Saturday, April 19, 2014

Panic in the Sheets

In November of last year (was it really that long ago?), I featured on this page a pairing of two covers from vintage paperbacks--Day Keene’s Dead in Bed and Ed Lacy’s Sin in Their Blood--that showed women reclined and notably deceased on bedsheets. I wasn’t aware at the time how common such a motif was in crime fiction. Since then, though, I have been collecting other examples of book-front art that show beds as risky places, rather than restful ones.

The cover above, for instance, comes from the 1949 Signet softcover edition of Bill S. Ballinger’s The Body in the Bed (1948), the first of his two books starring Chicago private investigator Barr Breed. (Breed’s second outing came in The Body Beautiful, released in 1949.) Unfortunately, the artwork decorating this Signet release is uncredited. That’s not the case for most of the fronts below, which carry illustrations by Victor Kalin, Robert McGinnis, Robert K. Abbett, Robert Schulz, Roger Kastel, and others.

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

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