Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paperback 353: Blue City / Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald) (Dell 363)

Paperback 353: Dell 363 (1st, 1947)

Title: Blue City
Author: Kenneth Millar
Cover artist: Uncredited (a shame)

Yours for: $23


Best things about this cover:
  • I'm not sure there is a cover out there that better expresses the idea of "noir." The grimy fatalism of the urban jungle perfectly expressed by that pollution/hand working all the lowlifes like marionettes. That woman's right boob is freaking me out a little, and the gangster's proportions are all wrong, but all the classic vices are on display, and that hand is going to give me nightmares. The skin on the knuckles, my god ...


Best things about this back cover:
  • Mapback!
  • Whoever designed that city Really liked right angles.
  • Nice detail on the buildings [/sarcasm]
  • This book is in a plastic slipcase. I would have taken it out, but I feared I might harm the book in doing so, so parts of the back remain obscured somewhat by the thick plastic strip down the middle. And the ID tag.

Page 123~

"You won't sing," Kerch said, "if what we do to you shuts you up for good. Come along, Floraine. You'll need a coat."

"You'll need a coat" makes me laugh. Cold-blooded hitman worries you might get chilly.


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Unknown said...

I like that the map includes "6. Inspector Hanson". The Inspector gets his own map reference, but appears to be investigating East Nowhere. I'm getting disillusioned by these mapbacks ... why bother including a map if you don't indicate where the six corpses were found?

Renee in Tucson said...

The blue is a really, really bad blue, too. A little violet, a little gray. A dirty sky.

I like the way the beefy French whore's dress has been applied in semi-transparent red over her fully depicted naked body, while the guys' bodies are notional and their clothes opaque.

The artist is amusing himself. As, of course, is his right.

DemetriosX said...

The woman on the front seems awfully mannish to me. In fact, I think she looks a little like the ugly stepsister from the Shrek sequels.

Anonymous said...

Very nice copy - I have a later edition that has a photo of a naked woman on it in tones of blue - a la James Bond opening sequence.

Anonymous said...

The Best cover I can remember seeing here! It even has a friggin' lamp post!

Love the guy with the green jacket!

Hmm -- there is an extraneous perspective line by Mr. Green Jacket's left knee.

And I say the body proportions are perfect. It's us poor real humans that are a bit off!

P.M. said...

Indeed, one of the best covers I've seen. I love not only the skin on the hand but the odd and disturbing angles of the fingers. I don't know about that pinky ring though.

capewood said...

"Come along, Floraine". Floraine?