Sunday, November 8, 2009

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Books 8-11

A Mess of March ... I'm moving all the NGAIO MARSH titles to the front of the queue (literally, Roger Daltrey sang the word "queue" as I typed it just now ... freaky coincidence) because one of my readers seems to have a thing for her :)

Book 8: Singing in the Shrouds (Berkley, 1960)
Cover artist: photo?


  • A book that takes on the collapsing telecommunications system, apparently
  • Her miniskirt has its own miniarm.

  • Finally, someone has tamed the wild, native, animalistic mystery novel and made it "civilized literature." Where's my houseboy with the tea!?

Book 9: Death of a Peer (Pocket 475, 1947)
Cover artist: Aargh, uncredited


  • This lady's got Fear Hand (TM). In fact, she appears to have a double case of it.
  • Ouch. Skeleton key to the eye. That's gotta hurt.

  • Well if it's WEALTHY, of course we care...

Book 10: Death of a Fool (Avon T-254, late '50s)
Cover artist: Uncredited


  • Fear Hand! (TM)
  • Jenny recoils in horror as she sees that her gardener has failed to blow all the leaves off her front lawn. And squirrels on her bird-feeders!? Oh, the humanity.

  • Inspector Alleyn arrives to cut through the heathen nonsense of the simple souls. Civilization! God save the Queen, wot!

Book 11: Swing, Brother, Swing (Pocket 762, 1951)
Cover artist: Lew Keller


  • "Swing, Brother, Swing ... for Hepcats only, man!"
  • Secret ingredient to all good mystery cover copy — just add "... with DEATH!"

  • I'm sorry, I started laughing at "accordion" and haven't stopped yet

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

13 comments:

Ms Avery said...

What I wouldn't do for a pair of ironic hands.

Alix said...

Not a bullet, but a needle? Would that even work?

Surely all of Marsh's work deserved better back-cover copy. Gawd, that's some bad stuff.

I maintain that the Fear Hands TM in "Death of a Peer" must belong to two different women. The left hand is perfectly perpendicular to her face, so she must be holding her elbow up in the air. Yeah, that's natural. Nice face, though.

Jen Alien-Spouse said...

My MA thesis (when I get around to it) is going to be on the Queens of Crime. So making sure my reference materials have good cover art is essential, obviously.

With that in mind I definitely need "Death of a Peer", and that isn't a skeleton key in his eye, it's a meat skewer shoved all of the way into his head. Nasty way to go, particularly jarring when the rest of the novel is really light-hearted.

You don't happen to have "Death at the Bar" or "Final Curtain" in your haul, do you? Those are the two I'm actually embarrassed to be seen reading because of the horrible artwork on my copies.

Jen Alien-Spouse said...

By the way the cover blurb on "Singing in the Shrouds" really ought to say something about the blatantly homophobic plot twist. It's really unpleasant.

Rex Parker said...

OK, Jen, I've got you down for "Death of a Peer" and "Death in a White Tie" — That's all the Marsh I've got in my Entire collection. Can't believe, with 2500 or so bks, I didn't own a Marsh until this past book sale.

rp

Lyndee said...

On the back of Singing in the Shrouds, I actually laughed at "-that suave and observant gentleman..." As if being suave and being observant are two traits that commonly go together.

Being a swing dancer (something you may not have known about me), I got excited when I saw the word "swing" on a cover. However, I recoiled in disgust at the needle dripping blood. I have a large fear of needles, and get grossed out by blood, especially if it is dripping and/or spurting (*shudder*). So, that cover gave me an interesting mix of excitement and horror.

Xerxes Iguana said...

I DEMAND a T-shirt with "Rivera's fingers slid grotesquely down the keys of his accordion" on it! (and "The saxophones wailed a dirge in swingtime..." on the back)

Is "Singing in the Shrouds" really 1960? I would have guessed much later. Funky design.

justjack said...

Jen Alien-Spouse, of course it's a skeleton key! Because they fit in any eye. C'mon!

Heh. Looks like you've been behind the accordion.

...with DEATH!

Tulse said...

Wasn't "Singin' in the Shrouds" the follow-up to a Gene Kelly musical?

Michael5000 said...

How does one pronounce "Ngaio," anyway? Or does one just mumble?

justjack said...

Start out saying "Ungawa," like Tarzan, and finish by saying "Hi-yo," like Ed McMahon.

Rex Parker said...

Wife (Kiwi) just says "NIGH-o" ... the "G" is silent ... like the "G" in "NIGH" ... oh.

justjack said...

Rex, I could've sworn that Diana Rigg pronounced the "ng" when she introduced a Roderick Alleyn episode on Mystery. But I'm not going to argue with an actual Kiwi (I hope that's not pejorative if somebody else says it).