Title: I.O.U. Murder
Author: William Francis
Cover artist: uncredited
Estimated value: $6-10
- This is pretty brutal. Normally, these dead-ladies-reclining-over-beds-or-couches covers are pretty sexed-up affairs, and there's definitely a sexual element here, but the violence of the scene, particularly her chillingly open eyes, really undercuts the eroticism. Which is probably as it should be.
- That window is oddly free of ... well, everything.
- That circle in the middle—the one that makes her look like she died doing some kind of odd trick with a hula hoop—is not original to the cover. Someone set something circular and tacky on the book, and then yoink: circle. Puts me in mind of a peeping tom's telescope lens. A happy accident.
- I'd've fought hard for keeping "Rough on Rats"
- A hard-boiled tagline if I've ever seen one.
- Also, nothing says "hard-boiled" like "third-rate Los Angeles bar."
- That last line spirals off into incoherent purple territory. Otherwise, fine, standard-issue crime fiction cover copy.
I waited in the car for Barney. He joined me in a few minutes and we drove back to the office and hauled the case up to my rooms. I paid Barney, and watched the elevator drop out of sight before I went in and locked the doors and opened the suitcase. It was full of round, flat cans, each of which held a spool of film.
The best part of this is that after the first sentence, my mind imagined the entire scene as part of an episode of "The Flintstones."
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