Crossover! or, Maughta finds a way to cover for her blogging inactivity...

Dear "Judge a Book" readers,

Maughta has asked me to do some crossover publishing on her blog, since we have overlapping interests. So from now until whenever it stops, I'll be posting my Sunday write-ups from "Pop Sensation" here for your readerly pleasure / scorn. I own 2000+ vintage paperbacks, and one day I just started pulling them off the shelf, scanning them, and commenting on their fabulous / horrible / fabulously horrible covers (the covers being the main reason I started collecting them - I haven't read 99% of my collection, truth be told). All my books are for sale, by the way, though selling them is not the reason I have the blog. I just want to spread love for the bad and the good of paperback cover art, circa 1940-1970.

My format is straightforward and self-explanatory. The feature at the end, "Page 123," is just an arbitrary way for me to be able to give readers a taste of the kind of writing these books have to offer. My little nod to the importance of what's between the covers.

Enjoy - Rex Parker


Paperback 138: Perma Book M-3100
(1st ptg, 1957)

Title: One-Way Ticket
Author: Bert and Dolores Hitchens
Cover artist: James Meese

Best things about this cover:
  • "Railroad detective" - my favorite kind!
  • The swirling green vortex of nausea and despair
  • The distractingly child-like drawing of the upper half of a candle
  • Cool stenciled font on the title
  • That furniture - the proportions seem off and there are legs that appear to come from / go to nowhere, but in general, it's cool; spare, stark, mid-century modern in the very best way
  • If only she hadn't cut her hair by herself in the dark with a bread knife, she would easily be one of the hottest women in my collection - understated yet stunning black dress (that's a dress, right, not a negligee?), fierce black shoes,* and a perversely casual way with money. What's not to love?

Best things about this back cover:

  • I love when back covers function like movie teasers: " ... MURDER! Featuring ... Boots! David Bryant! Some other B movie character actors whose names you don't know. And starring Jerry Mathers, as The Beav"
  • Which of these names doesn't belong? A: "David Bryant" - what a dud. That last name really ruins the whole vibe of the back cover. Everyone else gets one colorful name, and he gets the full name of some guy from middle management.
  • Wait, Rock dies? Uh, SPOILER ALERT!
  • This all makes sense except for Boots. I mean, I could write the plot of this book, but I would have no idea what to do with Boots. David Bryant already has two women. Is Boots a cat?

Page 123~

This was a joke on Boots by Boots. They were all expected to enjoy it. They chuckled in chorus and Vic felt a fool.

I'm guessing it was a familiar feeling.


*I had written "fierce black pumps," but apparently those are "mules," and I can't call such great shoes something as ugly-sounding as "mules," so now it's generic "shoes."


Mame Burkett said...

Thanks for such a cool blog! My favorite cover is the fat white vampire. I also appreciate that you are a librarian. I refer to my library as my bi-monthly retreat house. I blog about pop fiction and I may have to check out some of these titles and write about them. BTW, have you noticed the resurgence of these covers on new mysteries?
maybe check my blog out:www.besottedbookworm.com

Kopperhead said...

Oh how I do love cover mockery! I'm also lovin' this gals curves (only as a real life woman to woman observation, mind you). No stick figure drawing here, no ma'am. Those were the days... Whatever happened to railroad detectives anyway?

Never mind, I guess they're called Sky Marshalls now.

Topaz said...

Well, what happens to Boots? What's her connection to the other folks? Does she sober up and find love with our Railroad Detective???

Rex Parker said...

O please don't make me read this thing...


Buzzfloyd said...

You are so right about David Bryant! Very funny stuff, I look forward to reading more of your blog. :)

Michael5000 said...

This looks very... familiar....

Mary B said...

Oh I do love her shoes! That has to be the would-be babykiller on the cover.

:happy sigh:

Thanks for the fix!

Anonymous said...

I usually think of mules as fluffy-- maribou feathers or something. These would probably now be called slides.

I have a railroad detective novels somewhere- High Red for Dead-- I'll have to dig it out and see if it is the same author.

Morgan's Mum said...

Perhaps Boots was the lady in distress which Rock stopped to help. She was drinking herself to an early death after all...

I too am curious now about Boots and what her role is.

Please read it and let us know Rex!

Inquiring readers want to know!