Sunday, March 22, 2015

Paperback 867: The Dutch Shoe Mystery / Ellery Queen (Pocket Books 2202)

Paperback 867: Pocket Books 2202 (11th ptg, 1958)

Title: The Dutch Shoe Mystery
Author: Ellery Queen
Cover artist: Jerry Allison

Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:

  • This cover says a lot of things, but one of the things it does *not* say is "Dutch Shoe."
  • "But she could be number! NUMBER!"
  • Pretty sure that's not a regulation police hold—at least not with gun drawn. Does look cool, though.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Ooh, signed by quote-unquote Ellery Queen. How elegant.
  • "The patient was rich Abigail Doorn, whose money ran the hospital." Yeah, see, you would never introduce anyone "rich so-and-so," and also "whose money ran the hospital" kind of covers that.
  • Also maybe don't put "more than life-size portrait of a heroic doctor" next to a super-tiny portrait of a doctor.

Page 123~

Djuna leaped out of his kitchen at the shrill br-r-ring of the telephone bell. "For you, Dad Queen."

I really, really want to believe that a Dad Queen is some kind of sex thing. Something men named "Djuna" would be in to. Please don't shatter my illusions, thanks.


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Paperback 866: African Poison Murders / Elspeth Huxley (Popular Library 100)

Paperback 866: Popular Library 100 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: African Poison Murders
Author: Elspeth Huxley
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $12-17

Best things about this cover:
  • "Here, African. Put this on. That's better." Hashtag racist.
  • Actually, maybe the green guy is a sick European. He looks like a 17th-century actor who has eaten some bad mutton.
  • If you stare too long at that foreshortened thumb, you will begin to get queasy. It's… not right. Kind of like the relationship between green head and blue body. Not right at all.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Read that second sentence as "Feces were smashed." Was briefly intrigued.
  • A "native boy" wrapped in "baling wire." Hmm. That's a bit on the nose, as Slave-Trade metaphors go.
  • This book should've been called "Leopard Trap!" That, or "All's Veld That Ends Veld."

Page 123~

"It is the way of Europeans," the house-boy said philosophically.

"You gotta read a lot of Kant to deal with these motherfuckers," he added.


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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Paperback 865: Appointment for Sin / Paul V. Russo (Midwood F217)

Paperback 865: Midwood F217 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Appointment for Sin
Author: Paul V. Russo
Cover artist: Uncredited

Est. value: $22-25

Best things about this cover:

  • Suzie Masseuse's gaze is burning a hole in that washcloth.
  • "Now that you're naked, just cross your feet like … like so, and now … I strum your ankles. Isn't that nice?"
  • I love how Blondewig Amplebosom's like "Well is this a sin appointment or isn't it? Jeez, what's a girl gotta do to get some sin? I made an appointment and everything, and still no sin. Put my ankles down!"
  • I love orange, but no. This room color is a no.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Terrible tagline—stupid within
  • "Editor's note" LOL. It's in typewriter font, so you know it's real.
  • Winnie and April will be plenty, thanks.

Page 123~

"Some of the clients are particularly fond of the vibrating mechanism in it."
Her hand closed his mouth.


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Friday, March 6, 2015

Paperback 864: A Man Called Spade / Dashiell Hammett (Dell 411)

Paperback 864: Dell 411 (2nd ptg, 1st thus, 1950)

Title: A Man Called Spade
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: Robert Stanley

Estimated value: $30

Best things about this cover:

  • Spade's tie is super-excited for battle.
  • If you looked in a 1950 encyclopedia under "Private Dick": this picture. Chiseled. Determined. Behatted. Textbook.
  • Fear Hand Photobomb!
  • The scale / perspective is All wrong on this, but given that awesome green shirt, I'm gonna allow it.
  • "She screamed as Spade dashed up the stairs"—get it? "Dashed"? Yeah, you get it.
  • I have a friend whose kid is named Dashiell. Art Spiegelman's son is named Dashiell. This concludes the Dashiell-shout-out portion of my the program.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Mapback!
  • Whoa. You know, sometimes we forget that 1940s apartments were all long couches and putting greens.
  • Max Bliss is the best unintentional porn name I've come across in a Long time.
  • I love a pitcher of Bloody Marys as much as anyone, but maybe ease up on the celery there.
  • Wow, Max Bliss's daughter is taking that "50 Shades of Grey" thing a bit literally.

Page 123~ (from "Too Many Have Lived")

She was short, square, as if carved economically from a cube. 

Talk about economical. That is some haiku-esque objectification right there. Classic.


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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Paperback 863: Father and Son / James T. Farrell (Signet D1066)

Paperback 863: Signet D1066 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Father and Son
Author: James T. Farrell
Cover artist: James Avati

Estimated value: $8-10

Best things about this cover:

  • This is as dynamic as Avati gets. This is Avati tripping balls. This is Avati's dark twisted fantasy. This is porno-vati. I mean, that one guy's hand is adjacent to that woman's ass. Ass-adjacent! Call the censors.
  • Why would you name your kid "A. Stormy Adolescence?" That's just cruel.
  • "Hey, lady. Lady! I come bearing snakes … it's a metaphor."
  • All main people in Avati paintings are lit like religious figures. Beatific. Haloed in light.
  • I do (sort of!) like the way this pictures is posted and pillared into three parts, a triptych, with the salacious stuff happening on the ends, but our primaries still framed in a place of relative innocence in the center.

Best things about this back cover:

  • We get it. One's old, one's young. It's called Father and Son, for god's sake. Move along.
  • I really want this to be a 500pp. novel (!) about a guy who stops trying to understand his son and just takes him to a whorehouse.
  • Unflinching! This novel will not flinch. Tickle it. Pretend you're going to punch it. You'll see.

Page 123~

Father Michael took a cowbell off the window ledge and marched downstairs to ring it.

Sorry, this is all I can think of right now:


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Friday, February 27, 2015

Paperback 862: The Valiant Strain / Kenneth E. Shiflet (Dell First Edition B126)

Paperback 862: Dell First Edition B126 (PBO, 1959)

Title: The Valiant Strain
Author: Kenneth E. Shiflet
Cover artist: [Robert McGinnis]

Estimated value: $8-10

Best things about this cover:

  • Lieutenant Grumpystache misses his Xbox.
  • That neckerchief is beautiful. I also love the orange, the hint of mountains, the way the line of soldiers on horseback extends and fades to nothing. Fine little touches like these make this potentially generic cover visually interesting.
  • Turns out McGinnis can paint things other than bored-looking half-naked ladies with ample hips. I had to double-check my own labeling just now, because I thought "no way this is McGinnis."

Best things about this back cover:

  • "A story as big and rugged as these two giant dueling cocks … oh, sorry sabers. Those are sabers. All appearances to the contrary … sabers."
  • I can't wait to read about the "strain" that brought the giant dueling cocks men to their "final glory." I am in. Money down, out the door. You had me at "shavetail."

Page 123~

Roan thought of how Graham had denied them.

Don't deny them, Graham. Open your heart. Let your love flow. And nevermind that I'm taking things out of context, just go with it.


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Paperback 861: The Case of the Cautious Coquette / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4527)

Paperback 861: Pocket Books 4527 (8th ptg, 1963)

Title: The Case of the Cautious Coquette
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: [Robert McGinnis]

Yours for: $10-12


Best things about this cover:
  • Here's the thing about McGinnis women: dead eyes. They freak me out a level at the face level. At a certain other level (Not Pictured), I find them delightful. So, in short, this cover does little for me from a Great Girl Art perspective.
  • From a Holy Crap Pink perspective, it's quite arresting.
  • Also, from a hair perspective.
  • Also, with the exception of a small tear on the back cover, this book is in like-new condition. Shiny and crisp. The pink is a pure '50s variety rarely seen in the wilds of today.
  • Also, a "Girls With Guns" cover is a "Girls With Guns Cover"—I'll take it. Check out these other covers of the same title:

[Whoa!!! Winner]

And now today's back cover:


Best things about this back cover:

  • Tire tracks! That's a pretty damned good design element, especially as a way of introducing the idea of a "hit-and-run."
  • This is the last time in U.S. history that "$100.00!!" was presented as a compelling figure.
  • Della goes next-level with her wordplay banter (from metaphorical "angles" to literal "curves"). And then the cover copy brings the imagery full circle back to the tire tracks. Well done, everyone.

Page 123~

"Della, run out and scout the corridor. Let me know if it's clear."

In case you were wondering who the badass was in this little relationship.


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