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."



jubjub said...

I vote for (b). That is exactly what I was thinking! If her cape were actually draped over her left arm, she would have quite the Dracula stance.

That signature required skills! If I could write like that, I would definitely sign my name that way.

Anyways, great collection! I understand why you keep the collection/blog. I like some of these covers enough that I feel sad that I won't remember them vividly enough.

justjack said...

You forgot:

f. preparing to wipe off the red lipstick, which she has belatedly realized doesn't go with the pink cape and strapless orange jumpsuit

g. gearing up to do her Dr. Evil impression ("one meeeelion dollars")

Anonymous said...

h. Part one of John Travolta's/Uma Thurman's dance from Pulp Fiction

i. In the middle of using the classic Mel Brooks line: "I know this place like the back of my...what the hell is that, a wart?"

Think we can make it to Z?

justjack said...

j. waiting for Dick Tracy to answer his two-way wrist radio.

Rex Parker said...

k. preparing to make out with the face she's drawn on the back of her hand

l. using her elbow to point discreetly to someone standing off-screen

m. committing suicide by puncturing her own sternum with an awl

Michael5000 said...

When your midriff has been as cruely constricted as poor supergirl's has here, puncturing your own sternum with an awl seems almost extraneous.

justjack said...

n. pounding her chest before flashing her gang sign that Ginger Grant? is it possible this is why she was on that three-hour tour? Was she on the lam? And maybe could she have been the cause of the shipwreck, because she wanted to make sure the cops couldn't find her?

Poor Gilligan; all these years you took the blame.

Rex Parker said...

I'm not sure I can accept (n.), as it is basically a variation of (b.)

On second thought, I overrule myself. (n.) stands.


Anonymous said...

o. About to release the world's smallest doves ala Doug Henning.

p. Stopping the creepy guy on the balcony above her from looking down her shirt.

Rex Parker said...

q. preparing to throw a wadded up copy of her psychiatric evaluation across the room

r. writing notes on her body to her future self, a la "Memento"

justjack said...

s. practicing her dice-throwing motion so she won't look too dorky at Casino Night down at the Elks Hall.

t. praying you'll keep watching her do the Stationary Frug, and not notice the giant scratch she made in the wall with her Walther PPK.

--justjack (formerly just "jack")

Anonymous said...

Just 6 more! Some of these are giving me quite a laugh by the way. Good job all around.

Anonymous said...

u. Mentally writing on her arm as she practices for the National Spelling Bee.

Anonymous said...

v. Showing you that her deodorant leaves no white residue.

Rex Parker said...

w. holding a tiny mike up to her throat so she can speak through the hole in her throat (stoma) produced by her recent laryngectomy.

x. preparing to roll the dice, which will decide whether you live or die ...

Anonymous said...

'First paragraph = How to cop a feel, Perry Mason-style! "I'm looking for a gun!"'

Reminds me of a blooper I saw from the old tv show 'Cannon' starring William Conrad. He's facing the wall, hands flat against it while he's being frisked by a woman. She's patting his front pants pockets and he says "If you're doing that for my benefit make bigger circles."

Anonymous said...

Maybe coquette is code for cokehead and

y. she just did a line on the back of her hand

justjack said...

z. snapping her fingers in appreciative hipster-beat-poet-styled applause, maaaaaaaaan.