Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Take Fives

As I note in today’s column for the Kirkus Reviews Web site, this month marks the conclusion of my fifth year of blogging about mystery, crime, and thriller fiction for that publication. I offer a few additional thoughts on this anniversary in The Rap Sheet, but for Killer Covers, no manner of celebrating seems quite so appropriate as to display vintage paperbacks that employ “five” in their titles.

For instance, The Five Faces of Murder, by Jay Flynn (Avon, 1962), features cover art by Robert Maguire, while the illustration introducing the 1959 Dell edition of The Five Pennies, Grady Johnson’s biography of American jazz cornettist Red Nichols, is credited to Victor Kalin. Jack Finney’s 5 Against the House (Pocket, 1955), is fronted by a George Erickson painting; John Klempner’s Letter to Five Wives (Dell, 1951) showcases artwork by Bob Hilbert; Griffin Foxley was responsible for the cover of Five Alarm Funeral, by Stewart Sterling (Dell, 1954); it’s James Meese’s talent behind the façade of Neither Five Nor Three, by Helen MacInnes (Popular Library, 1952); and the 1945 Avon Murder Mystery Monthly release of Raymond Chandler stories, Five Sinister Characters, puts up a good front by Paul Stahr. The cover of 5 Murderers, another collection in that same Avon line, might also have been executed by Stahr, though I find no confirmation of that credit online. And sadly, the illustrations decorating the final two novels shown below—The Late Mrs. Five, by Richard Wormser (Gold Medal, 1960), and The Man Who Held Five Aces, by Jean Leslie (Pocket, 1950)—are uncredited.

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

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