Friday, December 30, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #5: Case of the Duplicate Daughter / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 4504)

The P. Morrison Donations #5

Pocket Books 4504 (1st ptg, 1962)

Title: The Case of the Duplicate Daughter
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited [Robert McGinnis]


Best things about this cover:
  • "OK, who threw egg at the wall!? I'm going to sit on these scones until somebody tells me!"
  • Love the feather-fringed teddy, but it would be much hotter without the ornate pantaloons, which make it look like a giant tulip is swallowing her leg.
  • "Come now, darling, you're far too old to be smearing the floor and wall with marmalade and then throwing flowers everywhere."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Does this "down arrow" mean something, "duplicate"-wise? It's on the front cover, and the back cover, and the title page?
  • OK, so now we know his client did *not* murder Vera Martel. Also, that his client is fond of giving his daughters slightly odd names. The only other place I've seen the name "Glamis" is in Macbeth (title character is "Thane of Glamis" at beginning of the play; he's promoted to "Thane of Cawdor" in Act I).

Page 123~

Judge Boris Alvord excused the witness and regarded Perry Mason with thoughtful speculation.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #4: The Case of the Lonely Heiress / Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket Books 6027)

The P. Morrison Donations #4

Pocket Books 6027 (4th ptg, 1960)

Title: The Case of the Lonely Heiress 
Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Cover artist: Uncredited


Best things about this cover:
  • The people from PETA have learned to spraypaint *very* legibly.
  • No idea who the cover artist is here, but he/she clearly doesn't have enough confidence in his/her GGA (Great Girl Art) abilities. She looks phenomenal, and really deserves to be taking up more front cover real estate.
  • Maybe ease up on the orange jewelry a little, though.
  • Cigarette holder! Chic!


Best things about this back cover:
  • The answer is no, but only because I'm 42 and scrupulously honest.
  • In case you didn't see Raymond Burr down there ... GIANT RED ARROW TO THE FACE!
  • I wish the plot of this book was that Perry Mason led a double life, trolling for lonely women on the pre-internet, killing them, and then ending up having to solve the very crimes he committed. 

Page 123~
With the glaring overhead light out, Marilyn Marlow could see Lieutenant Tragg clearly now, a tall, somewhat slender, well-knit individual whose clean-cut features were a welcome relief from the heavy faces of the officers who had been leering at her.

Marilyn Marlow then said, with a predatory coyness, "You must be Humphrey Bolgard. They said you were well-knit, but—" She ran her eyes down the length of his frame and back up again "—well, there's knit and there's knit, and boy are you knit."


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #3: So Lush, So Deadly / Brett Halliday (Dell 8055)

The P. Morrison Donations #3 — Dell 8055 (1st ptg, 1971)

Title: So Lush, So Deadly
Author: Brett Halliday
Cover artist: photo


Best things about this cover:
  • Talk about your $20 photo shoots, dear lord.
  • Possibly the least manly cover I own. A slap fight? Girl's got a gun aimed at your head and you're gonna swat at her like she's a fly? I'm guessing that one second after this picture was taking, the girl with the gun just shook her head, said "pathetic," and walked away.
  • Interesting how the fabric around their midsections appears blurred with motion. I'm just so so so glad the yellow towel didn't move any further.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Dotty De Rham! Why am I not collecting these names!?
  • I'm not sure I understand where the "Carnival" metaphor is coming from.
  • Arson is a cardinal sin?
  • The coolest private eye swings into hot action! Oh, Mike Shayne, you're the paradoxiest!

Page 123~

She was bouncing in his arms. He took her by the shoulders and made her hold still. She was still wearing the same short nightgown.

Mall Santa: After Hours.

Merry Christmas!


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Friday, December 23, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #2: Lady Ann / Donald Henderson Clarke (Avon 105)

Title: Lady Ann (1st ptg, 1946)
Author: Donald Henderson Clarke
Cover artist: Uncredited


Best things about this cover:
  • Pencil Mustache is trying to change TV channels with his mind. Veronica Lake thinks maybe it's time to give it a rest.
  • Hmm. A dress made of fondant. How avant-garde.
  • This author sure likes to give his book's women's names.
  • I *love* the little calling card stuck in the "frame" of this "painting." The "frame," however, is a hideous piece of ornate crap.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Opaque paper!? That's my favorite kind of paper! Oh, boy!
  • Resistant to "rough usage." So go ahead, smack your kids around with 'em. See if they don't retain their readability. And if a little blood gets on there, no matter, as they "can easily be washed clean."

Page 123~

"Aw, for Hell's sake!" Noodles Noonan exclaimed. "Shut up. You dirty, weazened little no-good leavings. Why would a fellow like me that can have any dame he wants be peeking through keyholes and roosting on roofs? You're nuts, fella. You don't know it, but you're coo-coo."

Noodles Noonan is a name to be reckoned with. And "leavings" is an amazing piece of bowdlerization. Coo-coo.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The P. Morrison Donations #1: A Good Year For Dwarfs? / Carter Brown (Signet 4320)

Title: A Good Year for Dwarfs?
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Reader P. Morrison sent me a stack of books. They are beat up and cheesy, just like I like 'em. First up ... this.


Best things about this cover:
  • Evocative painting. Who knew that extras in a "Conan" movie experienced such depths of ennui?
  • Is that lady a. calming her pet Pekingese, who lives in her hair; b. physically supporting her 50 lbs of hair because he neck has simply given out; or c. shaking her head in disbelief at the idea that Carter Brown has sold over 25 million books?
  • I thought "A Good Year for Dwarfs" was the tagline at first, and had no idea what that could possibly mean. Then I realized that was the title. Puzzlement remained.
  • If my students ever used a hyphen that way, there's no way they'd be getting better than a C.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Rimmel and Holman? As porn names go ... subtle.
  • I want business cards that read simply "Davis Davis, Movie Dwarf"
  • "Twilight world" normally (in paperbackese) means "homosexual."  I'm doubtful that that is the case here.

Page 123~

Any moment now, I thought frantically, I'm about to make whimpering noises out loud! "Do you play Scrabble?" I gurgled.

Man, it gets Freaky on an early '70s porn set.


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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Paperback 490: The Fifth Man / Manning Coles (Berkley F88)

Paperback 490: Berkley Medallion F880 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: The Fifth Man
Author: Manning Coles
Cover artist: n/a

Yours for: $6


Best things about this cover:
  • OK, it's kind of dull, but what it lacks in the half-naked lady department it partially makes up for in the cool graphic design department.
  • I like the chess pieces as a visual representation of the title. Very clever. "Check mate." "But that's not even a..." "I SAID [gun cocking sound] 'check mate'."
  • I'm going to suggest that Tommy Hambledon is a lousy name for a hero (or a villain, or a person anyone might care to read about). Unless you play a mean pinball or design overpriced red white & blue mall clothes, if you are a grown man you should not go by "Tommy."


Best things about this back cover:
  • Great design, but that phrase doesn't exactly pop. There's just no menace to the word "portfolio."
  • Looking at Tommy Hambledon's other "adventures," I'm led to wonder why this book doesn't have the word "Today" in it.

Page 123~
"I am very much obliged to you, Superintendent," said Warren.

"Don't mention it. I am delighted to see you alive, Detective Inspector. I—we—began to think you weren't."

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Paperback 489: Madame / Ben Berkey (Kozy Books 161)

Paperback 489: Kozy Books K161 (PBO, 1962)

Title: Madame
Author: Ben Berkey
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • The German soliders were mesmerized by her astonishing shadow puppetry skills. "Oooh, that's a swan. Lovely."
  • Wow, those are some perfectly spherical, gravity-defying tits. And they're sprouting! Chia-Tits!
  • I love it when a stripper manages to coordinate her shoes and her pasties.
  • I like the blond G.I. Josef in the foreground. You know he's important because he's the only one sitting in a recliner.
  • I love the decor. They've painted the walls a lovely shade of Despair.


Best things about this back cover:

  • Ugh, this flaccid prose. Make it stop!
  • Wait, how did "passion" come before "desire?"— "I'm not really turned on yet, but if I just keep dry-humping you, I'm sure it'll come along."
  • Too much "seeming!"
    If you want to turn a guy on, try literally placing your lips inside his ear. Guaranteed not to creep him out and make him recoil in primal horror.
  • What did she say!?!?! Vickie!!!!! Speak up! Vickiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee! (you see how invested I am...)

Page 123~
At the barrier, Lettie Muller and Frank Killdare indulged in small talk, with the Lieutenant gone to talk to the guard, Killdare felt a trifle shy in her presence [1]. Certain incidents [2] that had occurred between them in the past [3] now came to the surface [4] with crystal clearness [5]. He had an uncomfortable feeling [6] that the girl also felt that way. He was soon to find that he had guessed right [7].
  • [1] Jeez, run-on much?
  • [2] I kill my students for this kind of vagueness, especially when said "incidents" are Never, Ever named, come on!
  • [3] Yes, that's when most events tend to have occurred.
  • [4] Of ...?
  • [5] In America, we say "clarity," but go on ...
  • [6] Not unlike what one feels reading this tone-deaf prose.
  • [7] "I often make girls feel uncomfortable, so the odds were in my favor, really," he said at the post-game press conference.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paperback 488: The Case of the Constant Suicides / John Dickson Carr (Berkley G-60)

Paperback 488: Berkley Books G-60 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: The Case of the Constant Suicides
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • Well, Dr. Gideon Fell, alright. Fell to his death!
  • Nobody painted Paperback Women better than Robert Maguire. Nobody. Nobody. I mean, this is some of his least interesting work, and it's still awesome. He also has the greatest paperback cover artist signature. Regular as hell. You could set your watch by that thing.
  • This is the story of one woman's painful obsession with the phallic tower that would not love her. Or her painful battle with head lice. Or her painful attempt to follow a rudimentary yoga DVD.


Best things about this back cover:
  • How 'bout people just stop staying there. Looks like a shit place to sleep, anyway. Case closed! You're welcome.
  • Coincidentally, I'm in the middle of an Agatha Christie novel right now. It's telling that she doesn't praise his writing, but his ability to baffle. I've heard 4-year-olds tell completely baffling stories.

Page 123~

"Angus might well consider himself, in the hard-headed Northern fashion, a useless encumbrance."

Poor Angus is "stony broke," "overwhelved (sic!) with debts," and has an ex-mistress named Elspat. She used to tease him about his "useless encumbrance." Hence *ex* mistress.


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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Paperback 487: The Shocking History of Advertising / E.S. Turner (Ballantine F 403 K)

Paperback 487: Ballantine Books F 403 K (1st ptg, 1960)

TitleThe Shocking History of Advertising
Author: E.S. Turner
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • The Shocking History Of Fonts!
  • What "tragic ailment" does the "Other Tragic Ailments" guy have? Besides the zits he has picked at, necessitating all the little bits of toilet tissue? I'm going to guess Massive Bald Oval Head Syndrome (MBOHS).
  • I'd be surprised if Dr. Scott's Electric Corset didn't sell by the truckload. I mean, look at that lady. That corset is clearly rocking her "vital organs" big time. I doubt it's a coincidence that "organs" looks a lot like "orgasm," and that the word is running right up her leg.
  • I want a T-shirt with that smoking rabbit head on it.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Blah blah blah too much text too many colors my head hurts. 
  • The integrated plug!? Sounds like an accessory for Dr. Scott's Electric Corset (plug sold separately).

Page 123~

Some excessively prudish criticisms of posters were voiced during this period. It is on record that even the Bovril bull was condemned by the town of Cork for the reason that it was too obviously a bull.

And thus I leave you with the image of massive bull schlong. You're welcome.


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Friday, December 9, 2011

Paperback 486: Falcons of France / Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall (Monarch 141)

Paperback 486: Monarch Books 141 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: Falcons of France
Author: Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $8


Best things about this cover:
  • Is this guy going to shoot down the enemy plane or make love to it? Dude is primping. He just needs a bottle of Courvoisier: "Ma chérie, you are about to feel my love guns ..."
  • Some of Target's early marketing campaigns were more successful than others.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Fokkers!
  • Spads!
  • Atlantic Bookshelf writes the kind of criticism that sounds profound but is actually completely empty. "Living and consequently better?" "Better ..." than? Than what!? Fokkers!

Page 123~

"Who's Papa Gouraud going to kiss?"

"Oh, quite a lot of you. Here's the list; you can read it for yourselves."

I don't even want to know.


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paperback 485: Rage in Heaven / James Hilton (Avon [39])

Paperback 485: Avon [39] (unnumbered) (1st ptg, 1943)

Title: Rage in Heaven
Author: James Hilton
Cover artist: Uncredited (I have "Gonzales" written on the tag ... don't know why)

Yours for: $14


Best things about this cover:
  • "Hey, nice uraeus" (try saying that to the next pretty lady you see — see where it gets you)
  • For a very early paperback, this one is unusually realistic (and sexy) in its depiction of the female form. You don't start seeing real GGA (Good/Great Girl Art) until the late '40s. In the early years of mass market paperbacks, the cover art tends to be more abstract, or more in the vein of magazine illustration. Paperbacks were still concerned with aligning themselves with good (i.e. edifying, or at least inoffensive) books. The selling power of the Lurid had not yet impressed itself on the paperback sellers of America. It didn't take long.
  • Looks like that soft shoe guy is getting zapped by the laser goggles of some space monster.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Shakespeare Head Say: Reading is GOOD for you.
  • Wartime book. Wartime message. 

Page 123~

She felt then that he, Ward, was her husband, and that Philip, weak and puny on the bed in the next room, was their child, whom they had watched over and tended together. 

That's some awkward role-playing game they've got going there.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paperback 484: Up From Slavery / Booker T. Washington (Pocket Books 80)

Paperback 484: Pocket Books 80 (1st ptg, 1940)

Title: Up From Slavery
Author: Booker T. Washington
Cover artist: N/A

Yours for: $10


Best things about this cover:
  • Is this a book about denim?
  • A good example of how deathly boring the packaging was on a lot of early paperbacks—and this is one of the earliest, Pocket Books having begun only a year earlier in 1939.
  • One thing this book does have going for it is its condition—a little Perma-gloss peeling, a little scuffing, but other than that, square and bright and barely (if ever) read.


Best things about this back cover:
  • More aesthetic austerity measures
  • I sort of like this incarnation of the Pocket kangaroo—they're pushing the books-are-good-for-you angle here with the intellectual, bespectacled 'roo. Later incarnations will look younger, have better eyesight (the better to appreciate the more lurid covers)

Page 123~

From the first I have sought to impress the students with the idea that Tuskegee is not my institution, or that of the officers, but that it is their institution, and that they have as much interest in it as any of the trustees or instructors.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Paperback 483: The Gay Detective / Lou Rand (Saber SA-18)

Paperback 483: Saber Books SA-18 (PBO, 1961)

Title: The Gay Detective
Author: Lou Rand
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $100


Best things about this cover: 
  • Not sure how legible the cover copy is, so I'll transcribe: "Francis and Tiger [!!!!!!!!!!!! ... ?] had found out what they needed to know. The trick now was to get the nude Vivien out of the bathhouse [!] and to safety."
  • Of all Vivien's failed attempts to get a man, this one was perhaps the most spectacular.
  • The bathhouse employed the most strapping and vigilant head lice police the world had ever known.
  • Come on, even the queerest of the queer aren't going to be able to stomach that much pink.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Have we seen Saber get biblical before!? This is perhaps my favorite of Sanford Aday's responses to the legal harassment his business was suffering in the late-50s / early 60s. 

Page 123~

The man is—we heard many times—a muscular masochist and confines his pleasures to young and attractive men.

"We heard many times" — that's what happens when you keep asking witnesses to "tell us the one about the muscular masochist again!"


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