Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Two-fer Tuesdays: Make Up Your Mind, Already!

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

Ian Fleming’s Live and Let Die, his second novel starring British secret agent James Bond (after Casino Royale), was originally published in a UK hardcover edition in June 1954. The cover shown above and on left comes from the Permabooks paperback version of that Jamaica-set tale, and was released to bookstores two years later, in 1956. The blog Absolutely James Bond suggests that its illustration--by the prolific James Meese--“may have created controversy at that time as it depicts a white man (Bond) and a white woman ([fortune teller] Solitaire) in chains at the hands of a Black man (Mr. Big).” If so, times certainly have changed, because it seems remarkable nowadays only for the fact that we don’t usually see Fleming’s Agent 007 depicted in such a compromised state.

On the right, meanwhile, we find the front from Live and Let Live, the retitled, 1955 Pocket Books edition of Chesley Wilson’s 1954 novel, Swing Full Circle. There’s apparently no identification of who painted the cover of this paperback (I don’t own this work myself), but the plot description on the book’s rear reads:
From the strong-arm propositions of trigger-happy Commies to the shameless offers of escape-crazy young girls--Tully Sheldon was ready for anything when he took over a World Relief ship on the corrupt China Coast.

Sheldon resisted every bribe--till Alia, the seductive White Russian, led him through Shanghai’s labyrinth of Oriental pleasures.
Or, as the top-front teaser maintains, “She was his--if he could hold her.” If anybody out there has read this novel and knows whether its story lives up to such hype, I’d love to hear about it.

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