from one book to the next, figuring that readers wouldn’t recognize such budget-saving thievery ... or at least wouldn’t care overly much about it. Less frequently, artists were commissioned to refashion their original paintings for a second (or even third) use. That was the case, for instance, with Ernest Chiriacka’s artwork for 1961’s By Love Depraved and Lou Marchetti’s cover image for 1955’s The Wanton Hour.

It was apparently also what Robert Maguire did in order to supply the two attention-grabbing paperback fronts showcased above.

The façade on the left comes from the 1960 Pyramid edition of Ed Spingarn’s Perfect 36, a novel said to offer “a revealing and riotous story of the bosom business.” I don’t have a scan of the back cover from that issue of Spingarn’s yarn; but the verso of the original, 1957 version (from Pyramid, as well) supplies this slightly more ample description of his plot:
How much is a girl’s virtue worth?

A mink coat? A two-carat diamond ring, with husband attached?

A fling with an intellectual?

A career as a model?

Or a flat $100,000 in cash?

It was up to Rosalie to choose—it was her virtue at stake.
Perfect 36 is the rowdy story of Rosalie—and her figure—and the startling emotions it roused in every male she met! It takes you behind the scenes and screens of the fabulous brassiere trade for the funniest, fastest, most titillating novel of the year!
“Titillating,” get it? Yeah, I don’t think the guy who concocted that suggestive copy received (or deserved) a bonus in his paycheck that week. Nonetheless, given the straightforward goal of drawing as many male readers to Perfect 36 as possible, by whatever creative schemes were available, I’m sure he won at least some appreciation from his bosses, and was invited to practice his teaser-penning talents on other novels.

(Left) Lou Marchetti’s art for the 1957 edition of Perfect 36.

Maguire’s artwork for Perfect 36 was exceptional, yet only slightly less provocative than that façade text, with its beautiful young brunette wrapped in a sparkly, curve-clinging dress, striking poses before an audience of leering gents who you just know aren’t whispering among themselves about her intellectual prowess. Pay special attention to that first guy on the left, the bald-headed one twiddling his cigar … because you’ll find that he, along with a version of the woman holding the limelight on Perfect 36, also appear on this week’s second “two-fer” front, shown above and on the right.

Released in 1966, this “Midwood Double Novel” comprises—as the cover line promises—“two stories about the kind of woman around whom no man is safe”: Test in Temptation, by Laura Duchamp; and Cool and Collected, by Blake Randall. It isn’t hard to recognize that the fetching femme Maguire imagined as that “kind of woman” is essentially the same one he’d pictured half a dozen years before on Spingarn’s novel. In this case, however, she’s clad in white, rather than iridescent red; her black tresses are more tossed than before, evidently as a result of her dancing; and her left arm has finally migrated out from behind her back, but the similarities are greater than those differences. And though the scene around her is more lively and colorful than on the earlier book, the gent (in the lower left corner) most obviously moved by her movements is the same grinning stogie-chomper we saw on Perfect 36, now wearing a light blue shirt and black necktie, rather than a dark blue shirt and a yellow tie.

If you recognize the byline “Laura Duchamp,” it may be because I mentioned it a few times last fall, when Killer Covers celebrated the 110th anniversary of artist Paul Rader’s birth. Duchamp was among the pseudonyms employed by author Sally Singer, who composed a variety of soft-porn novels (including Wild and Wicked, Model Mistress, A Weakness for Men, and The Sunday Lovers) for Midwood Books and—as Pulp International recalls—was “one of the few sleaze writers who was actually female. She was also prolific as ‘March Hastings.’” According to a backside blurb, Test in Temptation focused on a woman by the name of Celeste, who “was ready to violate every rule of house and home, ready to chuck it all, husband, family, the works, in order to get the kind of love she wanted from the kind of man she wanted it from.” Meanwhile, its companion volume—Cool and Collected, by Randall (one of several pen names used by science-fictionist Robert Silverberg)—features a protagonist with broader desires: “There’s a man for every woman, but Rebecca was a woman for every man. She knew she could make men or break them. She knew all she had to do was crook her little finger and they’d fall to their knees in humility.”

With these protagonists to work from, it’s no wonder Maguire’s Midwood cover coquette looks like somebody capable of handling her own affairs—in more ways than one.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

This Spring of Love, by Charles Mergendahl (Popular Library, 1950). Illustration by Rudolph Belarski. See the back cover here.

READ MORE:Sweetheart Sleuths for Valentine’s Day” and “Valentine’s Day Crime Fiction,” by Janet Rudolph (Mystery Fanfare).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Finds: “The Faces of Love”

Another in our growing line of vintage book covers we love.

The Faces of Love, by John Hearne (WDL Books, 1959).
Illustration by Edgar Hodges.

I had intended to write about this 1959 paperback novel only because of the egregious typo in its top cover line. How in the world did the obvious misspelling “Carribean” make it past editors and art directors, and into print? This must have been particularly galling to its author, John Hearne, who—though he was born in Montreal, Canada, in February 1926—was the light-skinned, mixed-race son of Jamaican parents, did his first undergraduate studies at Jamaica College in the island capital of Kingston, and spent much of his adulthood teaching and writing in the West Indies.

However, as I researched John Edgar Colwell (or Caulwell) Hearne, I came to realize that The Faces of Love—originally published in hardcover in 1957—deserved more than a snarky comment about oblivious proofreading. This was the author’s third novel, following Voices Under the Window (a 1955 yarn said to be “narrated entirely in flashback, … focus[ing] on a young lawyer at the point of death reflecting on his ultimately lethal involvement in Jamaican politics and his racial origins”) and Stranger at the Gate (1956). Like that latter work, The Faces of Love (which was first released in the United States under the title The Eye of the Storm) was set, according to Wikipedia, “in the imaginary island of Cayuna, which is a fictionalized Jamaica” (“right down to Green Stripe beer,” adds Jamaican poet-professor Mervyn Morris). A non-fiction work, The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean since 1950 (2016), edited by Simon Gikandi, explains that Hearne’s novels
generally focus on the educated, brown-skinned middle-class stratus of Caribbean society. Hearne was clearly interested in class position and anti-colonial politics … However, Hearne is most famous for his rich and sensitive depictions of everyday middle-class life and love on the fictional Caribbean island of Cayuna. The Faces of Love (1957), for example, details a multiplicity of love relationships between characters, concentrating on the dilemma of Rachel Ascom, a newly wealthy and powerful [mixed-race] newspaper executive choosing between the love of a rowdy local builder and a British expatriate brought in to edit her newspaper.
After The Faces of Love, this author’s next pair of novels—The Autumn Equinox (1959) and Land of the Living (1961)—also used Cayuna as their backdrop and “referred to issues relating to Jamaican life at the time, such as the beginning of the bauxite industry and the Rastafari movement, or to events in nearby territories such as the [1950s] Cuban Revolution.” Hearne later produced The Sure Salvation (1981), an alternately pessimistic and terrifying tale set aboard a slave ship, which Britain’s Times Literary Supplement called “an absorbing novel. The old power of the sea story to provide pleasure and instruction seems to be as potent as ever ...” And again per Wikipedia: “In the late 1960s and early 1970s he collaborated with planter and journalist Morris Cargill on a series of three thrillers—Fever Grass, The Candywine Development, and The Checkerboard Caper—involving an imaginary Jamaican secret service. These were written under the pseudonym ‘John Morris.’”

(Right) The 1957 Faber and Faber hardcover edition of The Faces of Love.

Yet in the wake of his Cayuna series seeing publication, Hearne’s novel-writing career tapered off noticeably. “After 1961,” recalls an excerpt from the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, “Hearne busied himself teaching, working for the government, writing plays and commentaries for radio and television, and producing a regular newspaper column in one of the leading daily papers of Jamaica [The Gleaner]. His articles appeared in Public Opinion, News Week, New Statesman, Nation, Pagoda, and Spotlight. Several of his radio plays were aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Between 1962 and 1992 Hearne served as director of the Creative Arts Center at the University of the West Indies, and as chair of the Institute of Jamaica. He also taught for short periods at several universities in Canada and the United States.”

And following his death in Jamaica in 1994, at age 68, Hearne’s books slowly began to disappear. “John Hearne almost suffered the fate most writers dread most: oblivion,” observed a feature piece in the Caribbean Airlines magazine, Caribbean Beat, in 2005. “His works quickly became unavailable and his reputation faded just as rapidly.” Kwame Dawes, a Ghana-born poet who grew up in Jamaica, was quoted in that article as saying, Hearne “sadly, proves that it is quite possible for a writer of significant ability and accomplishment to go out of print and be virtually forgotten.”

However, in 2005 the UK-based publisher Peepal Tree Press—which claims to be the “Home of the Best in Caribbean & Black British Writing”—reprinted Hearne’s debut novel, Voices Under the Window, for a whole new generation of readers. Most of whom, I’d bet, know perfectly well how many Rs and Bs there should be in “Caribbean.” (Forgive me, but I had to get in one snide remark.)

READ MORE:‘I Am Looking for a Hero,’” by F.S.J. Ledgister (The Caribbean Review of Books).

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Because I Needed a Hammett Fix ...

The Creeping Siamese, by Dashiell Hammett (Dell, 1950).
Illustration by Robert Stanley.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Seating Arrangements

Just over a year ago, and with the backing of paperback-art expert Art Scott, I put together a post for this page about classic Butterfly chairs appearing on book fronts. At the time, I had in hand half a dozen examples. Since then, however, I’ve happened across four more, which I am pleased to share with you below.

Click on any of these images to open an enlargement.

(Above, left to right) All the Way Home, by Walter Freeman (Signet, 1955), with cover art by Clark Hulings; On the Make, by John D. MacDonald (Dell, 1960), with cover art by Mitchell Hooks.

A Man Called Sex, by Peter Kanto (Brandon House, 1964), with cover art by Fred Fixler; Cold Dead Coed, by Hank Janson
(Gold Star, 1964).

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Picks of the Pack

Two weeks ago, The Rap Sheet asked its discriminating readers to select the Best Crime Fiction Cover of 2016 from a field of 12 candidates. Earlier today, it announced the top five vote-getters in that survey. How did your own favorite fare? Click here to find out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dark Waters

Swamp Sister, by Robert Edmond Alter (Gold Medal, 1961),
with cover artwork by Michael Hooks.

During last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, right-wing real-estate mogul and Republican candidate Donald Trump told his inflamed supporters that if they elected him to the White House, he’d “drain the swamp.” As Business Insider interpreted it, that catchphrase meant he would “cleanse Washington [D.C.] of political insiders who are out of touch with ordinary Americans.” It was also a commitment to limit the influence exercised on government by wealthy donors who can scrawl out big campaign checks—the sorts of people Trump claimed held sway over his dramatically more experienced Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Shortly after Trump’s unlikely win in that race, however, he began backing away from his famous “drain the swamp” pledge. One of his most visible Republican advisors, disgraced former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, told National Public Radio that Trump “just disclaims” his previous vow. “He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore.” With Trump having abandoned his promise, his inaugural committee felt free to peddle “exclusive access” to the president-elect and his advisors “in exchange for donations of $1 million and more.” Meanwhile, Trump commenced stocking his presidential cabinet with fellow plutocrats and Wall Street habitués, most of whom have no more familiarity with governmental procedures and traditions than Trump himself, or could ever realistically be described as being in touch with the needs of average Americans. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) voiced the disgust of voters (including many who’d cast their ballots for Trump) when he told Capitol Hill reporters in mid-January: “This is a swamp cabinet full of bankers and billionaires—a swamp cabinet.”

Although Trump no longer swears to “drain the swamp” of the nation’s capital, that phrase got me to thinking recently about how often the word “swamp” and swamp imagery have appeared on vintage paperback novels. The examples embedded in this post aren’t all that might be found, but they’re certainly representative of the field. Among the artists whose work appears here are Robert Bonfils (Swamp Bred), James Meese (Swamp Babe), Barye Phillips (Swamp Brat), Lou Marchetti (the second version of Evans Wall’s Swamp Girl shown below), and George Mayers (Castles in the Swamp).

Click on any of these images for an enlargement.

In Passing

Two small but fun things worth checking out when you have a spare moment or two: Former college professor George Kelley has posted a selection of brilliantly made-up covers for books he describes as “librarian noir”; and the blog Spy Vibe offers “a collection of new [James Bond] 007 book-cover designs created by Stuart Basinger … [and] inspired by the iconic Pan and Signet jackets published in the UK and U.S. during the late 1950s and 1960s.”

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Now We Are 8: The Great Unknowns

The Skin Game, by Frank Bonham (Gold Medal, 1961).

It was eight years ago today that I somehow got into my mind the notion that I had just enough free time and more than sufficient energy to launch a companion blog to The Rap Sheet. The original idea for Killer Covers was to post images of vintage book fronts I liked—works of crime fiction as well as others—along with brief information and opinions about those façades. (My very first post here shows what I had in mind.) However, I soon found that I wanted to say more about both the artists responsible for the covers, and the authors behind the books themselves. So, as often happens with my editorial projects, this one grew well beyond what I’d imagined. Had I known from the start what Killer Covers would become, I might have been more intimidated by the prospect of launching the blog.

Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed building this site, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and how not to place excessively high demands upon myself. I’ve become fond of artwork executed by a variety of people I would never have known about had I not invested my time in Killer Covers. I’ve also been frustrated by the fact that some publishers of classic paperbacks didn’t see fit to identify the painters behind their cover illustrations. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve expended trying to track down artist credits for the books about which I hope to write. Whenever I have to admit that I don’t know who painted a particular cover, it feels like a minor tragedy.

For this eighth anniversary post, however, I’ve decided to make the most of such ignorance. The eight lovely book fronts posted here (a convenient number, don’t you think?) are all by artists whose identities seem to have been forgotten, despite the manifest appeal of their efforts. If anybody happens to know more than I do about the parties responsible for these covers, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.

Unfinished Business, by Cary Lucas (Dell, 1950).

Fausto’s Keyhole, by Jean Arnaldi (Corgi, 1971).

Paid in Full, by Peter Dale (Consul, 1965).

Flower Power, by Ernest Tidyman (Paperback Library, 1968). The first novel by the author of Shaft.

They Move with the Sun, by Daniel Taylor (Popular Library, 1950).

The Fatal Frails, by Dan Marlowe (Avon, 1960).

Nor Fears of Hell, by William Bennett (Fabian, 1959).

Thank you, everyone, for supporting Killer Covers over the years.

By the Numbers

With today being Killer Covers’ eighth anniversary (more on that soon), I thought it would be fun to check Blogger’s stats counter and see which of this blog’s posts have scored the most pageviews over the years. Here are the top 10, in descending order of popularity:
1.The Man Who Had Too Much to Lose, by Hampton Stone” (April 7, 2010)
2.Curious Catalogue of Carnality” (July 26, 2012)
3.Oh No, Mitchell Hooks Is Gone” (March 21, 2013)
4.Two-fer Tuesdays: What Was Your Name Again?” (August 11, 2015)
5.Whodrewit? I Like It Cool, by Michael Lawrence” (November 22, 2010)
6.Who’re You Callin’ Yellow?” (June 12, 2010)
7.Sweet Wild Wench, by William Campbell Gault” (May 31, 2010)
8.He Had a Way with Women” (January 26, 2011)
9.Brown Out” (May 6, 2010)
10.Crime on His Hands” (August 24, 2009)

Back to Fronts

In case you haven’t been paying close attention, note that The Rap Sheet has posted its 15 finalists for the title of “Best Crime Fiction Cover of 2016.” Over the last week, two of the nominees—Carl Hiaasen’s Razor Girl and Todd Moss’ Ghosts of Havana—have established early leads, though the British fronts of Thomas Mullen’s Darktown and E.S. Thomson’s Beloved Poison are in hot pursuit. You have until midnight next Wednesday, January 25, to make your own preferences known. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Executive Showdown

(Above) Title page illustration by Joseph R. Veno.

Irving Wallace penned his fourth novel, The Man, at the height of America’s civil-rights movement, as battles were being fought (in the courts and in the streets) to curtail racial prejudice in housing, employment, education, and voting rights. The Man first reached print as a Simon & Schuster hardcover in 1964, the same year President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat from Texas—once part of the slave-holding, breakaway Confederate States of America—signed into law a civil-rights bill that, as Wikipedia explains, “banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment practices and ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and by public accommodations.”

It didn’t seem possible back then, almost half a century ago before the rise of Barack Obama, that an African American could be elected as president of the United States. Few people would have even bothered imagining such a thing. But Wallace was one of them.

Douglass Dilman is sworn in as president.

The Chicago-born Hollywood screenwriter turned author had previously produced novels about a straying husband frustrated by impotence (The Sins of Philip Fleming, 1959), female sexuality (The Chapman Report, 1961), and the annual awarding of Nobel Prizes (The Prize, 1962). He was well on his way to becoming a best-selling author of sex-drenched potboilers, such as 1974’s The Fan Club. As The New York Times remarked in its 1990 obituary of Wallace (who died of pancreatic cancer at 74 years of age), his fiction offered “a judicious sprinkling of adultery, rape, kidnapping, old-fashioned romance, suspense, babbitry, alcoholism, intrigue and assorted examples of venality”—and sold in excess of 120 million copies during his lifetime.

The Man—a 1965 Reader’s Digest condensed version of which supplies the artwork decorating this post—is something different from its predecessors. There isn’t a great deal of carnal cavorting in its 750-plus pages, but plenty of political chicanery; not much romance, but more than enough white-privilege arrogance and vicious bigotry for most anyone’s taste.

(Left) Secretary of State Eaton gets acquainted with Sally Watson.

It begins with an official visit to Frankfurt, West Germany, during which a freak accident takes the lives of both the U.S. president and the speaker of the House. The vice president has recently perished from a “massive coronary,” and in the absence of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—which in 1967 would set forth procedures by which America’s top political offices were to be filled in the event of death or physical disabilities—the presidency falls to Douglass Dilman, a former college professor and junior senator from a Midwestern state, who also holds the ceremonial post of president pro tempore of the Senate. Dilman has no White House aspirations; as actor James Earl Jones (who portrayed Dilman in a 1972 film based on Wallace’s book and scripted by Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling) observed in his introduction to the 1999 edition of The Man, Dilman is “a quiet, rational man trying his best to do a difficult job in daunting circumstances. Thrown into the center of a political earthquake, he is an apolitical creature, and something of a Milquetoast. He is an intellectual, and a good man with a commitment to principles but no appetite for political battles.” Wallace described his protagonist as someone “who was not white and who was afraid of being black, and who was without armor or grace.” Yet this is the guy who becomes the new president.

White House cronies plot against Dilman.

Unlike Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson, who also acceded to the Oval Office after the untimely deaths of popular 20th-century chief executives, “the country doesn’t rally around” new President Dilman, recalled Florida English professor Ariel Gonzalez in this 2011 review of The Man: “sixty-one percent disapprove of him.
Dillman can’t fault them; he holds a low opinion of himself too. Racial insecurity bedevils him. “I am a black man,” he says, “not yet qualified for human being, let alone for President.” Though a widower, he is reluctant to pursue a relationship with a biracial woman because he fears the lightness of her skin will raise the specter of miscegenation. To calm people’s worries, he agrees to play the role of a figurehead. He doesn’t even veto a clearly unconstitutional bill prohibiting him from removing any member of his predecessor’s Cabinet.
Only slowly, with almost painful hesitation, does Dilman grab hold of the reins that have been thrust into his hands, raising the rancor of his opponents on all fronts. There’s an assassination attempt in the White House Rose Garden; African-American radicals protest against Dilman as a “black Judas,” “a Jim Crow president” who refuses to stand up for his race; and the imperious, Ivy League-educated secretary of state, Arthur Eaton—convinced that he deserves the presidency more than Dilman—conspires with his worshipful, younger mistress, White House social secretary Sally Watson, to glean information for use against Dilman. The president’s enemies finally manufacture pretexts on which to commence Congressional impeachment hearings against him; and then, employing some of the most racist verbiage heard outside of a Ku Klux Klan rally, they go on public attack against Dilman’s morality and fitness for office.

(Right) Black students protest Dilman’s sudden rise.

Particularly venomous, during and outside of those hearings, is Congressman Zeke Miller, a newspaper publisher and “Southern redneck mouthpiece,” who denounces Dilman as an “all-fired ignoramus of a nigger … fixing to make [the United States] into another Africa.” Appealing to Eaton for his assistance in bringing down the accidental president, Miller reveals the odious depths of his contempt for Dilman:
“We’re going to put old Sambo on the hot seat good, and we’re going to roast his ass plenty, until he yells enough, and begs us to get him off it. I’m going to force him to resign, to resign because of disability or whatever, but to resign, and if he refuses, I’m going to resign him by force.”
It would be comforting to think that such hidebound attitudes and low-minded hatreds were things of the past, that by the 21st century America had come to realize the value of its population diversity. But as eight years of racially charged and increasingly ludicrous impeachment talk against Democratic President Barack Obama demonstrated, and as Republican Donald Trump’s divisive recent White House campaign confirmed, this is still a country held hostage by ethnic and sexual prejudices, all of them lurking just below the surface, barely held at bay by public norms.

An attempt on Dilman’s life in the Rose Garden.

According to Jones’ introduction, “in 1963, as background for The Man, [Wallace] accepted an invitation from President John F. Kennedy to spend several days observing life in the White House, from the Oval Office to the Cabinet Room to the private family quarters.” The result is a tale redolent of authenticity, with details of the president’s Pennsylvania Avenue residence and business habits tossed off with all the studied casualness one might have found in an episode of The West Wing. While the back-and-forth of Dilman’s impeachment proceedings can be tedious at times, burdened with the turgid declarations of politicians seeking the limelight, Wallace does a fine job of ratcheting up tensions between Dilman’s treacherous accusers and the sharp but shy president. “The writer keeps you angry long enough to make the retribution sweet,” wrote reviewer Gurdas Singh Sandhu in this 2007 post for his blog, Guldasta. “The sheer audacity of lies, the shameless hatred veiled in goodness, and the vocal mudslinging is just perfect to get the reader angry. And angry I was! So much so that while reading the book, there were instances when I had to keep it aside and allow the torrential anger inside me (at the injustice meted out to Doug) to subside.”

Although The Man doesn’t achieve the heights of American political fiction reached by, say, Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, or rival Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as a literary exploration of racial injustice, it certainly forced readers of the ’60s to confront the possibility of someone other than a white man occupying the Oval Office. Furthermore, it was prescient in envisioning the ugly belligerence that would greet an African American like Douglass Dilman or Barack Obama ascending to the presidency.

I didn’t catch up to The Man until 35 years after its initial publication, purchasing a paperback edition that was released by ibooks in 1999. I didn’t get around to actually reading the novel until 2015. And only last year did I happen across the illustrations peppering the length of this post. As I mentioned earlier, they were featured in a 1965 Reader’s Digest edition of Wallace’s yarn, which was combined in a single volume with condensations of William B. Walsh’s A Ship Called Hope, Joseph Hayes’ The Third Day, and John Ehle’s The Land Breakers. Aside from the title page, shown atop this post, the other paintings were done by Robert K. Abbett, an American artist I’ve mentioned a number of times in Killer Covers. You should find a full set of those illustrations here.

SEE MORE: At least for the time being, you can watch the 90-minute ABC-TV film based on The Man by clicking here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #12

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

Dangerous Dames, selected by Mike Shayne (Dell, 1965).
Illustration by Robert McGinnis.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #11

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

Dames Play Dumb, by Bart Barnato (Edwin Self & Company, circa 1951). Illustrator unknown. According to the Ash Rare Books site, Dames Play Dumb—in which a character named Nicky Folan “is released from jail looking for vengeance”—was “an early Bart Banarto title, here using the variant Barnato spelling.” Banarto was an Edwin Self house-name, but “most of the Banarto titles appear to have been written by Albert Edward Garrett (1917-1968).” (Hat tip to Art Scott.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #10

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

The Dame’s the Game, by “Al Fray,” aka Ralph Salaway (Popular Library, 1960). Illustration by Harry Schaare.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #9

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

Dame in My Bed, by Michael Storme (Archer, 1950; Kaywin, 1951). Illustration by Reginald Heade.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #8

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

Just Like a Dame, by Walter Standish (Brown Watson UK, 1948).
Illustration by J. Pollack (who also created this cover).

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #7

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

Dames Don’t Care, by Peter Cheyney (Pan, 1960).
Illustration by Sam “Peff” Peffer.

READ MORE:Cheyney’s Dark Times,” by Michael Keyton
(The Rap Sheet).

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, #6

Celebrating this festive season with brassy bombshells.

Dames, Danger, Death, edited by Leo Margulies (Pyramid, 1960).
Illustration by Harry Schaare.