Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Double Cover-up

Only once have I spotted this edition of Two Much in the wild, years ago on the dusty shelves of a used bookstore in Bellingham, Washington. Stupidly, because I wasn’t particularly interested in Donald E. Westlake’s fiction at the time, I didn’t buy the thing. But it’s a true paperback novelty.

The art fronting this 1976 Fawcett Crest version of Two Much was painted by the prolific Morgan Kane (1916-2014). As Southern California bookseller and books historian Lynn Munroe explains, “Kane painted the twins in the nude, then the pink fuzz bikinis were applied to each cover. Somebody asked me if I thought this was sleaze or art. I think it is art, and I think Botticelli and Courbet would have understood the artist’s success.”

Of this novel’s plot, Munroe writes: “Two Much is Westlake’s comic romp about a man who meets two beautiful blonde twins and falls in love with both of them. Unable to choose one over the other, he invents a second personality and pretends to be his own twin brother. Each brother can then romance one of the blondes. That is, if he can just keep everything straight and make sure both brothers are never supposed to be in the same room at the same time. We don’t see the word ‘zany’ on a book cover too often, but it fits Two Much well.”

If I ever find a good-quality, reasonably priced copy of this novel for sale again, you can bet I won’t pass it by!

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