Title: The Party Was the Pay-Off
Author: Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
Cover artist: Stefan Salter
Yours for: $30
Best things about this cover:
- Aside from the fact that someone once used this book as a coaster (ugh), the book is lovely, square, bright. I think of Salter as more of a high-end illustrator than a dynamic cover artist, but I like his work nonetheless. Subtle, graceful, impressive.
- Can't decide if I like "Too Many Bottles" or "The Party Was the Pay-Off" better as a title. Thankfully, I own both versions, so I'm good. Not sure why they changed the title to get away from bottles and then made the cover concept all about bottles ... but they did, so there.
- Holding does suspenseful domestic drama better than anyone I know.
Best things about this back cover:
- This book is interesting if only for the fact that the protagonist, James Brophy, is a writer, and Holding has unique insight on the profession, as someone who had to deal with the implications of the pulps (working-class, male-oriented, low-paying) /slicks (middle-class, female-oriented, much better-paying) divide:
"But I'm no celebrity," he had explained. "So far , I've worked mostly for the pulps. I'm just beginning to break into the slicks."
She had wanted to know what the pulps were, and what the slicks; she had wanted to know what he was working on then; she had listened with an interest he had never before encountered.
"I think artists ought to be taken care of," she had said.
Brophy believed that he was a pretty good writer, and that someday he would be a very much better one, but he was not inclined to think of himself as an artist.
- Lulu's very name tells you everything you need to know about her. Pretty, bouncy, status-conscious, not the brightest — all in all, a poor match for Brophy. And quickly dead.
She spoke in a tone that was almost preposterously lofty. But that's the way she feels, poor devil, thought Brophy. Anything she does is right. Has to be, because she can always bring out such a noble motive.
"So don't worry, Jimmy," she said, with a pleasant social smile, and turned away to mount the stairs, followed by the matron.
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