Friday, May 24, 2024

Paperback 1082: Murder is My Racket / Robert H. Leitfred (Tech Mysteries No. 2)

Paperback 1082: Tech Mysteries No. 2 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: Murder is My Racket
Author: Robert H. Leitfred
Cover artist: [Uncredited]

Condition: 8/10
Value: $20

[Autumn Leaves, Ithaca, NY (May 2024)—my first "Tech Mystery" (never even heard of this publisher)]

Best things about this cover: 
  • These cheap digests often have dull covers, but this one's got a floating eye, a mystery hand that appears to have been in a bad accident, a very ribbony ribbon of smoke coming from a freshly fired gun, a jauntily multi-fonted title, and a color scheme that's bright as springtime. Plus the book is square and clean and the publisher is brand new to my collection. Win after win after win.
  • Don't look at that hand too long, though. It's like a practice hand from an art school class, one where the artist couldn't decide whether to make it dirty or hairy and so kinda split the difference. Dirty/Hairy!
  • Artist got a lot of expression into that half eyeball. Very furrowed eyelid. Wait, is that even an eye? Again, don't look at it too long. It's starting to look like a sunrise or a sunset or a cave or a slug-like behemoth inching its way across the horizon of a Surrealist landscape, look away! Oh god, it's on the spine!

Let's move on to less scary ... oh god!

Best things about this back cover: 
  • Aw, he's a cute little guy.
  • Instantly one of the best logos in paperback history. Too bad they couldn't think of anything to do with it but drown it in a sea of pink.
  • I don't really get the "Tech" angle, especially not in 1949, especially with no discernible "tech" in sight. 
Page 123~
"This building here," pointed McQuarg.
I thought I'd seen all the "said" substitutes, but "pointed," wow, did not see that coming. Nice work, McQuarg.


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DemetriosX said...

I wonder if what's going on with the hand is that it's been excerpted from a larger illustration. The stuff on the left that goes outside the line of the hand could be artifacts from a bigger picture.

Maybe Tech should be Tec, as in deTECtive. I think it's heyday as a slang term had passed by the post-War years, but it might have still been reasonably current.

So is the snake or the eye the logo? I like the snake better, but the eye fits better on the spine. At least one other mystery publisher had an eye logo, right? Looking through a magnifying glass?

Anonymous said...

Dell had the 👁️ through keyhole logo