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?
- "... 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."
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.