Sunday, April 30, 2017

Paperback 989: Once Upon a Dreadful Time / ed. Alfred Hitchcock (Dell 6622)

Paperback 989: Dell 6622 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: (Alfred Hitchcock's) Once Upon a Dreadful Time (Dell 6622)
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Cover artist: Banbury (one name! stylish)

Estimated value: $8-10
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Alas, poor Hitchcock...
  • Nice self-sideeye
  • Not sure why he's hiding a skull ... from ... himself ... but I'll admit it all looks super-cool.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Donald Westlake completists will want to be sure to pick this up
  • Contributors are indeed exclusively male. Women wrote a lot of horror / crime / suspense stories, so the men-only thing here is at least a little weird.
  • The whole Hal Ellson / Hal Elison thing is so weird that his name is spelled both ways in this book (in table of contents, it's ELLSON—which is correct. Here's the NYT also getting it wrong in 1955). And then there's this, from wikipedia:
Harlan Ellison cites Ellson's work as having inspired his own interest in juvenile delinquency — an interest which led directly to the writing of Ellison's first novel, Web of the City. Ellison has also stated that in the earliest days of his career as a writer, he was often mistaken for Ellson writing under a pseudonym — and that decades later, when Ellison had become much more known and Ellson's career had waned, Ellson was often mistaken for Ellison writing under a pseudonym.
 Page 123~ (from "Anatomy of an Anatomy" by Donald Westlake)

At three o'clock on the dot, she heard a thump from above, and knew it was the head.

Westlake is just a champ and that's all there is to it.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Paperback 988: The Trail of Fu Manchu / Sax Rohmer (Pyramid R-1003)

Paperback 988: Pyramid R-1003 (1st ptg, 1964)

Title: The Trail of Fu Manchu
Author: Sax Rohmer
Cover artist: Robert Maguire (credited as "Bob Maguire")

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Psst, guys, he's up there ... up ... to your right ... your ... my left ... up ...
  • "I say, old man, is he in there?" "I'm afraid not." "Perhaps if you put down your brolly..." "No, I think not." "Well, we've done all we can. Tea?"
  • This cover has all the drama and suspense of two dapper gents opening a green box.
  • I like the inverted male gaze here—instead of two guys ogling naked lady statues, we have naked lady statues ogling two guys.
  • It's not one of Maguire's more memorable covers, but Maguire is Maguire is Maguire; I'll take it.
  • My wife got me this book at The Last Bookstore in L.A., which sounds Uh-mazing.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Blah blah pulp cliche / orientalist nonsense
  • But Nay!
  • This was quite the franchise. I have never read any of these. Wonder if it's worth it...

Page 123~

"We are in part of the workings of an abandoned Thames tunnel. We are together because . . . we are going to die together."

See, I know I'm supposed to be rapt by the dramatic final utterance here, but all I can think of is "Why the hell is 'part of the workings of' in that first sentence!? Do you enjoy murdering sentences? Do You!?"


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