Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meese’s Mystery Maiden

James Meese’s illustrations became familiar on crime novels and other works of fiction during the mid-20th century. As I’ve noted on this page before, he took on the assignments to create fronts for works by Gil Brewer, Sax Rohmer, Raymond Chandler, and many other vintage writers. But one thing I hadn’t noticed before was that many of his cover works seem to feature the same woman.

“[S]he appears again and again in various guises,” writes Bryan in the blog Vintage Paperback Cover Art, “but [is] always recognizable--tall, brunette, with sharp, somewhat chiseled, vaguely exotic features. Quite the mystery woman, and quite the beauty ... does anyone know who she was?”

I’m afraid I do not have the answer. But perhaps some sharp-eyed Killer Covers reader can put a name to this famous but unknown face.

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Speaking of conundrums, Leif Peng of Today’s Inspiration has recently posted four galleries of uncredited covers, some taken from crime-fiction classics, and asked readers to help identify their artists. Again, any help in this matter would be appreciated.

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