Monday, May 27, 2024

Paperback 1083: Death Wears a Green Hat / Will Creed (Five Star Mystery 42)

 Paperback 1083: Five Star Mystery 42 (PBO, 1946)

Title: Death Wears a Green Hat
Author: Will Creed
Cover artist: [Uncredited]

Condition: 7/10
Value: $20-25

[Autumn Leaves Bookstore, Ithaca, NY, May 2024]

Best things about this cover: 
  • Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio—he was a ring-a-ding cat! Always quick with a smile. A little on the thin side...
  • Another digest-sized paperback, another publisher I've never heard of. New-to-me publishers always hold huge appeal.
  • There's a line in Elvis Costello's "Tokyo Storm Warning" that goes "Death wears a big hat / 'Cause he's a big bloke"; the ability to speak pulp fluently is something I've always admired in the guy.
  • Skeletons are funny—scary (see the end of Psycho, for instance) but put a hat on one (or a scarf, or a feather boa), and instant silliness
  • The background pattern here has me hungry for waffles (an everyday feeling, just a little moreso)
Best things about this back cover: 
  • Y'all, this guy cannot write. Or the guy at the publishing house who does the back cover copy cannot write. Somebody cannot write. This prose is punishing. You have to ride that opening prepositional phrase forEver before you have any idea of what that sentence is doing grammatically. And the idea of Hal "watching" with "silent terror" as "suspicions" "reach out for him, closer and closer"... I mean, zombies reaching out for you, sure, I get it, but "suspicions"? 
  • "Closer and closer they came, reaching out for him..." "OMG what's coming closer, what's reaching out for him!?" "Uh ... suspicions." "...Oh, come on!" "No, wait, where are you going? ...  they're really gruesome suspicions, I swear—big teeth and green hats and everything. Aw, come back and let me finish my terrifying story!"
  • "Nerve-shredding enjoyment!" Because you're bored with mere "face-smashing whimsy!" and want something new in your keen-edged horror!

Page 123~
Dear Hal, I know that of all the people that knew Adrian, you must have known him best. He wasn't always admirable, but no man needs to die the way Adrian died, just because he cannot always live the way his heart means to act. I must talk to you. I walked over to talk to you after I had been to Inspector Day's tonight, and, well, you weren't there. I was lost, for I had to talk. In my mind has been growing for some time the most frightful suspicion. But we're old friends and I must see you. And the more I think of it, and think of the person involved under the circumstances in which Adrian died, I become more and more certain of my guess. I have to see you, Hal; we must talk this out together. No matter what time you get this, phone me at once. I'll be waiting for your call. I cannot imagine where you have gone at this time of night. Valerie.
Well thank god this isn't an epistolary novel because I'm not sure I couldn't taken one more sentence. I'd rather read all of Clarissa than one more of Valerie's "I must talk to you I walked over to talk to you I had to talk we must talk this out where are you you seem to be in a different place from where I am currently looking" ramble-fests.


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1 comment:

DemetriosX said...

Waffles, huh? To me that background looks like the tiles we have behind our stove, except ours are blue. Jaunty hat, though.

The back cover copy had me wondering if this novel was going to be "frank." It's bad, but the page 123 stuff is even worse. I hope the rest of it isn't like that.