Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Lesser Look: “The Judas Gun”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



The Judas Gun, by Wayne D. Overholser (Dell, 1961).

The Lesser Look: Deep Impacts

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.

During the course of my original interview with Ron Lesser, this last April, I asked him whether there were any specific artists who had been particularly influential on his work. He quickly responded, “Norman Rockwell.” Shortly thereafter, though, he e-mailed me a list of “other artists that I really love,” noting in his introduction to it that “I will not mention living illustrators for reasons you can assume.” Below is Lesser’s list, with his comments.


A Law for the Lion, by Louis Auchincloss (Signet, 1954), with cover art by Stanley Zuckerberg; Murder in Monaco, by John Flagg (Gold Medal, 1957), with an illustration by Bob Peak.

Illustrators:
Stanley Zuckerberg—very underrated. I believe he was the best illustrator/artist making paperback covers during the very “painty” period of the 1940s through the ’60s. Also James Avati [who had a] similar style, but [there was] no one better than Zuckerberg.
Joe Bowler and Coby Whitmore. I used to look in the large window of the Charles E. Cooper Studio, which was east of the Art Students League, and admire these excellent illustrators.
Frank McCarthy, who was with Fredman-Chaite Studios, along Bob Peak; and I believe Bernie Fuchs was there as well.

Before this group there was Dean Cornwell, who was a huge influence on [my teacher] Frank J. Reilly.
Harold von Schmidt. I used his son for some of my Western paintings.
Tom Lovell—an incredible artist, none better.
N.C. Wyeth, also marvelous.
Frederic Remington.

19th-century artists:
Frederic Leighton and Jules Joseph Lefebvre—it was these artists I was studying when I had the [New York Metropolitan Museum of Art] open its vault. I was with Reilly at this time.
Also William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Maybe among the very best artists of all time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Quarry in the Middle”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Quarry in the Middle, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime, 2009). This is the eighth entry in Collins’ series featuring a randy, peripatetic hit man known only as Quarry.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Lesser Look: “The Trouble with Lazy Ethel”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



The Trouble with Lazy Ethel (Ballantine, 1970), by Lincoln, Nebraska-born aviator-turned-author Ernest K. Gann.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Dead Heat”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Dead Heat, by Richard S. Prather (Pocket, 1967). Part of Prather’s long-running Shell Scott private-eye series.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Tomorrow Is Murder”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Tomorrow Is Murder, by “Carter Brown,” aka Alan Geoffrey Yates (Signet, 1968). This is one of Brown’s dozen novels starring “ravishingly beautiful” but slightly ditzy gumshoe Mavis Seidlitz.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Lesser Look: “The April Robin Murders”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



The April Robin Murders, by Craig Rice and Ed McBain (Dell, 1965). This was Rice’s final novel, left unfinished at the time of her death in 1957, at age 49. The book was ultimately completed by Evan Hunter under his “Ed McBain” alias.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Lesser Look: “The Quick Red Fox”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



The Quick Red Fox, by John D. MacDonald (Fawcett Gold Medal, 1964). This is the fourth entry in MacDonald’s Travis McGee series. The main cover art is by Ron Lesser, but the inset portrait of McGee was done by John McDermott.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Heller with a Gun”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Heller with a Gun, by Louis L’Amour (Fawcett Gold Medal, 1969). This novel served as the basis for Heller in Pink Tights, a 1960 Western film starring Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Target for Their Dark Desire”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Target for Their Dark Desire, by “Carter Brown,” aka Alan Geoffrey Yates (Signet, 1966). This is one of Brown’s many novels starring Al Wheeler, a sheriff’s homicide investigator who operates in fictional Pine County, California, near Los Angeles.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Beware the Curves”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Beware the Curves, by “A.A. Fair,” aka Erle Stanley Gardner (Pocket, 1966). This is the 15th book in Gardner’s series featuring mismatched Los Angeles private eyes Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. Ron Lesser created the cover for at least one other Cool and Lam novel, Bats Fly at Dusk.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Lesser Look: “The Third Spectre”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



The Third Spectre, by “Dan Ross,” one of several pseudonyms used by Canadian writer W.E.D. Ross (Macfadden, 1967).

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Of All the Bloody Cheek”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Of All the Bloody Cheek, by Frank McAuliffe (Ballantine, 1965). This was the first volume in McAuliffe’s series starring master of disguise and hit man Augustus Mandrell.

READ MORE: Detectives Beyond Borders blogger Peter Rozovsky has composed a number of interesting posts about McAuliffe and Mandrell, all of which can be found here.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Luciano’s Luck”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Luciano’s Luck, by Jack Higgins (Dell, 1981). The woman on the knife is one of Lesser’s favorite models, Jane Minion.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Count Me In”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



Count Me In, by Fan Nichols (Macfadden, 1969). Nichols (married name: Frances Nichols Hanna) concocted romance and crime novels during the mid-20th century. Among her other books were Be Silent, Love, One by One, and The Loner.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Lesser Look: “All My Lovers”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.



All My Lovers, by “Alan Marshall” (Midwood, 1959). Donald E. Westlake wrote several novels for Midwood under the Marshall pseudonym, and this was one of them. In fact, All My Lovers is recorded as Westlake’s first novel, released long before his “official” debut with 1960’s The Mercenaries (aka The Cutie).