Friday, February 26, 2016

Paperback 925: The Thin Man / Dashiell Hammett (Perma Books M4202)

Paperback 925: Perma Books M4202 (1st ptg, 1961)

Title: The Thin Man
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Estimated value: $15-20 (perfect, square, bright)

Best things about this cover:
  • Nick looks like I feel these days. "Fuck all this. Where's the bar?"
  • The color shading on this is all kinds of weird. Conventional figurative art that looks like it's been cut out of a magazine by an 8-year-old and then glued into the white rectangle.
  • Joey Backwards chair is explaining certain anatomical facts about himself to Millie Sweetgams, much to her amusement.
  • ASTA!

 Best things about this back cover:
  • Bah. Same.
  • Cover is cropped weird. Very close to lopping off lettering on the left.
  • "When you were wrestling with Mimi [!?] didn't you get excited." "Oh, a little." Man, between front and back covers, you'd think "The Thin Man" were subtitled "All About Boners."

Page 123~

"Good God, no! She hates men more than any woman I've ever known who wasn't a Lesbian."

Sorry, fans of movie-Nick. Didn't mean to startle you with book-Nick's dickishness. Mix a cocktail and drink until you forget you ever read the above quote.


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Friday, February 19, 2016

Paperback 924: Night Walk / Elizabeth Daly (Berkley F811)

Paperback 924: Berkley F811 (1st ptg, 1963)

Title: Night Walk
Author: Elizabeth Daly
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $No Idea—it's sharp and unread, so maybe $10-15 (the prices here are ridiculous)

Best things about this cover:
  • Lindsay refused to play the final movement of the piano concerto—but why!? Somebody call Henry Gamadge. . . What do you mean, 'Who?'
  • She's either zombie-walking in traffic or contemplating jumping out of a lighthouse. Her face is giving nothing away.
  • I confess to being a little bit in love here. When a youthful Elizabeth Montgomery in a powder blue sweater set and perfectly flipped hair stares you dead in the eye with a look that promises nothing specific but everything mysterious ... you go. You drop what you're doing and go. "Fuck it, I'm in," you say.
Best things about this back cover:
  • Frazer Mills, LOL. That is one great made-up bucolic-sounding non-urban place name right there.
  • Mmm, Miss Bluett. I imagine that's the lady on the front cover. Definitely a plausible town librarian. Also, very Blue (tt).
  • No, sorry, Garston is not a name.

Page 123~

"Young people get acquainted rapidly nowadays." He poured drinks.

This is one of my favorite "Page 123"s. A very, very civilized euphemism.


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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Paperback 923: Crime-Craft / ed. Anthony Boucher (Corgi S488)

Paperback 923: Corgi S 488 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Crime-Craft—as demonstrated in fifteen topline stories by The Mystery Writers of America
Editor: Anthony Boucher
Cover artist: Oliver Brabbins

Estimated value: $30

Best things about this cover:
  • My kingdom for a corgi who fetches books
  • That is possibly the most generic hard-boiled face of all time
  • Angry Military Dude's Face, brought to you by Nike
  • This book is gorgeous, bright, square ... and English. How it ended up in the US, at a university book sale, I do not know.

Best things about this back cover:
  • That is ... pretty low-frills
  • The one thing this bland back cover does is highlight how nice that Corgi logo is
  • Look for the Corgi dog ... which you will be able to identify as a Corgi only by the proximity of the letters "C O R G I," so ... look for those too.

Page 123~ (from "The Fuzzy Things" by D.B. Olsen)

"Keep the child's ears covered," Miss Rachel told Dorothy. She met Mr. Thackley's frantic stare. "The sea cliff," she said softly.

This is some creepy, gothic stuff. Also, that last sentence is pretty, in a lilting, iambic kind of way. "'The sea cliff,' she said, softly...."


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Monday, February 8, 2016

Paperback 922: Scandal at High Chimneys / John Dickson Carr (Bantam A2155)

Paperback 922: Bantam A2155 (1st ptg, 1960)

Title: Scandal at High Chimneys
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Stanley Zuckerberg

Estimated value: $7-12

Best things about this cover:
  • You know she's a vampire 'cause you can't see her butt crack in the mirror.
  • Seriously, I love love love this cover. It's like she got caught going at it with the carriage driver, so she grabbed his uniform to protect herself from the prurient eyes of "sanctimonious Victorian London," only to re-eroticize the whole shebang by standing with her backside to the mirror like that. It's a metaphor for (alleged) Victorian prudishness—an injunction to cover up that only ends up foregrounding the whole naughty business.
  • Is that a cane? It's ... quite long. And yes, that is what she said.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Bats!
  • World's creepiest author close-up: "Mmmm. Fly my pretty bats, fly."
  • Ablest was I ere I saw Tselba.

Page 123~

"Bale up, grandpa! What's a yard o' white satin among friends?"

I'm begging you, pleading with you, to make "Bale up, grandpa!" the "Where's the beef?" of 2016.


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Friday, February 5, 2016

Paperback 921: Nine and Death Makes Ten / Carter Dickson (Pocket Books 335)

Paperback 921: Pocket Books 335 (2nd ptg, 1946)

Title: Nine and Death Makes Ten
Author: Carter Dickson
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $12-17 (condition: stunning, unread)

Best things about this cover:
  • Amazing Moon-Skull almost makes up for terrible, awkward title that sounds like somebody counting change.
  • Somehow, the cursive-script author name following the contours of the cranium reads Adorable. Rules of Pictorial Menace, #28—never make your death skull wear a cute word hat!
  • This book is in near-perfect condition. Slight fraying of the perma-gloss is the only sign of wear. Bright and tight and shiny, like it wasn't anywhere close to 70 bleeping years old!

Best things about this back cover:
  • Again with the problematic naming. Good luck stopping me laughing with a ship name like "Edwardic!"
  • "Douse that light!" sounds like the title of an Edwardian rap anthem.
  • I shared this book with my UPS guy. I hope that was OK.

Page 123~

"I want you to stop actin' the fool," continued H.M., calmly sighting with another quoit ... 

Carter Dickson is not wasting all those hours of nautical terminology research, so suck it up, landlubbers.


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