I usually try to find a good reason for posting vintage fronts on this page, even if the only rationale is that the particular book’s title or art fits into some theme I’m interested in at the time. Such conscientiousness, though, often stops me from showcasing covers I like, but can’t find a credible excuse for posting. Therefore, I have finally decided to inaugurate a regular feature here called “Friday Finds.” Books meriting inclusion in this series will be offered context-free, chosen simply because they caught my eye and I think others will enjoy them as well. I’ll try to provide links to reviews of the books and cover-art credits whenever possible.
Today’s premiere offering: 2 Guns for Hire (Gold Medal, 1959), by “Neil MacNeil,” a pseudonym used by Cleveland, Ohio-born author W.T. (Willis Todhunter) Ballard (1903-1980).
This was the third of MacNeil’s seven novels featuring Tony Costaine and Bert McCall, a series that Mystery*File says “was never a major hit, [but offered] … highly entertaining superior light private-eye fiction much in the mood and style of such popular series as 77 Sunset Strip and Peter Gunn on
television. Costaine and McCall are the epitome of the cool, hip, buttoned-down P.I.s of the period, distilled through the Rat Pack school of middle-aged hipster, a group of slick eyes that rode the wave between Mike Hammer and James
Sadly, I don’t find any credit for the cover artist. If anyone out there can identify who painted this artwork, please let me know in the Comments section below.
READ MORE: “W.T. Ballard: An Interview,” by Stephen Mertz