Sunday, April 21, 2013

Paperback 632: Tell It To the Birds / James Hadley Chase (Pocket Books 77764)

Paperback 632: Pocket Books 77764 (1st ptg, 1974)

Title: Tell It To the Birds
Author: James Hadley Chase
Cover artist: photo cover

Yours for: $12


Best things about this cover:
  • You've got a little spinach in your teeth  there ... on your right ... *your* right ... here, I'm a mirror ... that's it.
  • The '70s brought us a lot of wacky mail-order products: Ginsu knives, Mr. Microphone, and, of course, SureShot, the all-in-one handgun/hairdryer: "SureShot: It'll Blow Your Hair Away!"
  • Don't laugh at the "blood." It took a bunch of industrious 7th graders a long time to make that "blood."
  • "We should superimpose the bloody hand onto her hair, because that would ... suggest ... ah fuck it, who cares *why*, just do it!"
  • I don't have a lot of '70s paperbacks in my collection, but I'm thinking of moving in that direction—they have none of the beauty of the fully painted covers of the '40s-mid-'60s, but they have a Cheese Factor of a million, which I can also admire.


Best things about this back cover:
  •  Is he wearing an orchid!? Because of his novel No Orchids For Miss Blandish??? Man, that is foppish in extremis.
  • Meg Barlowe spoonerizes to Beg Marlowe, which is what Maddox should've done if he wanted to know how to be a real fucking detective.
  • I have not read Chase. I do not hear good things. Hence, I have not read Chase.
  • Center page of this book is a cigarette ad on stiff paper—Kent cigarettes on one side, Kent Menthol on the others. The cigarette ad insert is a not uncommon feature of cheap '70s thrillers.

Page 123~

"She kept the house like a pig sty. If a woman really loves her husband, she makes an effort to keep his home decent."

Well, now we know whom she shot and why.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]


Tulse said...

I could understand the hand being the foreground, but superimposing it with the hair really does make it seem like she's being petted by a stabbed giant.

Jean said...

That looks like an iris to me, but it's hard to tell! Either way it's hideous as a buttonhole.

Karl said...

I remember those cigarette ads in 70s paperbacks. And I remember thinking (as a perhaps not-too-bright kid), "WTF? Oh well, I'm sure they made this so it will tear out cleanly if you just give it a good yank..." (They didn't; they made them so they'd rip up the pages of your book if you tried to yank them out.)

Also, "Maddox was the sharpest man in the insurance claims business" -- therefor he was able to perceive the screamingly obvious. I take it that the less-sharp men in the insurance claims business need help with eating and tying their shoes.

DemetriosX said...

I'd have said she was biting a hangnail, but yeah her expression is so many different kinds of wrong. And that author photo! Definitely a Percy Dovetonsils/Leonard Pinth-Garnell thing.

Thinking back to 70s paperbacks, the best art is probably going to be on science fiction and fanatsy (but not a lot of sexy dames). IIRC, most mysteries and thrillers went for a ton of text on a solid color and still life vaguely associated with the story. I don't know about mainstream or "adult" books, but I bet photo covers predominated in the latter category.

D.A. Trappert said...

I have read five or six of his books, including No Orchids for Miss Blandish, which is a classic. Chase is fun to read, once you put aside any expectation of realism, or knowledge of American geography, or pretty much anything else logical. The plot just races along with one awful thing happening after another, and you can't help but stay along for the ride.