Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Paperback 901: The Queen's Awards / Ed. Ellery Queen (Perma Books M-3015)

Paperback 901: Perma Books M-3015 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Queen's Awards
Editor: Ellery Queen
Cover artist: William George

Estimated value: $10-14

PermaM3015
Best things about this cover:
  • Hunting Che Fear Hand Strangulation Revolutionary Ponytail! I love this story!
  • Those frames are a bit ... ornate. That said, I'd kill for a real-life version of Strangulation in Red, frame and all.
  • Ellery Queen was a pseudonym for these guys. Also the name of the main character in their novels.

PermaM3015bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • I give the opening alliterative salvo a C-.
  • "Anyway you like your murders..." is a phrase that bespeaks a certain Coliseum-esque savagery in the typical mystery story audience.
  • Eleazar Lipsky wrote the story that was the basis of the film noir classic "Kiss of Death" (1947).

Page 123~ [From "The Stroke of Thirteen" by Lillian de la Torre ("as told by James Boswell, August 1780") (!?!?!)]
"The ingenious Captain Donellan," replied Dr. Johnson, "is a disciple of Linnaeus. He grows the oriental poppy. With that cord-handled claw by his tent he sacrifices the capsule of the poppy, as I have been told they do it in the East Indies where he served. He collects the gum that forms. To put a name to it, it is opium. I smelled opium in the affair when I was informed that Allan MacDonald had been hearing 'sounds colored crimson,' as drugged men may do."
18th-century drug-induced synesthesia! Who saw that coming?

~RP

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Paperback 900: Outlaw Guns / E.E. Halleran (Avon 522)

Paperback 900!!!!!!!!!!: Avon 522 (2nd ptg / 1st thus, 1953)

Title: Outlaw Guns
Author: E.E. Halleran
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-14

Avon522
Best things about this cover:
  • I call this one "Rampant Horses On Yellow Background For Some Reason"
  • Beardy's all "Oh, 'Outlaw Guns' ... I get it now! Yuck yuck yuck .... boobs."
  • She has insane murdery dead-eyed vacant 1000-yard stare.
  • Bitch eyebrows? Bitch eyebrows.
  • This cover is terribly ill-conceived. *She* seems ready to go, right out of the box, but everything else (except the wicked awesome wood font and Beardy's mug!) is a total mess.

Avon522bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • He looks less like a bandit and more like a guy protecting himself from a smell.
  • Still, that sketch is pretty cool. Love the cute yellow inset.
  • Well, of course, if you're gonna have "Outlaw Guns," you gotta have Outlaw Bullets. Otherwise you're just running around waving your guns going "pew! pew!"
  • "Pronto!"

Page 123~

"Don't jam the chute," Frazer warned him.

Good advice.

~RP

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Paperback 899: Messer Marco Polo: a love story / Donn Byrne (Penguin 611)

Paperback 899: Penguin 611 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: Messer Marco Polo
Author: Donn Byrne
Cover artist: jonas

Estimated value: $9-12

Peng611
Best things about this cover:
  • Honestly I have no idea what's happening here, on any level.
  • The palette, the art, the word "Messer" (!?), it's all so ... uncharacteristic of my smutty collection.
  • It looks like he's holding an asp in the crook of his left arm.
  • This book represents that stage in Penguin's American publishing when it's about to morph into Penguin-Signet and then, finally, Signet.

Peng611bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • "Punched cows." That's pretty hardboiled.
  • If you google, in quotation marks, ["gang of howling literary brigands"], this book, and only this book, shows up. Joyce Kilmer wrote "Trees." Don Marquis is (by total coincidence) my newest literary crush—he wrote light verse in the voice of a cockroach named Archy (who used no capitals or punctuation because cockroaches can't possibly use the Shift key). His books of Archy verse were often illustrated by the legendary George Herriman (of "Krazy Kat" fame).
  • Wait, "Messer Marco Polo brought him fame and fortune"? Can that be right?!
  • Car crash. Dang.

Page 23~ (book's only 116 pages long!)

And suddenly there's a headsman in a red cloak and a red mask, and the axe swings and falls. The head pops off and the body falls limp.

Somehow the word "pops" sucks all the seriousness out of the situation.

~RP

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Paperback 898: Seminole / Theodore Pratt (Gold Medal 635)

Paperback 898: Gold Medal 635 (2nd ptg, 1957)

Title: Seminole
Author: Theodore Pratt
Cover artist: Jack Floherty [signature]

Estimated value: $7-10

GM635
Best things about this cover:
  • Full frontal is cool if a. the woman is "native" or otherwise of color and b. you airbrush the nipple into virtual nothingness.
  • Nothing says "sexy" like a slave auction! Seriously, this cover is infinitely gross.
  • Mr. Top Hat Akimbo in the background knows it's gross. He and his bow tie are having none of it.
  • If you're wondering whom the auctioneer is pointing at, just wait ...

GM635bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • Wraparound!
  • Sky looks even more insane back here. It's like Captain Cogitation there is summoning storm clouds with his mind. And his pointing pal is saying "Oooh, that one looks like a bunny."
  • This painting is much, much better with the native slave auction cropped out of it.
  • Just watched "Key Largo" and I'm pretty sure those two Native Americans that killed are called "The Osceola  Brothers." This Osceola was a leader of the Seminole resistance during the Second Seminole War.
  • At least this novel seems to know what the white man is a "marauder."

Page 123~

Indians lay in water with lily pads over their faces to hide from the white soldiers. Seminole children were buried in pits to their heads, which were covered over with palmetto to conceal them.

~RP

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Paperback 897: Love Is the Winner / Natalie Shipman (Bantam 451)

Paperback 897: Bantam 451 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Love Is the Winner
Author: Natalie Shipman
Cover artist: Nelson Davis

Estimated value: ~$15

Bant451
Best things about this cover:
  • And Joan is the loser.
  • You can tell by Joan's face that she is *not* going to lose her man to some cut-rate Lauren Bacall. "First, watercress sandwiches. Then ... revenge!"
  • That knob at fake-Bacall's crotch level is, to put it mildly, distracting.
  • I'd say the paperback title is an upgrade. "Who Wins His Love" = the "Who's on First" of book titles.

Bant451bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • I am serious when I say I want the top third of this cover on a t-shirt. WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO indeed.
  • "Or shall she turn to another man..." Wait, were there really no other options in there?
  • Are the demanding lips forming words that are demanding, or are they just ... really muscular and squirmy on your face?

Page 123~

"Are you having lunch with Jim?" Mrs. Converse had asked before she left.
"I'm going to telephone him," Kathy said. "He may be tied up."

I have to imagine him literally tied up, because otherwise this ends up being the single most boring Page 123 I've ever read.

~RP

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Paperback 896: Ecstasy Girl / Jack Woodford (Novel Library 2)

Paperback 896: Novel Library 2 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Ecstasy Girl
Author: Jack Woodford
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: ~$25

NL2
Best things about this cover:
  • My armpits bring all the boys to the yard!
  • Is that a cut-out or some kind of avant-garde necktie?
  • "I'm hung down to here, baby." "Oh, Brad..."
  • His hands are alarmingly tiny.

NL2bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • I have decided that Handsome Gail Tanner's first name is Handsome so please don't tell me different.
  • "Dropped an anatomic bomb!" That sounds both fun and grotesque.
  • Ladies: if your earl does not provoke swoons, keep walking.

Page 123~

"Now, please, Miss Carter, please, don't excite yourself further." The station manager backed hastily away.

It's hard to back away hastily. You so often smash into things. Miss Carter's autoerotic adventures must have been truly startling.

~RP

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Paperback 895: Flame / Joan Ellis (Midwood 61)

Paperback 895: Midwood 61 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Flame
Author: Joan Ellis
Cover artist: [Paul Rader]

Estimated value: $17-20

Mid61
Best things about this cover:
  • I don't know what you're about to do with the cigarette, lady, but please stop.
  • She looks like if Lauren Bacall and Satan had a baby.
  • I am on fire with burning ambition and a smouldering need for CHAIR.
  • Font!
  • Heels!
  • Scare quotes!
  • This book is, like, the reddest thing I own.
  • I don't know if this is a Paul Rader cover, but it feels that way, so ... partial credit!

Mid61bc
Best things about this back cover:
  • HA ha, more scare quotes for all things "school"-related. We get it. It's a racket.
  • They're pushing this "FLAME" motif a little hard.
  • No cooked facts! Only raw! This is "Talent School," ladies!
  • If not a band, Hardened Harlots is at least a roller derby team name.

Page 123~

"Let 'em get all hot and bothered. Do 'em good," he insisted, sliding her robe into a heap on the floor, and then the bikini pajamas she wore underneath.

Google image search of "bikini pajamas" yields mostly ... well, neither bikinis nor pajamas. Is "bikini pajamas" what hep cats used to call "underwear"?

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]