Friday, October 2, 2009

Paperback 295: The Three Coffins / John Dickson Carr (Popular Library 174)

Paperback 295: Popular Library 174 (1st ptg, 1949)
Title: The Three Coffins
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Rudolph Belarski

Yours for: $20


Best things about this cover:

  • "Lady in Peril" week continues with another Lady in Peril — and another Rudolph Belarski cover with serious hand action! Can't decide which hand is better, the blood-soaked one or the ... what the hell is that other hand doing? Signing? Is it clutching something? If she were that horrified, would she really have gotten down on her knees and plunged her hand into the red stuff oozing from under the door? I doubt it.
  • This makes me not want to see "Behind the Green Door"
  • What is with the NYT syntax? Subject at the end ... no verb ...
  • CARR is a common crossword answer. If you solve crosswords, it is good to know who created Dr. Gideon Fell.
  • Belarski clearly prefers distressed women in solid, bold colors, and with ultra-expressive, super-plastic hands.

Best things about this back cover:
  • More text-only dreck.
  • Oooh, a locked room mystery. That should be zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • This back cover sounds like a "Twilight Zone" plot ad-libbed by someone very drunk or very high. (Happy 50th birthday to "The Twilight Zone," by the way — I live in Rod Serling's home town, so there are "Twilight Zone" city buses driving around town and everything)

Page 123~

"Well, sir, there's blood, for one thing," replied Somers. "And also a very queer sort of rope ..."


~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

14 comments:

DemetriosX said...

I'm rather bothered by the position and angle of her right leg. It really doesn't look natural, certainly not a position one would get into to check out something on the ground. It's also wrong if she is recoiling upwards in fear and disgust.

Alix said...

I didn't know you could buy a dress with a box of matching hair color.

Lisa in Oz said...

For me, between her outstretched arm, open mouth and exaggerated kneeling, she actually looks like she's singing a particularly dramatic number in a musical. 'Sweeney Todd: The Apartment Hallway Years'

tree_and_leaf said...

I've actually read this one, albeit in a German translation! It's typical Carr - thin characterisation and somewhat implausible, but a good puzzle story (the sort you enjoy reading once and never go back to).

Elaine said...

Oh, you know, whenever I see a lot of red, wet oozy stuff coming from under a door, the urge to stick my hand into the slurry is MUCH stronger than the instinct to OPEN the damned door and see what the heck is going on!!

Or, wait! No, I think she is casting a spell! That explains the claw-hand and EVERYthing! (Except the matching hair/dress color. Alix is right about that.)

Deb said...

Olivia de Havilland with a bad peroxide job is checking the pulse in her neck with one hand and dabbling in the oozing Caro syrup with the other. When, oh when, will she learn to (1) go to a different beautician and (2) not put the syrup on the top shelf of the pantry?

justjack said...

Nah, I think her right hand is like that because she's just about to do one of those melodramatic knuckle bites.

justjack said...

"Okay, so I have to remember to keep the middle finger curved in if I want the pitch to rise, or else -- what the? Dangit, Gaylord, stop storing your KY in my locker!"

Eunice said...

You know what the front and back cover need more of? Yellow.

Sorry, but, going by the face, I'm calling "man" on the dame. Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot comes to mind.

I like how the blood is running off her hand in a flow. What did she do, play in it? "Looks like blood. Smells like blood..."

So, like, a guy who just so happened to rise from his grave just so happened upon a conversation about people rising from their graves? That's some crazy coincidence!

JamiSings said...

Well, at least her shoes go with her dress, unlike this dead chick. But then again, basic black goes with everything.

Frank said...

They prefer "LGBTIQ rope" nowadays, Somers.

Anonymous said...

Wait, you live in Binghamton?

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cwogle said...

That's the problem with this country today. In my day, we made do with straight rope. Just plain manilla. We didn't need those flashy threads, boring yarns, drug-dealing hemps, slippery fishing lines, or disgusting laces. No, sir, our cordage was God-fearing. And we liked it.