Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Paperback 192: Strip for Murder / Richard S. Prather (Gold Medal 508)

Paperback 192: Gold Medal 508 (PBO, 1955)
Title: Strip for Murder
Author: Richard S. Prather
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:

  • The picture does Not deliver on the promise of the tagline. No invasion. No nudity. Come on!
  • What are these people doing? He looks dead, or asleep. He's under a blanket but he's still got his stupid trench coat on, and she appears to be wearing a tablecloth. Is she trying to get him to shut up? Is he licking ... something ... off her fingers? Would reading the book help me understand?
  • Seriously, they couldn't be more unnude if they tried. Rip-off.
  • Love the semi-arbitrary sales figure: 3, 937, 652. Pocket Books went through a phase where it printed the alleged sales figures on every book.
  • I had no idea Prather sold that well. He's not well known anymore except among die-hard fans of vintage crime fiction, to whom he is a minor legend. His stories are known for wackiness and comedy, and I have to say, the parts I've read are pretty damned funny, though much of the humor seems to derive from the apparently inherently funny premise of group nudity. I went looking to see what other Prather I had, and the first one I picked up was "Gat Heat," which opens with Shell Scott "invading" a pool party ... where everyone is naked. At least the lady on the cover of that one is wearing a bikini - that's at least close to naked. I can't forgive our cover's lack of skin. It's shameful, really.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Why is she holding the door handle as if it were a writing implement?
  • "Migawd!"
  • "... an eye as private as a telescope ..." - is that very private or not-at-all private?
  • "Tomato" is one of my favorite bits of bygone slang. Up there with "gams."

Page 123~

Man, these characters had a lot of energy - swimming, croquet, tag - but at least it all looked normal


Yeah, you hate to see abnormal croquet. That'll turn your hair white.

~RP

5 comments:

Jerry House said...

Who the hell is the blond guy on the cover?

utter-scoundrel said...

A later printing of this novel finally delivered on the nudity:

http://flickr.com/photos/16007871@N00/2555472403

Erik said...

It looks like they're sharing an invisible cigarette.

LilyScornsYou said...

She went "twitching up the path." I think there's medication to cure that now. Twitching doesn't sound all that sexy. I like the word "gams" too but it always sounds like a vegetable to me like "yams."

JRSM said...

Sadly, a click on the tag 'nudism' brings up no other books on your blog. This must be corrected!