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.



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:

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!