Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paperback 844: Death Before Bedtime / Edgar Box (Signet 1093)

Paperback 844: Signet 1093 (1st ptg, 1954)

Title: Death Before Bedtime
Author: Edgar Box (Gore Vidal)
Cover artist: [Samuel] Cherry

Estimated value: $15-20


Best things about this cover:

  • "If I can't have this hideous table lamp, no one can!" (I'm currently Ob Sessed with the table lamps of crime fiction / film noir / crime TV)
  • "Stop right there! Now, tell me … do these heels go with this embroidered bathrobe? Answer me, punk!"
  • Nice leg extension. You rarely see such poise in someone scrambling to protect herself from an intruder. Old school.
  • Edgar Box is Gore Vidal. I've been meaning to read Vidal's Box stuff for a while. Maybe this Christmas …


Best things about this back cover:
  • Hey, his secretary can't help her spinal deformity, you assholes.
  • I hope "The woman he kept a secret" is an imaginary friend.
  • "The buddy who hated him" is just a great stand-alone phrase.

Page 123~

She flushed, confused. "I … I was mistaken then. I was under the impression you thought Johnson was in some way involved."

Lydia was always the first to volunteer … if Johnson was involved.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, December 15, 2014

Paperback 843: The Sketch Book / Washington Irving (English Classic Series 31)

Paperback 843: English Classic Series 31 (1st ptg? , 1889)

Title: The Sketch Book
Author: Washington Irving
Cover artist: N/A

Estimated value: Hard to say? Only listed copy at is $26, but I've labeled it as $6, so … somewhere in there, I guess.


  • I have nothing to say about this cover, or the back cover. There is only one interesting feature of this book—it is the oldest paperback in my collection. By several decades.


Page 23~

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel.

I assume "regions of delight" was 19th-century-speak for "boobs."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Paperback 842: The Captive Women / Walter D. Edmonds (Bantam 708)

Paperback 842: Bantam 708 (3rd ptg, 1950)

Title: The Captive Women
Author: Walter D. Edmonds
Cover artist: Denver Gillen

Estimated Value: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Something about "Squat-o" there gives the whole cover a wacky feel. Like this is going to be some kind of domestic comedy. I'm pretty sure he's saying "What is it with dames these days, Fred!?"
  • Fred is nodding knowingly. "I know, man. My captive woman keeps maxing out my credit card. I'm like, 'Damn, babe, how many damn pairs of moccasins do you need?'"
  • What is Fred gripping? Is it a gun? If so, follow-up: how long were guns back then?


Best things about this back cover:
  • $8.64 with tax.
  • This is called "The Captive Women" because "Delia's Gone" was taken.
  • Does the relative handsomeness of the "buck" mitigate the slavery somehow? I would've guessed 'no.'

Page 123~

While they slept the woman and the girl went through their packs, exclaiming at the worn out moccasins and the mending to be done and showing each other the best pelts.

Fred was right, man. These broads are crazy for moccasins.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Paperback 841: The Bombshell / Carter Brown (Signet 1767)

Paperback 841: Signet 1767 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Bombshell
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Estimated value: $8-10


Best things about this cover:

  • One of the few crime novels to take place entirely inside a circus tent.
  • Either that is a letter-perfect come-hither look or the rabid dog on her head has burrowed deep into her skull and now has full mind-control capabilities.
  • That is one hell of a negligee. So … negligible.
  • You can tell police dude is confused. "Shoot the thing on her head … or ask her out? Damn it, this job's hard!"
  • Title font victory! Total A+.


Best things about this back cover:

  • I think I found my new look for 2015. I am only 1/4 kidding. (The 1/4 that contains the cigarette)
  • Anagrams to LIE TALLY, which I'm sure is high, 'cause she's a blonde dame, know what I'm sayin'? Also LIT ALLEY, where she buys all her books, and TILE ALLY, as she's known in the bathroom flooring industry.
  • carter brown sold 25.5 million books without capital letters in his name so he's not about to start now.

Page 123~

 "Al!" She jumped up and down gleefully. "That thing's a microphone, isn't it?"

"It's whatever you want it to be, baby."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, December 5, 2014

Paperback 840: Not I, Said the Vixen / Bill S. Ballinger (Gold Medal k1529)

Paperback 840: Gold Medal k1529 (PBO, 1965)

Title: Not I, Said the Vixen
Author: Bill S. Ballinger
Cover artist: [Bill Johnson]

Estimated value: $8-12

Donation to the collection from Mr. John Q. Brooklyn (I don't want to use real names w/o permission). Guy asks me "Can I send you a book for your blog?" Twist my arm!


Best things about this cover:

  • "Isn't it true that your favorite letter is "I", Miss Lorents? ANSWER THE QUESTION!"
  • "Do you deny that you are overwhelmingly sensual? DO YOU!?"
  • This is a "vixen"? This looks like someone who showed up to a table reading for her role as "Vixen" in an episode of "Perry Mason." She does have a pretty boss head-tilt, but my prescription for greater vixenitude is less clothes, more gun. And … yeah, sure, go ahead and put on the glasses. OK, now shoot the D.A. and then stand over his body like, "told ya."


Best things about this back cover:

  • Way to bury the lede, Gold Medal. How is PROWLED THE WORLD OF TWILIGHT WOMEN not on the cover!?
  • She "ruined her lovers with the hot breath of scandal" ("scandal" being a last-minute substitute for "chili cheese fries")
  • "Please state your name for the record." "Ivy Lorents." "And how do you spell 'Ivy,' Miss Lorents? I presume it starts 'I', 'V'…" "Not I." "Objection! Permission to treat the vixen as sensual, your honor."

Page 123~

"You had her … falling all over herself," Ivy said, pleased with the memory of Pauline's discomfort.

Please invest that sentence with all the Sapphic innuendo you can muster.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Paperback 839: Man from Tomorrow / Wilson Tucker (Bantam 1343)

Paperback 839: Bantam 1343 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Man From Tomorrow
Author: Wilson Tucker
Cover artist: Uncredited

Approximate value: $6-10


Best things about this cover:

  • "OK, so main guy shoots beams out of his eyes, and then the lady in his head shoots beams out of her face and … I don't know … let's say, whirlpool aliens wicker man done. Got it?"
  • This floating head has his own internal floating head. That's pretty high-end.
  • Font colors are wicked stupid.
  • Ooh, this novel "tells of something which may be happening now." Ooh, is it Armageddon? Winter? The Greater Rochester Arts & Crafts Festival!? I'm gonna have to read this.


Best things about this back cover:
  • And the razor frisbee takes out another alien.
  • "Perhaps" … way to sell it!
  • The Paul Breens = your next band name.

Page 123~

Paul wondered if this new woman in the adjoining apartment would be a plant.

"A ficus, maybe," he fantasized.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Paperback 838: Hell-Town in Texas / Leslie Ernenwein (Avon 873)

Paperback 838: Avon 873 (2nd ptg?, 1960)

Title: Hell-Town in Texas
Author: Leslie Ernenwein
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $15-20


Best things about this cover:

  • Are there other kinds of towns in Texas?
  • Despite appearing relatively generic, there's actually something spare, pared-down, and gorgeous about this cover. The pure blue background gives a sense of delicacy to the men and horses, and that dust is some kind of abstract magic. Just great.
  • Books don't come in better condition than this. Off-the-shelf new. Sparkly, even.


Best things about this back cover:

  • But what's his name!?
  • Clyde Lambert grabbed a fish, but Marshal Terhune stopped him: "No, Clyde. Not Missouri Style. *Texas* Style." So they dueled with grapefruits.
  • That's a pretty nice marshal sketch, truth be told. Only marshals and stone-cold fops can get away with an ascot like that.

Page 123~

Contacting the same friends who'd turned down the Oro Kid scheme, he found them eager to invest their savings in his sawmill proposition.

There's two great crime novel titles right there: "The Oro Kid Scheme" and "The Sawmill Proposition."  You're welcome, writers.

Happy Thanksgiving,