Another in our growing line of vintage book covers we love.
Bitter Ending, by Alexander Irving (Dell, 1949).
Illustration by F. Kenwood Giles.
According to this post in the Mystery*File blog, “Alexander Irving” was a male nom de plume behind which labored two female writers, Anne Fahrenkopf (1921-2006) and Ruth Fox (1922-1980). Bitter Ending appears to have been their first collaborative work of fiction, published originally by Dodd, Mead & Company in 1946. It introduced readers to physician-cum-sleuth Dr. Anthony Post--“a not very likeable hero,” as one Amazon customer review puts it--who in this particular story investigates murder in a medical school. The same Amazon contributor explains that Bitter Ending “has all of the rules of the Golden Age and a surprise killer.”
Post went on to star in two other novels, Deadline (1947) and Symphony in Two Time (1948), the latter of which builds around the calculated poisonings of musicians.
A search through the wilds of the Web suggests that F. (for Frederick) Kenwood Giles, who created the altogether menacing artwork fronting this edition of Bitter Ending, was born in London, England, around 1901 and may have lived for a while in the Australian state of Victoria. During the late 1940s and early ’50s, he painted covers for an assortment of Dell paperbacks, some of which are seen here.
Click here to find the “mapback cover” of Bitter Ending.