Thursday, October 14, 2021

Because I Needed a Hitchens Fix …

F.O.B. Murders, by Bert and Dolores Hitchens (Permabooks, 1956). Cover illustration by Robert Sculz.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What Did You Say Your Name Was Again?

(Above) Kim, by Robert Colby (Monarch, 1962), with a cover illustration by Harry Schaare.

More often than not, Killer Covers’ gallery posts are developed through meticulous, time-consuming research into a specific author or theme. But every once in a while—as was the case with this post, for instance, as well as this one—they are born of happenstance. That’s again what led to today’s offering.

While working on an unrelated piece for CrimeReads, I noticed that a surprising quantity of classic paperback fronts in my computer files bore the single names of women. It’s likely this doesn’t demonstrate an appalling lack of imagination on the part of their authors or publishers, but rather a wish to focus the reader’s attention on a female protagonist, be she benevolent and magnanimous or (as in most examples shown here) conniving and concupiscent. Emphasizing only a character’s so-called Christian name might make her, and any novel about her, easier to remember. It’s the same principal that leads so many contemporary celebrities to adopt abbreviated appellations: Cher, Beyoncé, Björk, Bono, Usher, Jewel, Morrissey, Madonna, Oprah, and Seal, to mention just a few.

When it comes to attention-seeking paperback novels, it doesn’t hurt, either, that a sole-moniker title should be coupled with captivating artwork. That’s certainly true of the books showcased in this post. Artists represented include not only Harry Schaare, but also Rudy Nappi (Lulie), Barye Phillips (Clemmie, Popular Library’s Bedelia), William Teason (Dell’s Bedelia), Rafael de Soto (Louisa), Robert Maguire (Concha), Paul Rader (Connie, Carla, Lana), Charles Frace (Candy), Hans Helweg (Claudelle), Al Wagner (Clio), Roger Hall (Panther’s Julie), and Harry Barton (Nina, Vicki).

Click on any of these images to open an enlargement.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Another Look: “The Bandaged Nude”

Warning: Artistic inspiration drawn from book titles may vary.

Left: The Bandaged Nude, by “Robert Finnegan,” aka Paul William Ryan (Signet, 1950); cover illustrator unidentified. Right: The Bandaged Nude, by “Robert Finnergan” (Signet, 1957); cover art by Lu Kimmel. This was the first of three novels starring San Francisco Journal reporter Dan Banion.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Angling for Extra Credit

While speaking last week with a teacher friend of mine, I was reminded that I’d intended to update my collection of back-to-school covers, originally posted on this page in 2015. With classrooms again filling across the United States this month, I wanted to add a dozen paperback fronts I have come across during 2021 to my already extensive collection, bringing the total to a whopping 108!

Included among those supplementary selections are the two covers posted here: Eve’s Apple, by Ronald Simpson (Monarch, 1961), with art by Harry Barton; and Campus Queen, by Ursula Grant (Midwood, 1966), featuring an illustration by the great Paul Rader.

Click here for an education in the entire, expanded set.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Another Look: “Georgia Hotel”

Warning: Artistic inspiration drawn from book titles may vary.

Left: Georgia Hotel, by “Scott Laurence,” aka Lily K. Scott and Laurence Kuntsler (Pyramid, 1952); cover painting by Rudolph Belarski. Right: Georgia Hotel, by “Scott Laurence” (Pyramid, 1957); illustration by Lou Marchetti.