Showing posts with label Erle Stanley Gardner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erle Stanley Gardner. Show all posts

Friday, December 6, 2013

Paperback 725: The Case of the Lazy Lover / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 909)

Paperback 725: Pocket Books 909 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: TCOT the Lazy Lover
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Clyde Ross

Yours for: $7

PB909

Best things about this cover:
  • That dude has my ultimate respect. That is some top-notch lazy. Superfly PJs. Highball. Slippers. Smart green couch. He knows what he's doing.
  • That look in her eye is not lust. It's not annoyance. It's jealousy. Jealousy of his Red Hot Lazy.
  • I can't stop looking at her boobs, and yet I don't find them very interesting. What the hell?

PB909bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • That "Gossip … / and Murder!" heading would look great on a t-shirt.
  • Hmmm. I'm not sure we have the same definition of "crazy punchline."
  • What does it mean to be "lazy about making love"? I'm quite sure the images in my head do not match whatever happens in this book.

Page 123~

Mason took the pass Lieutenant Tragg scribbled, and went over to the detention ward. After a ten minute wait, he was taken in to see Mrs. Allred, who had quite evidently been aroused from a sound sleep and had had no opportunity to put on her make-up.

Wow. That must've been really hard on Mason.

~RP

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paperback 715: TCOT Perjured Parrot / Erle Stanley Gardner (Cardinal C-379)

Paperback 715: Cardinal C-379 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: The Case of the Perjured Parrot
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Ric Grasso

Yours for: $8

Card379

Best things about this back cover:
  • Woman distraught over loss of parrot attempts suicide by costume jewelry, gets tired, quits.
  • "Maybe if I just lean here sultrily, my parrot will just fly back in the window."
  • I unironically love her dress.

Card379bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wait, I can't see Perry, WHERE'S PERRY!? Oh, there he is. Phew. Thanks, Giant Red Arrow.
  • Not often you see the phrase "collection of guns at the public library." At least not where I'm from.
  • Remember when people watched scripted television on Saturdays!? Good times.

Page 123~

"You're putting me in a very difficult position, Mason," Bolding said irritably.
Mason's voice showed surprise. "I am? Why, I thought you'd put yourself in it."

Perry Mason, Smug Dickhead-at-Law

~RP

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P.S. This is one of 97 paperbacks I bought yesterday at the University Book Sale. "Bingeing" doesn't really get at it.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Paperback 647: Bats Fly at Dusk / A. A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner) (Dell 0476)

Paperback 647: Dell 0476 (1st New Dell ed., 1963)

Title: Bats Fly at Dusk
Author: A.A. Fair (aka Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Ron Lesser

Yours for: $7

Dell0476

Best things about this cover:
  • Just woke up, or the latest style? Who can say?
  • Bats Fly at Dusk ... Ladies Strip at Dawn.
  • This cover has neither enough skin nor enough context to be interesting. 
  • I know this will sound heretical, but I think the dress would be sexier *on* her.
  • This book is close to immaculate. I just found a box full of (primarily) Gardner/Fair stuff. A reader graciously shipped it to me a while back, and I looked at its treasure, then set it aside, and forgot about it. So it's vintage paperback Christmas all over again.

Dell0476bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • Is she standing in front of the silhouette of  ... a badge? A vase? A strawberry?
  • I like how he's not sure about the age, but he's got the pounds down to a very precise number.
  • Every time I pick up a Cool/Lam book, I say to myself, "Man, I really gotta read some of these again." And then other books intervene.

Page 123~

"I told Miss Jackson that if she wanted to stay on in the place alone the raise in rent wouldn't be effective. Miss Jackson really seems like a nice sort, exactly the type I like for tenants."

I'm a little worried for Miss Jackson.

~RP

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paperback 611: TCOT Perjured Parrot / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 378)

Paperback 611: Pocket Books 378 (3rd ptg, 1947)

Title: The Case of the Perjured Parrot
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $18

PB378

Best things about this cover:
  • Perjured Parrot is not lying when he says he will straight-up maul your face.
  • I will be seeing those eyes and that "hand" in my nightmares tonight, and every night.
  • This book is in near-perfect condition.

PB378bc

Best things about this back cover:
  • The oldest pun in the book.
  • "Exceedingly profane parrot" = best premise for a mystery I've ever heard. "I will #$%@ up your face and then #$%@ your wife, you #$@%ing #$@%-ass #$@%!"
  • "Like a mule-skinner" is a simile that has lost a bit of its cultural resonance. By "a bit" I mean "all."


Page 123~

Bolding pushed back his swivel chair, crossed over to a steel filing case, unlocked the catch and angrily jerked the steel drawer open. "Oh, all right," he said, "if you're going to act that way about it."

He then made a pouty face, stomped off, and locked himself in his room with a copy of "Tiger Beat."

~RP

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paperback 541: The Case of the Careless Kitten / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 724)

Paperback 541: Pocket Books 724 (1st ptg, 1950)

Title: The Case of the Careless Kitten
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: "Front cover photograph by Paulus Lesser"

Yours for: SOLD! (6/20/12)

PB724.TCOTKitten
Best things about this cover:
  • "Hey, what's up? My name's Gary. I'm here to read for the role of 'Careless Kitten.' So ... do I stand here, or ... what? Oh, too close? Sorry."
  • Perry Mason solves 'The Case of the World's Least Meme-able Cat'
  • Seriously, this cover makes me laugh more than most covers I own. What the hell is happening? I love this cat. He's like the vintage paperback Anti-Cover. "No semi-naked ladies to see here, fella. MOVE along ..."
  • This was one of maybe 30 *more* ESG / AA Fair books I got from a generous reader. That makes 60-70 total. I'm gonna start reading the Perry Mason stuff in order ... if I like it, I'll keep going (at his worst, Gardner is competent, so I think I'm going to like it).


PB724bc.TCOTKit
Best things about this back cover:

  • When Helen Kendal lost the second "L" in her last name, she knew just where to turn.
  • That's a human "corpse," I assume. Because one murdered kitten may be my limit.
  • When I want to add spice to my hot dish, I collect a scalp. Of course.

Page 123~

Della Street went on rapidly. "It's that way when someone near to you passes away. It's a shock. Your brother must have been smart, Mr. Lunk."

"Despite what his name suggests," she added.

~RP

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paperback 537: Fools Die on Friday / A. A. Fair (Dell 542)

Paperback 537: Dell 542 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Fools Die on Friday
Author: A.A. Fair (aka Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Robert Stanley

Yours for: not for sale (donation to the collection), but FYI, it's prolly worth about $30

Dell542.FoolsFri_0001
Best things about this cover:
  • Reader K. Harvey was helping clean out the house of a friend's aunt and she came across a treasure trove of old paperbacks. She offered to send them to me. I accepted. So a couple days ago I got a box crammed full of Fair/Gardner books (as well as some Leslie Charteris / "Saint" stuff), all of which are in good-to-great condition. There must be 35-40 books in all. A generous donation, from which we will all benefit—I'll try to post all the covers here, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time (to highlight certain stylistic trends) over the course of the summer, while still moving steadily through my collection (don't want to overdose on Gardner). 
  • I lead with this cover because it is legendary. Future editions of this book will button her shirt and hide her panties, making her look far more elegant, far less slatternly. I.e. yawn. Behold:
  • "... just enough to cover yourself ..." Well, I guess she's ready then.
  • I love old half-face there on the left. In particular, his tie. And his eyes. He's doing that "I can magically see behind me" thing that people on paperback covers and in soap operas sometimes do. He looks like every man Robert Stanley ever drew, i.e. like Mike Shayne.
  • If it weren't for the boobs, I'd have to say "cross-dresser."


Dell542bc.FoolsFri

Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • "Real clues" — none of the fake stuff for us, thanks.
  • BALLWIN looks allllll kinds of wrong.
  • Love the building cutaway—like a giant just tore the top half of the apartment off.

Page 123~

She pushed back her stenographic chair, walked over to a shelf, whipped out a map, and placed it on the counter.

I am slightly in love with the phrase "stenographic chair," which I did not realize until just now was a thing.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paperback 505: One Minute Past Eight / George Harmon Coxe (Dell D346)

Paperback 505: Dell D346 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: One Minute Past Eight
Author: George Harmon Coxe
Cover artist: Robert Maguire (mysteriously attributed to Freeman Eliot)

Yours for: $7


DellD346.1MinPast8

Best things about this cover:
  • "No. Not yet. I will show you my boobs at one minute past eight ... and not a minute sooner."
  • This title was the result of arduous negotiations between the "8:01" people and the "Fifty-Nine Minutes Before Nine" people.
  • How in the world does this cover painting get misattributed to "Freeman Eliot" (see back cover attribution)? Aside from the fact that that is manifestly a Maguire girl, there's the little matter of the partially visible and absolutely distinctive *signature* in the bottom right corner. Maybe "Freeman Eliot" is like the "Alan Smithee" of paperback cover art credits—when you want to take your name off a dog, you have them attribute your work to a catchall fake name.


DellD346bc.1MinPast8

Best things about this back cover:
  • In case you forgot the title, the clock is here to remind you.
  • This is one of the least grabby back cover synopses I've seen.
  • What is this "cold conviction?" Surely not the mere (cliché) fact that "He was in a strange land, among strange people, and up to his neck in murder." PS "Strange people?" They're Venezuelans, not Martians.

Page 123~

Dusk had begun to finger the sidewalks now and here and there a light winked on in some store window.

Unless Dusk is identifying the guilty sidewalks in a sidewalk line-up, I'd *really* consider changing that verb.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paperback 504: TCOT Screaming Woman / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4523)

Paperback 504: Pocket Books 4523 (1st ptg, 1963)

Title: The Case of the Screaming Woman
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $7


PB4523.Scream

Best things about this cover:
  • From bottom to top: "Nice ... great ... lovely ... WHAT'S THAT ON HER HEAD?! GET IT OFF GET IT OFF! KILL IT!"
  • Looks like somebody ran over a sloth several times, and then dipped it in mustard and arranged it neatly on her head.
  • McGinnis was one fine ass-drawer.
    I like how "Screaming" is kinda bouncing all over the place.
  • Perry Mason *solves* the case ... spoiler alert!


PB4523bc.Scream

Best things about this back cover:
  • Rooftop antenna! Hot.
  • Nice morphing of the arrow motif.
  • "You're wife is either a part of this conspiracy or she's a fucking idiot. Take your pick."—Perry Mason occasionally enjoyed being a total dick to his clients.

Page 123~

"We followed the wet footprints on the linoleum in Derby's house from the shower to the front window, from the window to where he had gone to grab the towel, and down the stairs. We could, in other words, follow the handy man's route, step for step."

Ah, the handy man in the shower. Looks like Perry's got himself mixed up in the plot of some low-grade porn.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Paperback 503: TCOT Sunbather's Diary / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4514)

Paperback 503: Pocket Books 4514 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Yours for: $10


PB4514.SunBath

Best things about this cover:
  • Among my favorite McGinnis covers. I love that he's got the gorgeous woman in a discernible context—great sense of setting and mood. Love her "what the fuck do you want?" stare, and her glasses, and the texture and angles of the wooden walkway, and her hair, to say nothing of the sun-shaped title.
  • If you look at her ass (and why not?), it looks like this woman's bikini was originally somewhat larger, and pink, and then it was changed to skimpier, and black. Good choice. Love the little side-tie.
  • Never was too sure what was supposed to be conveyed by that arrow inside the author's initials. "Perry Mason goes down ... to the beach? gets down ... to business? takes the elevator down ... to the cafeteria?"



PB4514bc.SunBath

Best things about this back cover:
  • More arrows, pointing in random directions. "Perry Mason goes around ... the block to the deli?"
  • Down to the penny. Back when pennies mattered, dagnabbit!
  • OMG, is Perry Mason the killer!? I have to read this! (is what no one reading the back cover would say)

Page 123~

Paul put the receiver to his ear, said, "Yes. Hello," then listened for a moment, said, "The deuce!" then turned to Perry Mason.

"Okay, Perry," he said, "the fat's in the fire."

"What?"

Even mild-mannered Perry Mason found Paul's refusal to communicate in anything but old-time exclamations and idiomatic phrases exasperating.

~RP

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Friday, January 13, 2012

The P. Morrison Donations #11: TCOT Demure Defendant / Erle Stanley Gardner (Cardinal C-323)

The P. Morrison Donations #11

Cardinal C-323 (2nd ptg, 1959)

Title: The Case of the Demure Defendant
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Charles Peitz


Card323.Demure

Best things about this cover:
  • Once again, the breasts act as if the dress weren't even there.
  • How much vaseline is on this lens? Everything looks like it's been coated in margarine.
  • "Sorry, your honor, I didn't hear you. I was just playing with these marionettes here, and, well ... yes, OK, I'll stop."
    That is one George Washington turkey leg tornado of blond hair.
  • This title reminds me that I get "demur" and "demure" confused, which may be why I never use either.


Card323bc.Demure

Best things about this back cover:
  • Fewer things are sexier than residuary legatees.
  • Mosher Higley, who earned his name for his exuberance at '90s punk concerts.
  • Erle Stanley Garnder has the signature of an insane person.

Page 123~

"The prosecution expects to prove that the defendant deliberately became a poisoner, a murderess, a blackmailer and became ensnared in the toils of her own iniquity."

Somehow "ensnared in the toils of her own iniquity" is a mess, metaphorically, but it's still awfully fun to say.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Monday, January 2, 2012

The P. Morrison Donations #6: Beware the Curves / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 75598)

The P. Morrison Donations #6

Title: Beware the Curves
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner ("writing under his famous pen name A.A. Fair")
Cover artist: Well, hello there ... aren't *you* a tall drink of water ...


PB75598.Curves

Best things about this cover:
  • Sometime in the mid-60s, the quality of pb covers started to go downhill—art gave up its real estate to text, usually the author's NAME or a detective's NAME. Cover paintings get smaller and then eventually disappear, leaving only stock photos behind.
  • This cover is designed to do one thing: make you wonder "is that her nipple showing through the lacy dress, or just a shadow...?"
  • Gardner was exceedingly prolific and, in part because of that prolificness, artistically underrated. He writes a good story, and I prefer these Lam and Cool detective stories (for which he used the pseudonym "A.A. Fair") to anything else he did.

PB75598bc.Curves
Best things about this back cover:
  • What design! ... is what I'd say if I were looking at a different book. As I say, the '60s bring about the slow uglification of paperbacks until we're left with ... this.

Page 123~
She pursed her lips. "I can usually size up character," she said. "And if I can't, well, if anyone gives me a double cross, Donald, I'm ruthless, absolutely, utterly ruthless."

"Most women are," I told her, "but few of them admit it."
"Dames," he added with a shrug. "Whaddyagonnado? ... Seriously, what do I do? They keep walking away from me every time I try to talk to them. Ruthless bitches, why won't you talk to me!?"

~RP

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Friday, December 30, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #5: Case of the Duplicate Daughter / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4504)

The P. Morrison Donations #5

Pocket Books 4504 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Case of the Duplicate Daughter
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert McGinnis]


PB4504.Duplicate

Best things about this cover:
  • "OK, who threw egg at the wall!? I'm going to sit on these scones until somebody tells me!"
  • Love the feather-fringed teddy, but it would be much hotter without the ornate pantaloons, which make it look like a giant tulip is swallowing her leg.
  • "Come now, darling, you're far too old to be smearing the floor and wall with marmalade and then throwing flowers everywhere."



PB4504bc.Duplicate

Best things about this back cover:
  • Does this "down arrow" mean something, "duplicate"-wise? It's on the front cover, and the back cover, and the title page?
  • OK, so now we know his client did *not* murder Vera Martel. Also, that his client is fond of giving his daughters slightly odd names. The only other place I've seen the name "Glamis" is in Macbeth (title character is "Thane of Glamis" at beginning of the play; he's promoted to "Thane of Cawdor" in Act I).

Page 123~

Judge Boris Alvord excused the witness and regarded Perry Mason with thoughtful speculation.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter or Tumblr]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #4: The Case of the Lonely Heiress / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6027)

The P. Morrison Donations #4

Pocket Books 6027 (4th ptg, 1960)

Title: The Case of the Lonely Heiress 
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited


PB6027.Heiress

Best things about this cover:
  • The people from PETA have learned to spraypaint *very* legibly.
  • No idea who the cover artist is here, but he/she clearly doesn't have enough confidence in his/her GGA (Great Girl Art) abilities. She looks phenomenal, and really deserves to be taking up more front cover real estate.
  • Maybe ease up on the orange jewelry a little, though.
  • Cigarette holder! Chic!


PB6027bc.Heiress

Best things about this back cover:
  • The answer is no, but only because I'm 42 and scrupulously honest.
  • In case you didn't see Raymond Burr down there ... GIANT RED ARROW TO THE FACE!
  • I wish the plot of this book was that Perry Mason led a double life, trolling for lonely women on the pre-internet, killing them, and then ending up having to solve the very crimes he committed. 

Page 123~
With the glaring overhead light out, Marilyn Marlow could see Lieutenant Tragg clearly now, a tall, somewhat slender, well-knit individual whose clean-cut features were a welcome relief from the heavy faces of the officers who had been leering at her.

Marilyn Marlow then said, with a predatory coyness, "You must be Humphrey Bolgard. They said you were well-knit, but—" She ran her eyes down the length of his frame and back up again "—well, there's knit and there's knit, and boy are you knit."

~RP

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Paperback 459: Spill the Jackpot / A.A. Fair (Dell 109)

Paperback 459: Dell 109 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: Spill the Jackpot
Author: A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: George A. Frederiksen

Yours for: $21


dell109spilljackpot
Best things about this cover:
  • When slot machines get drunk (Xs for eyes, dead giveaway), they barf blood and skulls. True fact.
  • This is a fantastic example of the bright, vivid, more abstract covers that Dell tended to feature in its early years. You don't really get the saucy, realistic, Great Girl Art covers until about 1948.


dell109bc.spilljack_0001

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wow, no wonder people gamble. You can practically feel the monotony coming off the page.
  • Is Hotel Sal Sagev a real place? 'Cause that's some painfully unimaginative naming. Diputs!
  • "Boulder? Sure ... just go down Fremont here past Eighth and then it's just another 775 miles. You can't miss it."

Page 123~

Abruptly he turned and smiled at Bertha. "So sorry, Mrs. Cool, I interfered with you so early in the morning. Try and overlook it. If you people can learn to accept these interruptions philosophically, it's going to be a lot easier on you."

If you are a chronic interrupter, I suggest you memorize that last line. The key to being a dick effectively is: you must go all in.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Paperback 339: The Case of the Backward Mule / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6083)


Paperback 339: Pocket Books 6083 (5th ptg, 1961)

Title: The Case of the Backward Mule
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • A conceptual mess. What century is it? Why is the space princess massaging her scalp, and what does it have to do with bizarrely mustachioed Chinese man on the donkey? No wonder I've never heard of "Terry Clane" and "Inspector Malloy"—how do you expect to get an enduring series off the ground with this muddled a marketing campaign?
  • "Behold, as Eva Gabor summons miniature Chinese ghosts from the distant past using the power of her Magic Updo!"
  • God, the more I look at this cover, the uglier and sillier it gets. Different colors on all the different (stupid) fonts? I'd cut Everything But The Girl and start over.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Don't touch anything! You're leaving blue fingerprints everywhere!"

Page 123~

"In our business, we don't do too much speculative thinking, Mr. Clane. We investigate. And when we investigate we make it a point to cover all of the possibilities."

"I see."

"Even," Malloy went on, "including that poker-faced Chinese servant of yours, Yat T'oy."

"I see."

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paperback 336: The Case of the Daring Decoy / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6001)

Paperback 336: Pocket Books 6001 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: The Case of the Daring Decoy
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $9


Best things about this cover:
  • The bottom 1/2 inch is horribly soiled; otherwise, this copy is close to perfect, and words can't describe how much I love this cover painting.
  • Well, maybe they can. I think that if you look up "Hot Mess" in the dictionary, this picture is there. Sexy dissolution personified. All that orange, and the booze, and the smokes, and the stairway to nowhere, just add to the smoldering hotness of the whole scene. First rate cover art. Just wish I had an artist credit!


Best things about this back cover:
  • Perry Mason looks like somebody's grandma. Pancake make-up much, grandma?
  • Random orangeing of words. That's a new tactic.
  • "Hell's bells!" is a great way to lead off your back cover copy.

Page 123~

"You knew her rather intimately, I believe."
"Are you making an accusation?"
"I'm asking a question."

Technically, you were making an insinuating statement, Perry, but ... I'll allow it.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 56

Actually, I have no idea what the last two books are from the Book Sale. They appear to have sort of blended in with the rest of the collection. So the last two books will just be ones I can't place, not yet officially in The Collection — stuff that *could* have come from the Book Sale. Enjoy.

Title: Some Slips Don't Show (Pocket Books 6095, 1st ptg, 1961)
Author: A.A. Fair (aka Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: $8

  • Expression on that guy's face is Nightmarish. That chair, however, is pure '60s gold, as is the Jackie-O style of Miss Primping there. I love the mysterious inscription over Dean Martin's ugly cousin's head: "Amy." It's as if he's thinking, "Amy, I'm sorry I barfed on your other dress."
  • I believe this painting represents the seated drunk green guy's perspective. He's so sloshed that the objects of his ogling have huge, sickly, sweeping motion lines. Throwing back her hair creates a Pollockesque swoosh. Kind of looks like the number "9."
  • On second, or third, glance, I believe that that is not a chair he's sitting in, but a hovercraft. He's reminding more and more of that Martian from the "Flintstones" every time I look at him.
  • Seriously? You decide to reprise an image from the front cover and you choose *him*!? "Hey, [hic!], look at me! I'm flying through your doorways! Lady!"
  • I'm not sure I get the joke? Is she naked under clothes? Is her slip really showing? Is there a pun on "slip," so that I'm supposed to understand that she's made an error of some sort. Is "slip" some horrible anatomical code word? Only the racially ambiguous drunk alien knows.

Page 123~

"And furthermore," I told her, "don't hand me that line about what I owe you. I don't owe you a damned thing!"

He's short, but Donald Lam can talk down to the ladies like nobody's business (I actually really like the Cool + Lam books by "Fair")

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Paperback 211: Bedrooms Have Windows / A. A. Fair (Dell 603)

Paperback 211: Dell 603 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Bedrooms Have Windows
Author: A. A. Fair (pen name of Erle Stanley Gardner)
Cover artist: Mike Ludlow

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:

  • "Bedrooms Have Windows" - they sure do. And Blondes Have Mirrors and Peeping Toms Have Trenchcoats.
  • That is the see-throughiest blouse I've ever seen anywhere.
  • I've always loved that Dell keyhole eye logo.
  • I also love the yellow cloth on her ... what do you call that piece of furniture? A vanity!
  • Black bra = trouble. I saw "Psycho." I know.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Arrows, Ha ha
  • "They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike ..."
  • Boy, they sure know how to make an author look exciting.
  • "Pocket-edition Venus" - that's hot.
  • Lam and Cool mysteries are great, and ESG wrote them all (I think) under the A.A. Fair name. Lam and Cool are the Jack Sprat + wife of mystery stories (only they aren't married).

Page 123~

The taffy-haired blonde who was standing in front of the mirror, surveying her partially clothed figure with quite evident approval, was the girl who had picked me up the night before as her escort, and had taken me to the motor court.

~RP

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paperback 184: The Case of the Haunted Husband / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4512)

Paperback 184: Pocket Books 4512 (11th ptg, 1962)

Title: The Case of the Haunted Husband
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: McGinnis or an imitator

Yours for: $8


Best things about this front cover:

  • "Well, hello there, Tall, Dark and ... Immaterial."
  • I think she is the one being haunted. Not to nitpick, but ...
  • "Even after death, Steve was an abusive alcoholic asshole" - seriously, he's totally going to throw that miniscule, undead martini in her face
  • I love McGinnis and McGinnis-esque women; I can never tell what age they are - they have young women's bodies, I guess, but there's a maturity to them that is world-wise and dead sexy. Women, not girls.
  • This woman, while very hot, has some evolutionary defect, as her right "hand" is clearly some kind of withered, three-fingered claw / lizard appendage.
  • The early 60's were all about the Down Arrow! Why, who can forget Paperback 181 ...?


Best things about this back cover:

  • Random arm!
  • I question the editorial decision to leave back-cover readers with the word "stink" lingering in the air

Page 123~

"Did you examine the steering wheel of the car to see whether there were any traces of lipstick on it?"


Sometimes I like to put lipstick on my steering wheel ... you know, so I'll have someone (imaginary) to talk to on the way to work.

~RP

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Paperback 114: The Case of the Cautious Coquette / Erle Stanley Gardner (Cardinal C-332)

Paperback 114: Cardinal C-332 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: The Case of the Cautious Coquette
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: John Fernie

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:

  • Georgia's audition for the "New Avengers" ended very, very badly.
  • I'm no fashion expert, but I'm pretty sure a pink cape does not go with a strapless orange jumpsuit. Not that I don't admire her courage.
Q: What is she doing with her left arm?

  • a. trying to clear the frog from her throat
  • b. doing the first part of a Sammy Sosa-style salute to her fans (peace sign to follow)
  • c. wiping blood from her chin
  • d. preparing to throw an elbow at the small man standing behind her whom we cannot see
  • e. doing her post-murder celebration dance

Best things about this back cover:
  • First paragraph = How to cop a feel, Perry Mason-style! "I'm looking for a gun!" Man, I gotta use that one.
  • After so much exposure to it, I now feel that Erle Stanley Gardner's signature is trying to send me some kind of secret message...
  • Check out the ad for another book - exploitation of the advertising potential of the back cover is a late development, and would be unwelcome if it didn't give me a great window on the literary context of the time. Plus ... miniature cheese/beefcake!

Page 123~

"But all this isn't going to do you any good," Drake said irritably. "You're simply crucifying yourself. Figure what the papers will do when they - why, hang it, Perry, it will put your neck right in a noose. Evidence of flight is evidence of guilt."


~RP