Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pub Call



Anyone familiar with this page knows that I tend to favor vintage book covers over old magazine fronts. But I have to confess, the blog Pulp Covers has been pretty much on fire lately as it’s showcased beautiful, long-ago painted façades from copies of Detective Yearbook, Police Detective, Line-up Detective, and assorted other crime-oriented publications. Two of the offerings from that collection are posted here: the 1951 Detective Annual (above), with a cover story—“Blood Money Buys a Party Girl’s Kiss”—that should have made it a candidate for my 2012 gallery of “kiss covers”; and the February 1949 edition of Best True Fact Detective (below), promoting a story with one hell of a brilliant title, “The Two-Timing Blonde Goes for a One-Way Ride.” While Pulp Covers doesn’t identify the artist in either of these cases, I’ll forgive it such omissions as long as it keeps adding to this string of winning pub fronts.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rap Party Bonus: “Towards Zero”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Our commemoration of The Rap Sheet’s 10th anniversary was supposed to end yesterday—the actual landmark date—when the count reached number one. But I couldn’t resist showcasing an extra paperback front. So here you go!



Towards Zero, by Agatha Christie (Cardinal, 1959).
Illustration by Robert K. Abbett.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rap Party: “The Case of the One-Eyed Witness”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



The Case of the One-Eyed Witness, by Erle Stanley Gardner (Cardinal, 1959). Illustration by Darrel Greene.

Th-the-th-th-that’s all folks! To learn more about The Rap Sheet’s landmark 10th anniversary, simply click here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Rap Party: “Two for the Road”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



Two for the Road, by Gerald Kramer, aka Jerry Weil (Midwood, 1967). Illustration by Paul Rader.

Nine down, just one more to go ...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rap Party: “Three for the Money”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



Three for the Money, by W.T. Ballard (Permabooks, 1963).
Illustration by Harry Bennett.

Eight down, two more to go ...

SEE MORE: Thanks to Art Scott, co-author of The Art of Robert E. McGinnis, we also have a bonus “three” cover. Take a peek here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rap Party: “The Fatal Foursome”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



The Fatal Foursome, by Frank Kane (Dell, 1958).
Illustration by Victor Kalin.

Seven down, three more to go ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rap Party: “Five O’Clock Surgeon”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



Five O’Clock Surgeon, by Dorothy Pierce Walker (Pocket 1950).
Illustration by George Porter.

Six down, four more to go ...

(Editor’s note: It was rather difficult deciding which “five” cover to use today. We’d already employed a number of them in a post commemorating Killer Covers’ fifth anniversary earlier this year. And then there was this 1951 magazine front, which merited consideration, as well.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rap Party: “Six Criminal Women”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



Six Criminal Women, by Elizabeth Jenkins (Pan, 1958).
Illustration by Sam “Peff” Peffer.

Five down, five more to go ...

Two-fer Tuesdays: Beasts Within

A twice-monthly pairing of book covers that just seem to go together. Click on either of these images to open up an enlargement.



Strange Abominable Snowmen. Really, some bright bulb thought it necessary to add the adjective “Strange” to the title of a book about the giant Yeti and his equally legendary, hirsute cousin, Bigfoot? As if “Strange” wasn’t already quite obvious?

I don’t usually remark on works about the supernatural, monsters, and other creeps that go crawling through the night (and through the human imagination), but this pair of images has been sitting in my computer files for some while, screaming for attention. I held off only because I haven’t been able to find out much about either title. 1970’s Strange Abominable Snowmen, a Popular Library paperback, was produced by Iowa writer Warren Smith (1931-2003). Wikipedia says the book “claimed to offer scientific proof as to the existence of Bigfoot,” much of it provided by a “‘Major Stoyanow,’ who allegedly came into contact with a Bigfoot and relayed the information.” However, this post about Brad Steiger—another Iowan interested in the pseudoscience of cryptozoology, with whom Smith co-wrote several books under the pseudonym Eric Norman—contends that Strange Abominable Snowmen “is partially fictionalized.” (Under the Norman guise, Steiger had previously penned another book, 1969’s The Abominable Snowmen, but the authenticity of that one doesn’t seem as broadly questioned.) Unfortunately, the artist behind Strange Abominable Snowmen’s cover illustration isn’t identified, and the original painting is said to have been lost for decades, until it suddenly turned up in a yard sale back in 2014.

A bit more is known about our second book under consideration today, Nights with Sasquatch, by John Cotter and Judith Frankle (Berkley, 1977). This is not your usual yarn dealing with unlikely sightings of hominid-like creatures, mysterious beings that appear in America’s Pacific Northwest only long enough to be hastily photographed and leave scattered footprints behind. The cover line here promises “an explosive ordeal of rape and revenge beyond any woman’s experience.” Fortunately, Nights with Sasquatch is a novel. Here’s the back-cover description of its plot:
Does Sasquatch exist? The terrifying truth behind the ancient legend. A team of young scientists sets out to explore the Northwest Mountains. Both John Cotter and Judith Frankle were trained level-headed observers with liberated views on life and love. Until they confronted Sasquatch—a half-human monster who claimed Judith as his captive mate. This is the explosive novel of a woman forced to endure barbaric, sexual lusts beyond any human experience. And a man driven by revenge.
Again, the art fronting Nights with Sasquatch isn’t credited. Which, I think you’ll agree, is hardly the strangest aspect of this book.

READ MORE:Some Enchanted Evening … You May Meet a Yeti,” by Mimi Hall (Mimsywords).

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rap Party: “Seven Hungry Men!”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



Seven Hungry Men!, by Lionel White (Rainbow, 1952).
Illustration by George Gross.

Four down, six more to go ...

(Hat tip to Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rap Party: “One Minute Past Eight”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



One Minute Past Eight, by George Harmon Coxe (Dell, 1960).
Illustration by Robert Maguire.

Three down, seven more to go ...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rap Party: “The Nine Tailors”

Toasting The Rap Sheet’s first decade with a cover countdown.



The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy L. Sayers (Four Square UK, 1959).
Illustration by Edward Mortelmans.

Two down, eight more to go ...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rap Party: “Ten Days’ Wonder”

This month marks a full 10 years since I launched my award-winning crime-fiction blog, The Rap Sheet. The actual date on which that anniversary becomes official is May 22—now 10 days away. As part of the celebration, I’ve decided to count down each day between now and then using a series of handsome vintage covers.

Let’s begin with Clark Hulings’ beautifully painted cover for the 1957 Pocket paperback edition of Ten Days’ Wonder. The 19th novel to feature New York City amateur sleuth Ellery Queen, it was written by cousins Manfred B. Lee and Frederic Dannay under the Queen pseudonym, and originally saw print in 1948.



One down, nine more to go ...

FOLLOW-UP:The Rap Sheet: 10 Years in the Making,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Better Red


Redheaded Sinners, by Jonathan Craig (Lancer, 1952). Sadly, the artist responsible for this work is not identified.

The recent release of Max Allan Collins’ Better Dead—the 16th novel in his award-winning series starring private eye Nathan “Nate” Heller, set primarily in 1953—reminds us of a popular Cold War slogan. “Better dead than red” and its philosophical opposite, “better red than dead,” were once frequently heard and published, back in the days when the United States’ World War II alliance of necessity with the Soviet Union (the “reds”) had collapsed, and Western fears of Communism were rampant. Although “better dead than red” apparently persists as “a schoolyard taunt aimed at redhaired children,” it has otherwise fallen out of currency. Except in stories, such as Better Dead, that take place during the Eisenhower era.

But let us resurrect the phrase, if only for a moment, in order to exhibit a gallery of vintage paperback fronts that reference redheaded figures. There have been, of course, myriad covers released over the years featuring beautiful scarlet-tressed women (including this one and this one, as well as this one and this beauty). In putting together the collection below, though, I have restricted my choices to works on which the word “redhead” (or some version of that) appears either in the title or the main teaser line. Represented among these selections are such artists as Robert McGinnis (A Redhead for Mike Shayne, Operation Fireball, Killer Mine, Wanted: Danny Fontaine), Ron Lesser (Fatal Undertaking), Harry Schaare (5 Who Vanished, How Sharp the Point), Robert Maguire (The Case of the Radioactive Redhead, To Keep or Kill), Clark Hulings (Never Victorious, Never Defeated), William George (The Frightened Fingers), Barye Phillips (Until You Are Dead), and Harry Barton (The Squeeze and 1961’s Squeeze Play—with an image that latter appeared on 1964’s The Swimming Pool Set). I venture to say that no sane individual would rather be dead than have the opportunity to appreciate these tributes to redheads.

Click on any of the covers here to open an enlargement.