Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paperback 191: The Listening House (Popular Library 69)

Paperback 191: Popular Library 69 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Listening House
Author: Mabel Seeley
Cover artist: [H. Lawrence Hoffman]

Yours for: $16

Best things about this cover:

  • Yeah, if the house I was walking past suddenly grew a gigantic ear, I'd run like hell too.
  • Is the runner holding a boomerang? Is he texting someone? Did the ice cream fall out of his cone? His forward hand looks very wrong.
  • While I love the more realistic, lurid, 50s-60s covers the most, I have a strange affection for these more abstract early covers. Hoffman did some great work in the 40s. I'm pretty sure I have more from him coming up in my collection.

Best things about this back cover:

  • This description sounds more Gothic than Mystery. A creaky old house ... on a cliff?
  • I love the can-do, plucky optimism of the early paperbacks. They all had adorable slogans back then - "Mysteries of Proven Merit" Not sure what's going on with the quotation marks. When you say it about yourself, it's not really a quote.

Page 123~

"Mrs Dacres, did you ever spend any thought at all on why society makes such a hue and cry about murder? After all, by and large, I've found out that most of the people who get murdered leave the world better off for their absence."

Now that's a quote that makes me want to keep reading. For once.



LGD said...

"A creaky old house ... on a cliff?"

If this is England, it's possible. Grazing cows will fall over the chalk cliffs as erosion continues across the centuries. The boundary goes, then the fence line, then the cow. Having houses that were once inland now be on dropline is quite possible.

pious agnostic said...

"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in Mysteries of Proven Merit, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why Gwynne Dacrew rented a room and spent the first few nights listening to the strange noises the house made. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of the house that was holding itself tensely awake listening. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places, the powerful fingers, the whiling darkness. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of The Listening House?"

Anonymous said...

I get that houses might sometimes sit on a cliff, but a townhouse? It looks like a brownstone to me -- are there cliffs in the middle of Boston?