Thursday, August 2, 2018

Let Us Now Praise Mapbacks



No Coffin for the Corpse, by Clayton Rawson (Dell, 1948).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.


As I explain today in The Rap Sheet, I recently put together a piece for CrimeReads that showcases Dell Books’ outstanding “mapback” editions of the mid-20th century. You will find the completed CrimeReads post right here.

During my work on that article, I poured through the 600-or-so paperbacks comprising Dell’s memorable line. I slowly culled out 28 examples of the breed that I thought best represented the publisher’s intents and successes with those mapbacks. Ultimately, however, I had room to feature only 13 such covers in CrimeReads.

Above and below, you can see the other 15 examples I left behind on the cutting room floor. Most of these fine fronts were painted by Gerald Gregg, though a few represent the equally familiar artistry of Robert Stanley. Almost all of the backside crime scenes are credited to Ruth Belew (with more of her work available here).



The Smell of Money, by Matthew Head (Dell, 1948).
Cover illustration by George A. Frederiksen.



No Mask for Murder, by Andrew Garve (Dell, 1952).
Cover illustration by Robert Stanley.



Death Knell, by Baynard Kendrick (Dell, 1949).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



The Bat, by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood (Dell, 1948). Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



The Blackbirder, by Dorothy B. Hughes (Dell, 1947).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



A Man Called Spade, by Dashiell Hammett (Dell, 1945). Cover illustration by Otto Storch or Gerald Gregg.



Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, by Gerald Butler (Dell, 1947).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



The Case of the Constant Suicides, by John Dickson Carr (Dell, 1945). Cover illustration by George A. Frederiksen.



Through a Glass, Darkly, by Helen McCloy (Dell, 1951).
Cover illustration by Robert Stanley.


One Angel Less, by H.W. Roden (Dell, 1948).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



Dead of Night, by Stewart Sterling (Dell, 1952).
Cover illustration by Willard Downes.



The Opening Door, by Helen Reilly (Dell, 1947).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



The Feathered Serpent, by Edgar Wallace (Dell, 1944).
Cover illustration by Gerald Gregg.



The Circular Staircase, by Mary Roberts Rinehart (Dell, 1952).
Cover illustration by Robert Stanley.

5 comments:

Robert Deis (aka "SubtropicBob") said...

Another cool post with an interesting theme! Thanks.

Dennis Bedard said...

This is great stuff. I live off of these kinds of paperback stories. Sort of reminds one the the post war landscape was not the idyllic wonderland that Life magazine and mainstream TV pretended it to be.

Unknown said...

Very cool!

TracyK said...

A few of these I have, the others I want to own. Thanks for sharing these too.

Icewineanne said...

Fantastic! Thanks for posting these, I really enjoyed seeing them.