Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Paperback 952: The American Gun Mystery / Ellery Queen (Avon 523)

Paperback 952: Avon 523 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The American Gun Mystery
Author: Ellery Queen
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • So much emotion and drama in this one little tableau. It's really quite beautiful, even though I have no idea why a gorgeous blonde in an evening gown and opera gloves would be at the rodeo.
  • It's lit like a religious painting. Caravaggio or Rubens or someone. She's bathed in light, praying, pleading ... I mean, this is probably some generic shlock, but the cover makes it look complex and compelling.
  • Also ... sweet chaps.

Best things about this back cover:
  • This is far less compelling. What is the shape of those blocks supposed to represent? I see the belt and gun and lock, but the puzzle(ish) pieces ... aren't convincing. As puzzle pieces. I'm no jigsaw aficionado, but that top piece, for instance, seems impossible.
  • I don't like being invited to "solve" the puzzle, and I've never ever read a mystery with the idea that I was supposed to solve it. I realize that makes me slightly weird, as "mystery" fans / collectors go.
  • "Deadly Puzzle" is still bothering me. Who associates rodeo with jigsaw puzzles? What's more, in what universe is a jigsaw puzzle scary? Ooooh, deadly puzzle! I'm shaking.

Page 123~

He gulped down two raw eggs, a steaming pannikin of coffee, an excited regurgitation of the preceding evening's events issuing from Djuna's chattering mouth, and then dashed downtown to Times Square.

PANNIKIN SKYWALKER is my new user name.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]


Tulse said...

Wait, did he gulp down the excited regurgitation as well?


capewood said...

There is a lot happening in that sentence

Jean said...


My first thought also: evening gown and rodeo? What? Although apparently this rodeo is in...New York City? Maybe that explains it.

Zichao said...

Raw eggs? Wtf. Was that something people did back then?

Rex Parker said...

Yes. I feel like it was a health thing. See ... I don't know, "Rocky"?