Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paperback 282: If the Coffin Fits / Day Keene (Graphic 43)

Paperback 282: Graphic 43 (PBO, 1952)

Title: If the Coffin Fits
Author: Day Keene
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $50

Best things about this cover:
  • One of the greatest hypo covers of all time (yes, "hypo covers" is a thing — very collectible)
  • And the award for "Most Realistic Depiction of Hand Hair" goes to ...
  • God that spike is glorious. I almost want to start doing heroin just to experience the feel of something so elegantly designed.
  • Joe Shirtless does Not want to shoot up, but stone-faced blond guy can't wait. He has that barely-contained psycho-sadistic look about him. I think it's the posture, plus the intent stare: [Trembling ever-so-slightly] "This is going to be @#$#ing awesome!" Maybe he's a hypo connoisseur. Or just likes handling terrified man flesh.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Ugh, small type. Less is More!
  • This book should be called "Badger Game" — I'd read it just to figure out what the hell that phrase meant.
  • Why is "Jail Bait" capitalized and italicized? Is it a novel? (actually, it is, and I own it, but I don't think the book is what's meant here).
  • "Mr. Big" — Ouch. One million points off for lack of originality.

Page 123~

I said that was a lot of heifer dust. He was inclined to argue.

I believe "heifer dust" = "bullshit," but it would be a great street name for some drug ... something way, way worse than "angel dust." "We cut the PCP with cow shit ... try it!"


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Katie said...

That hairy hand with the hypo is like fifty kinds of awesome. In fact, the whole cover is pretty awesome, considering it doesn't have a sexy dame.

And apparently it's both a Graphic Mystery and a Graphic Original.

Erik said...

Regarding "heifer dust", Steve Martin already went there... scary the things that you remember verbatim after 30 years.

Rex Parker said...

Went where?

Strawberry Blogs Forever said...

"... pistol-whipped him into a pulpy mass of bruised flesh..." I laughed. And then I re-read "pulpy mass of bruised flesh" and laughed some more. And when I finally stopped laughing I snorted. So very wonderful. Must read this book!!--er...I mean to say, "GRAPHIC ORIGINAL."

Eunice said...

I love the expressions! They're verging on comically over the top but are really creepy too.

What I like about the hand is the thought that someone had to go and lovingly detail every hair. That thumb nail is grimy. Nice touch, but gross.

I like the title, but not the way they worked it into the write up.

Frank said...

If the coffin fits, you must acquit.

Alix said...

On the back page, it really ought to read "whether" the coffin fits, but yes, that would mess with the title.

Wouldn't it have been more effective to tie down BOTH the guy's arms? If he weren't so terrified he'd realize that he could deliver a backfist to the vice principal holding him down my the shoulder.

Deb said...

You're so right about that fabulous hypo. When Holmes calls to Watson for "the needle," I imagine this is the needle Dr. Watson pulls out of his bag.

capewood said...

I was hoping that the Karney twins were babes to get him in a compromising position. They could still be babes, I guess, but they just beat him up.

Tulse said...

"Central City"? What the hell is this, some lame comic book? Just pick a real goddamn city already, ya lily-livered hack!