Friday, October 26, 2012

Paperback 575: Murderers' Row / Donald Hamilton (Gold Medal k1391)

Paperback 575: Gold Medal k1391 (2nd ptg, 1964)

Title: Murderers' Row
Author: Donald Hamilton
Cover artist: McD... (not sure, Emmett McDowell? John McDermott?)

Yours for: $15
Best things about this cover:
  • This is pretty emblematic of what generally happens to paperback covers over the course of the '60s—the truly great cover art cedes ground to branding devices (detective name, detective icon, author's name). Here, the poor lady is literally being squeezed out of frame by the floating orange crate stamp of a title. How is a girl supposed to enjoy her braless marsh-wading under such conditions!?
  • Is she washing the dog poop off her other shoe?
  • I like her purse. It's sparkly.
  • This book is in perfect condition. Totally unread.

Best things about this back cover:
  • I love the idea of U.S. intelligence being stored on 3x5 cards like it's some 5th-grader's book report.
  • Donald Hamilton is ... my 11th-grade chemistry teacher!
  • "Code Name: Eric" = least sexy movie title ever.

Page 123~

"Straight ahead. Not in there, that's the head—bathroom to you."

Business idea—start prefab shipboard bathroom business. Call it "Bathroom 2 U."


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Tulse said...

How exactly does one "crush" a kidney with a crowbar? "Smash" I can see, or "pummel", or even "whack", but "crush" just sounds wrong, somehow.

Anonymous said...

I don't like headlines touting "torture, brutality" as a come-on, but at least could we separate them from "beautiful women" with elipses? I mean we're puritanical enough to separate "slam-bang action" from beautifuly women, can't we at least separate "torture and brutiality" from "beautiful women"?

P.M. said...

So true about the denigration of covers through the 60s. Not only is the picture cramped below the stupid branding and huge title - the picture doesn't jive with "Murderers' Row" at all. Not that it would have been bad if they filled the whole cover with the lady.

Anonymous said...

Ronald McDonald. Yup, I definitely see his hands in the brush-strokes and color choice. Or does he have mitts?

McClaverty said...

Late to the party, but...

The cover artist is indeed John McDermott, who was responsible for many of the early covers in the Matt Helm series.

McDermott actually did two covers for Murderer's Row. The first, Gold Medal s1246, is similar but darker in tone, with an ominous male figure in the right foreground. This is straight from the scene in which Helm, posing as minor mobster Jimmy 'the Lash' Petroni, has thrown unconscious Robin Rosten into waist-deep water in order to soften her up for questioning.