Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Paperback 1080: Maharajah / Richard Cargoe (Popular Library 451)

Paperback 1080: Popular Library 451 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Maharajah
Author: Richard Cargoe
Cover artist: [Raymond Johnson]

Condition: 5/10 (intact, but with split spine)
Value: $6-10

[Another book from the recently acquired Larry D Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • At first it looks like he's scratching his chin as he's contemplating his next move, but then you look closer and realize he is nibbling. On a grape. And cupping a whole bunch of grapes in his other hand. And she's like "Yes, you like nibbling on my grapes ... there is much more fruit where that came from ... but I'm going to hold it over here out of view ... I know you are hungry for my fruit, but I will not simply give you the fruit; you are going to have to work for my fruit? I withhold the fruit until you are good and hungry. You are hungry, yes?" Fruit doing a Lot of work on this cover.  
  • Dude's eyes are intense, predatory, vaguely insane. They are almost enough to distract you from the bright white shaving brush growing out of his forehead. Almost.
  • I love these covers where intense desire is conveyed in a backward glance that totally defies the laws of physics (no way she can see him even peripherally from that angle) but still *feels* smolderingly real.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ah, Orientalism. How I don't really miss you. The "exotic" natives doing their carnal things in fancy garb, served up for westerners to gawk at. Like the fruit on the front cover, "exotic" is doing a lot of work here (as well as on the front cover!)
  • I see how "INTRIGUE IN INDIA" might seem to have some inherent alliterative appeal, but it's really rather dull.
  • Tbh I'm kinda invested in the storyline now. Team Tegra, for sure. That Halim guy seems like a jerk I would not like to have a beer with.

Page 123~
They are blackmailing us into a state of perpetual fear. I keep remembering how the tiger clawed off the monkey's limbs one by one. They may murder one person each day—every day they may murder a little closer to the throne. Have you thought of that?
Have I thought of what? I'm still thinking about the monkey. Is he OK? Did he get revenge? You can't just start a tiger/monkey story and then abandon it like that, man. You gotta see it through. Now bring me some fruit and start over.


P.S. the cover artist is Raymond Johnson. This exact painting was on the cover of Illustration #77, which contains a big article on Johnson:

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Friday, August 4, 2023

Paperback 1079: Jonathan Wild / Henry Fielding (Signet CQ660)

Paperback 1079: Signet CQ660 (1st ptg, 1962) (actually 3rd ptg, year unknown, probably early-mid '70s)

Title: Jonathan Wild
Author: Henry Fielding
Cover artist: Milton Glaser

Condition: 7/10
Value: $5

Best things about this cover:
  • Another acquisition outside my normal (1939-69) collecting range, but Glaser's covers for Signet are special, so I think I'm going to start making them a special subset of my collection (esp. since they can be found all over and procured for super cheap)
  • There's a borderline cartoon quality to Glaser's pop art take on the classics (his most famous work for Signet was the covers of all the Shakespeare plays). Love the intricacy of his designs, and the low-key bawdiness of this particular image—the deep cleavage, the hint of thigh above the stocking, the (I'm guessing) randy bewigged leonine figure standing behind her. . . though if he's randy for anything, it's probably that jewel he's fondling.
  • The colors are vibrant and the design on her stockings is absolutely aces. Her shoes are special too.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Bah! Mere description! 
  • I've never read this novel, but the cover copy here is promising. Love the idea of naming your wild-ass main character "Wild." 
  • The book is part biography (of an actual criminal), part social satire, part picaresque novel. Honestly, it sounds amazing, and I am tempted to dive right in.
  • Is Gin Lane bad? I want to live on Gin Lane. There's gin there, right?
Page 123~
Wild, immediately at his return to town, went to pay a visit to Miss Laetitia Snap, for he had that weakness of suffering himself to be enslaved by women, so naturally incident to men of heroic disposition.
"Suffering himself to be enslaved" is some choice phrasing, but not as choice as the name "Miss Laetitia Snap"—that is an all-time name. The implications of "Snap" are suggestive but ambiguous ... unlike the implications of "Miss Straddle" (p. 88), which seem pretty straightforward.


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Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Paperback 1078: Showdown / Lee Stevens (DimeNovels #1) (DN 0010)

Paperback 1078: DimeNovels 1 (PBO, 1990)

Title: Showdown
Author: Lee Stevens
Cover artist: J. Wayne Anderson

Condition: 7/10
Value: $5

Best things about this cover:
  • I love how much this guy hates cards. Or maybe this is some kind of shooting trick. I'm really impressed that he got such even distribution of cards (and chips!), all in the air at once. 
  • It's like he's using the table for a shield, but shooting at ... what, the chandelier? 
  • This is a dumb little book! Seriously, it's literally ... little. 3 x 4.5 in. Here it is next to some grown-up-sized books:
  • I got this book at one of the used bookstores in Longmont, CO (I forget which ... Barbed Wire, maybe?). Lots and lots (and lots) of vintage westerns there. And then this novelty book. 
  • I wonder about DimeNovels. This is literally #1. "DMN 0010" it says on the copyright page. Let's do some googling and Holy Moly, jackpot! Not numbered consecutively—numbered by the genre (!?!?!). Such good info here:

And now the back cover ...

Best things about this back cover:
  • Text! I mean ... this must be like a quarter of the book, right here on the cover. Leave us *something* to discover inside!
  • This sounds like every western ever written / filmed / conceived
  • Yup, I was right: Barbed Wire Books. There's their address and everything, in case you're ever out that way.
  • The logo's kinda sweet...
  • ... Would wear that on a t-shirt, for sure.
Page 123~ (LOL, jk, this book is only 91 (small!) pages long, so here's Page 23)
But there weren't no clay anywhere else at that point of the trail.
Shouldn't that be "there weren't no clay nowhere else" ... I'm no dialect expert, but it sounds better, plus the triple negative kinda takes you back to a single negative situation, which is what you wanted, grammatically, in the first place. But I'm sure the publisher knows what he's doing, Now let's just flip to the last page of the book for no particular reason and ... whoa:

Randy L. Byrd's 1980 album "Byrd Dog" sold in excess of a dozen copies, though the lead single, "Geez's! (I Say to Myself)," sadly never charted.


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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Paperback 1077: Dark Rapture / Kim Darien (Ace S-117)

Paperback 1077: Ace S-117 (PBO, 1955)

Title: Dark Rapture
Author: Kim Darien
Cover artist: Uncredited

Condition: 7    
Value: $10-12

[Another book from the recently acquired Larry D Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • "My left pinkie? Yeah, I broke that in a horrible bowling accident when I was a kid. Don't worry about it. Here, look at my right hand instead? Nice, right?"
  • "Her? Nah, don't mind her, she's just the, uh, cleaning lady. Yeah, she likes to sleep on her smoke break. Does both at once. Sleep and smokes. Saves time."
  • The blonde is the very definition of GGA (Great Girl Art), but it's like the painter was really more interested in directing your attention elsewhere—to the corny, chipper dude, yes, but most assuredly to the enigmatically sleep-smoking lady. Frankly, she is the only one whose story I care to know.

Best things about this back cover:
  • This book hit me ... and it felt like a kiss.
  • Love the visual [rrrrriiiiiipppp] 
  • "Simmy knew she'd had a tough break. First of all, she was named Simmy. Strike one ..."
  • "Downright swell" and "heel"—the two masculinities
Page 123~
Back under the wheel, Jerry remarked that was the kind of service he liked; service with a smile, the kind you didn't come across too often in the city. "People out here show the customer some courtesy. Swell bunch out here in the sticks, none better." He backed the Buick out of the parking lot.
"Yeah, they got real manners out here in Shitville. Classy bunch of people. Really know how to treat a guy right. Might do all my grocery shopping out here from now on, babe, whaddya say?" Can't tell if this guy is "Downright swell" or more the "Heel" type. Really feels ... latter.


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Saturday, July 15, 2023

Paperback 1076: Professional Lover / Maysie Greig (Pocket Books 541)

Paperback 1076: Pocket Books 541 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: Professional Lover
Author: Maysie Greig
Cover artist: "Front cover photograph by Halleck (!?) Finley"

Condition: 6/10
Value: $4-7

[Another book from the recently acquired Larry D Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • I know it's a weird place to start, but her top is *amazing*. Zebra stampede!
  • The perfect horizontal line from the top her head to the tip ofer her elbow, also amazing.
  • I know "Making love to women is his job" sounds saucy, but it's 1948 so ... not so much (it just means he's a heartthrob movie star, sorry to disappoint).
  • Dude is a dead ringer for Rock Hudson. I mean, if you ignore the rubberized hair piece, what the hell...
  • I wonder how long they had to hold this pose. So much close breathing. Plus, his (giant!) hand looks like it's really working.
  • The couch / wall color combo is particularly unappetizing.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Dang, his lips are really going to town, maybe this will be hotter than I thought
  • Rex Brandon, I buy. Starr Thayle, I buy less.
  • Cover copy writers still using clunky phrases like "had been accorded," that's how you know you're still in the '40s. Although "crashing climax" and "flaming tale" (!!) show promise.
  • Halleck? That's a fish, not a name.

Page 123~
All afternoon they had been taking and retaking a couple of scenes on the yacht. Rex couldn't get them to Stephen's satisfaction. Almost as though Stephen derived a grim satisfaction in making the great Rex Brandon go over and over a certain take.
I would love to have a funny take here, but once again the editor in me is like "Why are there two 'satisfaction's in here? Do you not hear the repetition? Does it not jar your eardrums?" Copywriter: "Well, if my writing is not to your satisf-" Me: "Stop." Copywriter: "It's just that satisf-" Me: "Say 'Satisfaction' Again, M*****F*****! I dare you."


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Monday, July 10, 2023

Paperback 1075: By Blood Alone / Frank Corey (Berkley Medallion G494)

Paperback 1075: Berkley Medallion G494 (PBO, 1961)

Title: By Blood Alone
Author: Frank Corey (pseud. of George Fox)
Cover artist: [illegible signature, no artist credit, infuriating]

Condition: 8/10
Value: $10-$12

[Another book from the recently acquired Larry D Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • Watch out boy, she'll chew you up.
  • She appears to be sitting in the blood of her (their?) prey. I assume she is the one who lives ... by blood alone. I love how she's looking at you (yes you, the reader) like "Hello, you're next. Oh, don't mind Larry. [turns to Larry in disgust] He was just leaving." [Larry, shouting like Sterling Hayden in The Long Goodbye] "Yeah, well, I need more than just blood, baby! Whiskey! Asparagus! Tic Tacs! The blood's great and all, but a man's gotta live! Nah, you have fun with your little friend here. I'll see you when I see you."
  • Larry appears to have some kind of medallion nestled in his chest hair. Swingin'! He looks like he's getting ready to hit the disco, or maybe just do some light swashbuckling.
  • Wrought-iron bed frames make a nice ornamental touch. Some great covers have been built around bed frames. Like this one (in fact ... is that Larry again? He gets around):

And now the back cover:

Best things about this back cover:
  • "SCARRED" is a singularly un-grabby tagline, but it does rhyme with "marred" in the first sentence there, so I guess that's ... something. 
  • Is there such thing as a *gentle* attack with a hammer?
  • Please, hammer, don't scar 'em
  • "Make the paragraphs red then black ... then black then red" "Okey dokey, any reason in part-" "I have no good ideas, OK, are you happy, just do it!"
  • "Second generation" should be hyphenated. And speaking of hyphens, the "rack- / eteer" line break is killing me.
  • There should be a comma after "head," why am I doing all the copyediting work here, come on!
Page 123~
"What is he?" Rebellion and disillusionment rang in the simple question.
"A renegade without money or ties, virtually cut off from human society."
That last bit would look cool on a business card.


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Thursday, July 6, 2023

Paperback 1074: The Amboy Dukes / Irving Shulman (Avon 169)

Paperback 1074: Avon 169 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: The Amboy Dukes
Author: Irving Shulman
Cover artist: Ann Cantor

Condition: 7/10
Value: $25-30

[Another book from the recently acquired Larry D Collection]

Best things about this cover:
  • A Wayward Youth Grows in Brooklyn
  • Ooh, I did not know there was a movie tie-in variant cover for this (very famous) JD novel. Oddly thrilling. I mean, not as thrilling as my man's gaudy and shockingly wide tie, but thrilling nonetheless.
  • Her eyebrows and his spit curl are Just So. Mwah. Perfect. Great hats, great attitude, just great all around.
  • Drew Pearson! Oh sure, I know him, he's a ... [squints] ... noted commentator. Wow. That's a job title right there [runs off to update business cards]
Best things about this back cover:
  • "Oh Frankie" "Oh Betty" [swelling music, heaving bosoms, sloppy kissing noises]
  • "Frankie and Betty / Were sick of spaghetti / By the summer of seventy-five // They were tired and cold / They were 50 years old / They were barely alive" (thank you for coming to my Billy Joel tribute concert)
  • I do like how they give the whole damn cover, edge to edge, over to this dramatically lit picture. I guess this is to prove that the movie is real and not just some weird marketing ploy.
Page 123~
"I love you, Frankie," Betty was hoarse with passion. 
"Will you ever leave me?" whinnied Frankie. "Neigh," hoarsed Betty.


P.S. I am so happy to be writing this blog regularly again. I do not care at all if the blog ever has a lot of readers, but I would like it to find its audience. Its weirdo niche. So if you ever wanted to hype it, in any way, to your nerdy friends, that would be rad. Thanks. Oh, and comments welcome. I love hearing what you all think of the books. XO

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