Showing posts with label Sultry Sunday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sultry Sunday. Show all posts


Sultry Sunday Special — "He Bop!"

From Rex Parker's "Pop Sensation" blog ...

Paperback 306: Bantam 826
(1st ptg, 1950) (ex-lib)

Title: High Sierra
Author: W.R. Burnett
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Best things about this cover
  • "Yeah, so, I like to grab the shaft real tight with one hand, like so, and then rub the tip back and forth with the other hand, real slow, like so, you see? And then ... what? What're you mugs starin' at? Ain't you never seen a guy polish his gun before?"
  • I *love* the expression on her face. It's like she's saying, quietly, out of the side of her mouth: "Uh ... are you seeing what I'm seeing?" Clearly the dude with the cards is as stunned as she is ... staring intently ... clawing the chair arm ...
  • In other news about the guy stroking his rod: those are some high pants. Tie-swallowing pants. And the girliest suspenders imaginable.

Best thing about this back cover:

  • Only the Cincinnati Times Star really appears to be tapping into what I'm seeing on the cover.

Page 123~

Roy was appalled at the change in Big Mac's appearance and sat studying him covertly. Mac had lost a lot of weight and the skin under his chin hung in pale folds. His hands shook and he kept drinking glass after glass of straight whisky.

I can't help but picture a haggard, embittered, world-weary, alcoholic Mayor McCheese.


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Sultry Sunday #33 - The (at one time) weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

I used to post stuff here. Not sure why I stopped. I'm starting again. Maughta sent me some cheesy Rex Stout pbs in the mail, so maybe I'll snark those in the near future. Til then, this ~RP

Title: False to Any Man (Bantam 80, 2nd ptg, 1947)
Author: Leslie Ford
Cover artist: "Kohs"

  • When the Bride of Frankenstein sleeps, she dreams of the facades of junior high schools.
  • I sort of like the torn cover effect, but the rest — it's both nonsensical and ugly. The color scheme alone is a nightmare.
  • "Colonel Primrose" already sounds like someone I'd like to kick in the balls.

  • If only this book were about a "gimlet-eyed" cat.
  • Always sad when the original cover is light years better, design-wise, than the paperback.

Page 123~

"He sure am smart, ain' he?" William said, with quite genuine enthusiasm.

In case you were still entertaining some idea of actually reading anything written by this woman...


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Sultry Sunday #32 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Today, not just a twofer or a threefer, but a fourfer — continuing my countdown of the 57 books I recently acquired at my local University's Book Sale. Please enjoy Books 8-11.


A Mess of March ... I'm moving all the NGAIO MARSH titles to the front of the queue (literally, Roger Daltrey sang the word "queue" as I typed it just now ... freaky coincidence) because one of my readers seems to have a thing for her :)

Book 8: Singing in the Shrouds (Berkley, 1960)
Cover artist: photo?

  • A book that takes on the collapsing telecommunications system, apparently
  • Her miniskirt has its own miniarm.
  • Finally, someone has tamed the wild, native, animalistic mystery novel and made it "civilized literature." Where's my houseboy with the tea!?

Book 9: Death of a Peer (Pocket 475, 1947)
Cover artist: Aargh, uncredited

  • This lady's got Fear Hand (TM). In fact, she appears to have a double case of it.
  • Ouch. Skeleton key to the eye. That's gotta hurt.
  • Well if it's WEALTHY, of course we care...

Book 10: Death of a Fool (Avon T-254, late '50s)
Cover artist: Uncredited

  • Fear Hand! (TM)
  • Jenny recoils in horror as she sees that her gardener has failed to blow all the leaves off her front lawn. And squirrels on her bird-feeders!? Oh, the humanity.
  • Inspector Alleyn arrives to cut through the heathen nonsense of the simple souls. Civilization! God save the Queen, wot!

Book 11: Swing, Brother, Swing (Pocket 762, 1951)
Cover artist: Lew Keller

  • "Swing, Brother, Swing ... for Hepcats only, man!"
  • Secret ingredient to all good mystery cover copy — just add "... with DEATH!"
  • I'm sorry, I started laughing at "accordion" and haven't stopped yet


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Sultry Sunday #31: The Pop Sensation Crossover

Hey. It's been nearly four months since I posted over here. Uh... sorry? I was busy? The dog ate it? Anyway, behold this woman:


Paperback 302: Bantam 407 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Behold This Woman
Author: David Goodis
Cover artist: William Shoyer

Best things about this cover:

  • Only four?
  • Behold these boobs!
  • Love the guy's hand: "... must ... not ... fondle ..."
  • Notice how often woman is front and center on pb covers while man is off to side, lopped off, seen from behind, kind of in shadows, etc. Woman is meant to be a very particular dish, while man is usu. a kind of Everyman. Or Anysap, I guess.
  • Now that I look more closely at the picture, I think that the guy is an interior decorator who is having a coronary after witnessing the pink rococo orgasm that is this room.

Best things about this back cover:

  • I'm going to go with ... the knife jammed into the window sill. Yes, that's the best thing.
  • Actually, I'm loving the little blue and pink Yes / Buts.
  • Wow, the original cover girl for "Behold This Woman" was all kinds of ugly.

Page 123~

The gray-haired man was annoyed. "What do you mean, help you?" he said. "What do you take me for, an ignoramus?"


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Sultry Sunday #30 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Hope you like French whores ...

Paperback 248: Pennant Books P24 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Murder Won't Out
Author: Russel Crouse (... and somewhere, a letter "L" runs free ...)
Cover artist: Charles Binger

Best things about this cover:

  • That's the French whoriest French whore that ever French whored her way from here to French Whoretown. Not sure how she ended up in NYC.
  • "Tiny trashcans for sale! ... who will buy ze tiny trashcans? ... I call zem 'Can Cans' ... yes, zat is why I'm dressed like zis ... clevair, no?"
  • After "Nights in Rodanthe," Diane Lane decided to start taking much darker roles.
  • "Murder Will Out" is an old phrase — Chaucerian old — in case you weren't sure what the title was going for here.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Yes, but what's the book about?

Page 123~

It was no longer the Broadway of the Lombardy poplars and the convivial taverns. The trees had long since given way to lamp posts to light its darkest corner. The Great White Way, to coin a phrase, as somebody had once upon a time.

That passage starts out OK, but the wheels really come off in that last "sentence." "... as it were, so to speak, as they say ..."



Sultry Sunday #29 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Paperback 234: Monarch 466 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Diagnosis: Love
Author: Barbara Bonham
Cover artist: Lou Marchetti

Best things about this cover:

  • The long awaited prequel to "Diagnosis: Murder"
  • Whatever was going on in "their private lives," it apparently involved massive amounts of nitrous oxide
  • "Take off that clown make-up. This is a hospital, not a whorehouse!" / "Oh fuck you, Steve. Perform the appendectomy yourself. I'm going outside to smoke ... and maybe talk to Larry. That's right, I said 'Larry.' Asshole."

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Garnet?"
  • "Chad!" - that's more like it.
  • " ... a strange malady ..." - later diagnosed as "hot pants"

Page 123 (last page!)~

He took the thermometer from her and glanced at it quickly. "Normal. No germs here. It would be perfectly safe to kiss you." He pulled her up into his arms.

I really hope that thermometer was in her mouth.



Sultry Sunday #28 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Hey all. I'm back from a month+-long disappearance. Invent your own fantastic reasons for why I was away. While you're doing that, enjoy this:


Paperback 230: Midnight Reader MR 419 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Lust Cult
Author: Don Elliott (pseud. of Robert Silverberg)
Cover artist: uncredited

Best things about this cover:

  • What the hell happened to her torso. It's like taffy ... or krazy bread. Yikes. Everything from the bottom of her breast to the middle of her ass needs to be ReDone!
  • When Thing isn't hanging out with the Addams Family ...
  • This is actually a nicely designed cover, as sleaze covers go. Like the rectangular segments - very mid-century modern.

Best things about this back cover:
  • I can tell you that, compared to the back covers of many sleaze novels, this one is remarkably lucid. That is, it doesn't sound it was translated from English into Urdu by a Swede and then back into English by a half-witted Czech.
  • "I'm gonna be late again tonight, honey ... yeah, I've got that damned Sin Meeting I was telling you about ... yeah. Boss really wants us new acolytes to work hard pushing his new 'Shrine of Evil' theme parks ... OK, I'll call you when we're done Embracing Lust!"

Page 123~ (this better be good)

His hands went to her blouse, cupping the ripe thrusts of her breasts.

Oh yeah. That's the stuff. OK, I cheated - that's page 124. But page 123 was all descriptions of driving. Just ... driving. No fun.

I have to believe that if I google "ripe thrusts" right now I get exactly zero hits. . . 71 hits! That's insane. They appear to be all porn sites, although hit 1 appears to be about some kind of lemon. I'm not clicking through to find out.



Sultry Sunday #27 - the weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Hey all. Rex Parker here, back from a little vacation (Costa Rica), and ready to drop some more fresh vintage covers for you all once again. Let's see ... yes, this will do:

Paperback 221: Permabooks M-4289
(1st ptg, 1963)

Title: Like Love
Author: Ed McBain
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Best things about this cover:

  • "Dear God, please let me score with this chick from Cirque de Soleil. Amen."
  • "Dammit! Why won't my eyebrows stay *down*!?"
  • "Man, my thumbnails look *weird* up close..."
  • "Oh, Steve, I'm tired of you and your shadow puppets. Can't we just get back to hanging drapery?"
  • What the hell is with the title?: "It's *like* love, baby, just ... minus all the caring and sharing and listening to your damned problems. OK?"
  • This will sound odd, but the softness of the coloring and the fine pattern on the wallpaper reminds me of John Singer Sargent portrait that I love.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Tommy and Irene - sounds like a one-hit wonder pop duo from 1963
  • Carella and Hawes - sounds like a crime-fighting duo from 1974
  • "ourselfs" - ouch
  • Authentic imitation wood paneling! Really, one of the awesomest design choices in modern back cover art history

Page 123~

"Miscolo!" he yelled.
"Yo!" Miscolo yelled back from the Clerical Office.
"Bring in some iodine and some Band-Aids, will you?"
"Yo!" Miscolo answered.



Sultry Sunday #26: the weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Happy Sunday - here's your Pop Sensation crossover post. It's not the sultriest of covers, but it'll have to do...


Paperback 215: Lion Books 111
(1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Company K
Author: William March
Cover artist: Rafael DeSoto

Best things about this cover:

  • DeSoto is one of the great naturalistic cover artists, and this cover is really expertly painted. Beautiful, detailed, evocative of the suffering of war. I'm finding this cover slightly hard to make fun of. Although ... if her stroking and pumping that giant lever isn't innuendo, I don't know what is. That is, if "she" is indeed a woman. The novel is, after all, "flaming."
  • I'm afraid of the guy at the front of that line. He looks like he's lost all hope ... or else he is a golem or a droid or something.
  • "The Flaming Novel of Men and Women at War" - sounds like a book about the battle of the sexes. "Men Are From Mars ... : WWI Edition!"

Best things about this back cover:

  • "Company K is a Knockout"! Letter play not so effective when the "K" is silent. "Company G is a Gnat-infested Gnightmare"
  • This back cover is in Love with alliteration. Courage and cowardice ... lustings (!?) and lies, daring, doom, and death.
  • It's appropriate that this book is somewhat purple, because check out the prose in that second paragraph. March impales angry moments with his bayonet-pen!?
  • I like the little flag, particularly the wacky font of the letters.

This is a pretty famous and well-received novel of W. W. I, organized into micro-chapters about every single man in the company. Blurbs inside from Granville Hicks, Graham Greene, James T. Farrell, and Phyllis Bentley (whoever that is).

Page 123~

On Monday a kid from my company named Ben Hunzinger got fifteen years hard labor for deserting in the face of the enemy, and a long talk from Mr. Fairbrother about justice tempered with mercy.

Whoa, "Mr. Fairbrother?" Is this an allegory?



Sultry Sunday #25: the weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Whoops, missed last week. Sorry about that. Moving right along ... carnies!

Paperback 212: Gold Medal 372 (PBO, 1954) - Canadian Edition

Title: Notorious (no, not that "Notorious")
Author: Day Keene
Cover artist: Uncredited

Best things about this cover:
  • The fact that the Canada-only "35c" price tag overrides the Giant "25c" sign in the middle of the cover painting.
  • Innocent country girl tries to make it in the big ... Carny?
  • "I want to look like her. Can you do that, leering carnival barker man?"
  • "So, whatcha got in the suitcase, lady?" "Murder." "Oh ... I see."
  • "Murder in her suitcase" - this makes me hope for something gloriously bloody, like a small chainsaw with which she starts beheading everyone in site: "Is this part of the show, mama?"
  • I Really wish the lady in the foreground weren't so damned shadowed

Best things about this back cover:

  • Say what you will about Day Keene, he could totally rock the 'stache.
  • Ferron! "They call me Ferron: The Iron Man"
  • "the main chance"? - is that Canadian for "the big score"?

Page 123~

Kelcey struck Ferron in the face. "Where's the money, carny? Where's the eighteen grand?"



Sultry Sunday #24 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Fabulous find for you today - a small paperback publisher from the early 50s brings you naked dancing and more smoke than you're apt to see anywhere outside of a Pink Floyd concert.


Paperback 207: Readers-Choice Library No. 8 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: Green Light for Death
Author: Frank Kane
Cover artist: [Blickenstaff]

Best things about this cover:

  • "Is that a naked banshee over there in the corner? Doing the Lambada? O man, I'm so wasted..."
  • "Misunderstanding the concept of "War on Drugs" completely, Johnny Liddell began firing randomly at the smoke that filled the room."
  • I have "marijuana!" written on the ID sticker on this book's plastic bag, but I can't find confirming evidence that pot is at all involved in this story. I will say, though, that there are references to cigarettes, pipes, and smoking in general on virtually every page.
  • Love love love the naked dancer's necklace, captured in mid-air. Lovely.
  • Also love the disaffected Brando look-alike at the small of her back. For some reason, in my mind, he is French.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Text!
  • I'm not sure "accident or suicide" really warrants quoting.

Page 123~

Liddell's eyes sought out Mike Lane where he sat gloating like an obscene Buddha, his tiny eyes fixed hungrily on the cavorting girl, his head nodding in time to the music.

Unless Mike Lane is a fat Asian hip-hop fan, this simile sucks.



Sultry Sunday #23 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

OK, Rex Parker here, back from being sick / at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Yes, my life is exciting, thanks for noticing. Today, I actually feature books that contain good writing. For once.


Paperback 204: Ace G-512
(1st ptg / 1st ptg)

Title: The Girl Who Had to Die / The Blank Wall
Author: Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
Cover artist: Uncredited / Uncredited

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:

  • There was this floating head that liked to eat sailboats, which made the tall, dark, mysterious man on the beach very sad. The end.
  • What is it with the rainy day covers on all these Holding novels? Dreary and decidedly unhot. More skin, please.
  • Actually, on third or fourth look, the streaks look less like rain than like the trim on some elaborate fur hat. Or a really, really bad haircut.

Best things about this other cover:

  • This is one of my favorite pieces of crime fiction ever written. Ever. Seriously, it's that good. And unusual. Super suspenseful, with really complex and interesting characters. Women that aren't just femmes fatales. Just great. Provides a fascinating glimpse into domestic life during WWII (i.e. while the husband is away at war). Wish it would stay in @#$@ing print!
  • More lazy art. Etch-a-sketch posing as op-art. And I think the guy from the other cover just walked through the book and ended up here. That lady is not a very good hider.

Page 123~ (from The Blank Wall)

"Here's something you might be glad of," he said, and held out three little capsules, bright yellow.



Sultry Sunday #22 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

OK, so it's Sultry Monday. I was away for the weekend, during which I made a new purchase. It ties in nicely with the last post, re: how (not) to use babies on book covers. Enjoy.


Paperback 200: Perma Books M-4026 (2nd ptg, 1955)

Title: That None Should Die
Author: The insanely prolific Frank G. Slaughter
Cover artist: Charles Binger

So I had an early 70s movie tie-in of Chester Himes' "Cotton Comes to Harlem" all cued up and ready to go as my 200th Paperback ... and then I went to Plattsburgh.

Best things about this cover:

  • This doctor is

a. preparing to shoot the newborn at the ceiling like a rubberband
b. preparing to make "newborn tea"
c. deciding whether to keep it or throw it back
d. looking Way too long and hard at the baby's genital region, or
e. so handsome that nobody cares what he's actually doing

  • I love how the mother is the very least important figure on the cover - almost like an afterthought, or a shorthand visual cue to let you know that the baby is alive and he didn't steal it.
  • "That none should die, Dr. Rand Handsome ingested the mysterious, rune-inscribed baby before it could explode."

Best things about this back cover:

  • "That story alone is fascinating" - uh, no, sorry it's not.
  • If this description makes the book sound anti-socialized/nationalized medicine, that's because the book *is* anti-socialized/nationalized medicine. The first (teaser) page has as its headline: "President announces medical care free to rich and poor alike!" - in this book, that's the terrifying Orwellian future. Because we all know that real doctors are all driven by "ideals" (see cover), unlike nameless bureaucrats who want only to flatten all social distinctions and erect statues of Lenin.

Page 123~

"I shouldn't be saying this, I suppose, but you look like a better class of man than we usually get in a job like this, and I hope you're going to stay with us."

He added, "I mean, I'm not gay or anything, but dear god you're handsome."



Sultry Sunday #21 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Peer into the shocking world of ... "The Farmers Hotel"

Paperback 197: Bantam 1594 (1st ptg, 1957)
Title: The Farmers Hotel
Author: John O'Hara
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Best things about this cover:

  • It's @#$#ing John O'Hara and the best blurb provider you can get is Book-Of-The-Month Club News!?!?
  • The design on this cover is Fantastic. It's all a bit too cramped with text for my tastes, but the pictures, small though they are, are vivid and dramatic, and the use of color blocks to build a hotel-like structure - inspired! I especially like how "John O'Hara" functions visually like a chimney and the "S" in "Farmers" is hanging out there like a rain gutter.
  • Hey, is that "Carrie Corrupted" sharing a drink with Joe Bow Tie? At first I thought that she was on her cell phone, but I think it's just a cigarette.
  • Is the lady with the G.I. a. dead, b. really drunk, or c. looking at an airplane flying overhead? Her neck is oddly ... unhinged.
  • You really don't want to check into the Red Room. That is the lesson I gather from this cover.
  • Paperback publishers must have loved O'Hara. He was a writer of "legitimate" fiction who sold off the racks and could be made, with very little fudging, to sound like a writer of soft-core sex fiction. The fifties were all about trying to get glimpses of "brief, shocking intimacy" without being called a perv.

Best things about this back cover:

  • The G.I. and his lady have moved to a small cabin and are now fighting / dancing.
  • Love the campy, dramatic quotation from the Times!
Page 123~

The quiet of the room was almost total, but not peaceful.



Sultry Sunday #20 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Rex Parker here with the latest Sultry Sunday vintage paperback write-up - have at it!


Paperback 194: Gold Medal 122 (PBO, 1950)

[For Kathy P]

Title: One Wild Oat
Author: MacKinlay Kantor
Cover artist: Willard Downes

Best things about this cover:

  • "I regret that I have but one wild oat to sow for my country."
  • I looked up ENNUI in the dictionary and found this picture.
  • "Whatsa matter, baby? Don't you like it here in my cave?"
  • Neither liquor, nor cigarettes, nor, uh, whatever Native American bauble she's playing with there, could move Louise to give Rock Handsome the time of day.
  • This painting went up for auction on-line a couple of years ago
  • Don't you love it it when booksellers put price stickers directly onto the covers of vintage paperbacks covered in delicate, easily destroyed Perma-Gloss? I know I do. (Sticker is probably removable - I just never tried, as the Perma-Gloss on the cover is virtually undamaged)

Best things about this back cover:

  • "My dear girl" ... "abide" ... was she abducted by a randy English butler?
  • I'm guessing that "Middlefield" represents the Middle-class standards of Middle America
  • Love how the last paragraph reads almost like a non sequitur. So casual. Like she was contemplating hanging new curtains.

Page 123~

The scent of mulled wine was in her nostrils, the ringing of Prokofiev in her ears, as - shaking, still reluctant - she awarded herself to LeRoy for that sacred moment, and touched her face against his.

I'm sorry, but "nostrils" pretty much sucked the sexy vibe right out of the room.



Sultry Sunday #19 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Once more, a syndicated installment of "Pop Sensation"

Paperback 191: Popular Library 69
(1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Listening House
Author: Mabel Seeley
Cover artist: [H. Lawrence Hoffman]

Best things about this cover:

  • Yeah, if the house I was walking past suddenly grew a gigantic ear, I'd run like hell too.
  • Is the runner holding a boomerang? Is he texting someone? Did the ice cream fall out of his cone? His forward hand looks very wrong.
  • While I love the more realistic, lurid, 50s-60s covers the most, I have a strange affection for these more abstract early covers. Hoffman did some great work in the 40s. I'm pretty sure I have more from him coming up in my collection.

Best things about this back cover:

  • This description sounds more Gothic than Mystery. A creaky old house ... on a cliff?
  • I love the can-do, plucky optimism of the early paperbacks. They all had adorable slogans back then - "Mysteries of Proven Merit" Not sure what's going on with the quotation marks. When you say it about yourself, it's not really a quote.

Page 123~

"Mrs Dacres, did you ever spend any thought at all on why society makes such a hue and cry about murder? After all, by and large, I've found out that most of the people who get murdered leave the world better off for their absence."

Now that's a quote that makes me want to keep reading. For once.



Sultry Sunday #18 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Someday Maughta will post something new - til then, you get this. Enjoy:

Paperback 189: Signet D1628 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: The Sound and the Fury
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: photo

Best things about this cover:

  • Best thing? Hmmm. I can't decide. It's either the sound or the fury.
  • I see the "Fury" (Yul Brenner tries to strangle Joanne Woodward) - the "Sound"? I guess it's the sound of me gasping at the sight of Yul Brenner with hair.
  • This blue tint is so dark that it renders the picture almost irrelevant. I love the hand-drawn fon on the title. Makes the book look like an adaptation of a wacky Disney movie.

Best things about this back cover:

  • "DECAY" - Why would I read any farther after that? That is perhaps the best single-word tagline I've ever seen on a book. And the bright, whimsical font! Inspired.
  • By the picture, I would surmise that this is the story of an aging pirate with a bad hairpiece and massive pit stains who wants nothing more than for Maria from "Sound of Music" to admire his chest hair.

Page 123~

"Oh, forget your damned clothes. Does your eye hurt?"

I can't believe I just Page 123'd William Faulkner. John Faulkner, sure, but William? The indignity!



Sultry Sunday #17 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Once again, a syndicated installment of "Pop Sensation" -

Paperback 186: Gold Medal 947 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Danger Is My Line
Author: Stephen Marlowe
Cover artist: Uncredited (looks like Barye Phillips a little)

Best things about this cover:

  • "Oh, don't mind me, I'm just..."
  1. "tying my ... pump"
  2. "doing some very advanced step aerobics"
  3. "trying to figure out the most auspicious way to present my magnificent rear end to the world"
  • Chester Drum looks like he's prepping to give someone a very unpleasant exam
  • "Danger Is My Line" is a beyond-lame title - along with the author's last name (Marlowe), it furthers the impression that the book will be a horrid rip-off of Chandler (who wrote "Trouble Is My Business")

Best things about this back cover:

  • So Chester Drum is ... a lamb. Either that, or one of Mary's lambs wants to screw her.

Page 123~

Maybe he got the belly from drinking too much beer or maybe he got it from eating criminals alive - but the overall impression he gave, penguin-body, rimless hexagonal glasses, merry twinkling eyes, was about as deadly as a house-cat's. Still, I told myself, these things are relative - house-cats are pretty deadly: to rats.

"Deep Thoughts," by Chester Drum



Sultry Sunday #16 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

With apologies for failing to produce a write-up last week, I offer you this week's "Pop Sensation" crossover:

Paperback 183: Avon T-291
(PBO, 1959)

Title: Death is the Last Lover
Author: Henry Kane
Cover artist: uncredited

Best things about this cover:

  • The color scheme. It's gutsy - pink, baby blue, and then ... some kind of maroon
  • The title - sensationalist writing at its best / worst. Does she literally sleep with Death, or does her John kill her, or what?
  • Thank god Death was her last lover - that makes a much better title than "Herb the Copier Salesman from Wichita is the Last Lover"
  • Her face is unfortunate. The painting makes her look vapid, which is inherently unsexy. I do dig that oversized hat box she's sitting on, though. Her legs and cleavage aren't awful either.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Personally, I like "bosoms and brandies" with pretty much anything.
  • That negligee has too many adjectives. It stopped being sexy right around adjective #3
  • Oh look, it's that insipid face again. Nope, it's no sexier in blue tone.

Page 123~

I sat near her, enjoying the warmth of her thigh. "Honey," I said, "you're a nice, sweet, attractive gal, and I'm crazy about you."

"Yeah, I remember," she said.

Wow, she talks a lot cooler than she looks.


Sultry Sunday #15 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Paperback 179: Dell First Edition B178 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Kill Now, Pay Later
Author: Robert Kyle (pen name of Robert Terrall)
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • Nearly everything. It's quintessential. It expresses everything I love about this era - a sense of cool combined with a sense of something fading, something ending ... a kind of twilight. These two look like their best days are behind them, just behind them, and it is only beginning to dawn on them. Look, she's already forgotten how to hold a martini glass. And he seems bemused by his gun. Poor, poor, hot people.
  • "Remember when we used to find wandering daughters, fight thugs, and have hot sex in my mid-century modern apartment? ... good times ..."
  • Love the whimsical font - great contrast with the smoky, languid, gin-laden miasma of grief and nostalgia that pervades the bar scene
  • Robert McGinnis could draw the hell out of a woman when he wanted to. He and Maguire are the kings of Great Girl Art. That bare foot ... I'm not a foot man, myself, but man that is cute bordering on adorable.
  • Honey, I officially want a padded white semicircular wet bar for Christmas. I'll take up drinking and shooting, and you take up cigarettes, and we'll be in business. I'm not sure what we do about the kid ...

Best things about this back cover:

  • Ben Gates is Looking At You
  • "Dacron and worsted" - wtf? That sounds like a buddy cop show waiting to happen.
  • "Contact was total" - HA ha. That kind of writing takes balls.
  • So ... she tasted like a caterpillar soaked in champagne? I don't want to know how anyone would know what that tastes like.
  • The back cover is ... continued on page 1!? That's a very interesting sales technique that I've seen only once before.

Page 123~

What she saw in her living room cured her of the giggles.

That is a great line - the opening line of a new chapter. How could you not read on?


PS Thanks to Duane Swierczynski for pointing out that McGinnis also painted the cover for the recent reprint of this title (published by Hard Case Crime). I prefer the original cover, but the new one definitely has its charms: