Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Trashy Book Covers

Each  Tuesday I will be highlighting pulpy crime covers from my collection. 

These 1950’s covers from the Australian edition of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine feature floating women and a killer clown. See more at my blog post of 11 September 2019.

Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (Australian Edition) April 1950
Elelry Queen’s Mystery Magazine (Australian Edition) July 1956
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (Australian Edition) April 1958
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (Australian Edition) June 1948

This British Mayflower edition of Nick Carter’s The Golden Serpent is probably one of the worst ‘photographic’ covers I have seen. The juxtaposition between the tuxedo wearing Nick Carter and the bare breasted girl with a sombrero is just weird and is not helped by the look on the girl’s face (and the unzipped jeans). See my blog of 2 September for more comments and additional covers.

Nick Carter: The Golden Serpent (Mayflower, 1974)

This week I have added four covers from British publishers in the 1950s showing beautifully arranged female corpses as the centre piece. None of them show any signs of violence and all are still wearing their high heel shoes! More detail at my post of 28 August 2019

Ladies In Ermine by Gavin Holt (Hodder, 1952)
Murder But Gently by Francis Duncan (Watson Brown, 1956?)
Calling Bulldog Drummond by Gerard Fairlie (Hodder, 1955)
Kill Or Cure by William Francis (Boardman Books, 1952)

When I did the series of books on smoking ladies a few weeks back (10 July) I forgot to include this one by Carter Brown (Alan Yates). Written in 1953 this novelette by Brown (34 pages) was an early entry in his “lovely” mystery series. A low-key cover, compared to most of the illustrations used on the Carter Brown books, it gives the impression of being dashed off quickly to keep up with Yates’ amazing output. Like all of the “lovely” mysteries it features a “lovely” with a hint of daring. I love the title – Murder Is A Broad -not one you would get away with now!

Murder Is a Broad by Carter Brown (Horwitz, 1953)

This week I am posting this marginally sleazy cover by Coronet of Donald Hamilton’s Death Of A Citizen. This 1968 edition is an early example of the photographic covers that were beginning to replace the traditional painted covers of the time. It is not a good representation of the spy novel within, the first of the tough Matt Helm books, and seems more suited to a generic crime novel. It could be titled ‘A shelf too low’. I have also posted two of the painted covers which were done for the early Matt Helm books by Gold Medal (released in the UK and Australia by Frederick Muller). See my post of 21 August 2019 for more detail.

Death Of A Citizen by Donald Hamilton (Coronet, 1968),
Death Of A Citizen (Gold Medal, 1960)
Murderer’s Row by Donald Hamilton (Gold Medal, 1962)

This week I am posting a trio of books with ‘Wanton’ in the title. A word not used much nowadays, it often found its way onto the covers of books during the Golden Age of paperbacks. My favourite is the Barker Dragon Book’s edition of Patrick Quentin’s Puzzle For Wantons. My post of 25 July 2019 has more detail.

Dark Wanton by Peter Cheyney (Horwitz, 1956)
Puzzle For Wantons (Barker Dragon Books, 1959)
The Wanton by Carter Brown (Horwitz, 1965)
The Wanton by Carter Brown (Horwitz, 1961)

Rampaging animals were a popular horror sub-genre in the 1970s and 80s, with everything from killer cats, rats and bats to moths. New English Library were keen contributors to the genre and were responsible for two books by Michael R Linaker about killer scorpions. I discuss the second book, Scorpion: Second Generation in my post of 19 July 2019.

Scorpion: Second Generation by Michael R Linaker

My post of 10 July 2019 highlighted covers with women smoking on them. The covers are set out below, including a classic one by Robert McGinnis and a striking Gold Medal cover by Ted Coconis.

You’d Be Surprised by Peter Cheyney (Pan , 1956)
Shell Scott’s Seven Slaughters by Richard S Prather (Gold Medal, 1961)
Top Of The Heap by A A Fair (Dell, 1959)
Halo In Brass by John Evans (Pocket , 1950)
Long Time No Leola by Carter Brown (Horwitz, 1967)
Second-Hand Nude by Bruno Fischer (Gold Medal, 1960)

Two very different books, but the same cover! See my Post from 4 July 2019 for more detail:

A Graveyard to Let by Carter Dickson (WDL, 1960)
Dig That Crazy Grave by Richard S. Prather (Five Star, 1972)

I came across this copy of the Horwitz book tie-in to the 1960 movie Man In The Moon, starring Kenneth More in my collection. The description on the back cover “Only a gay stripper…” shows how words gain different meanings over time.

Man In The Moon by John Foley (Horwitz, 1961)

This week I have added three covers from my collection of Marc Brody novels. Two, including the unfortunately titled A Blonde For My Punchline, are digests, while the third, Baby Your Type’s Murder is a paperback. More detail is provided at my post of 25 June 2019

Baby Your Type’s Murder by Marc Brody (Horwitz, 1958)
A Blonde For My Punch-Line (Horwitz, 1957)
Deadline for a dame by Marc Brody (1957, Horwitz)

Louis L’Amour’s Shalako was a good book, but made a terrible movie, despite the presence of Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot and a stellar cast. It did have a great movie poster by Tom Chantrell, which served as the cover for this 1971 Corgi edition of the book. Further down is the French edition of the book with a dull still from the movie on the cover. See my comments at my blog of 18 June 2019.

Shalako by Louis L’Amour (Corgi, 1971)
Shalako by Louis L’Amour (French edition, 1968)
The Airline Pirates by John Gardner (Coronet, 1973)

Two marvelous early 1970s covers from John Gardner’s series about cowardly British spy Boysie Oakes. See my post from 11 June 2019.

Founder Member by John Gardner (Corgi, 1973)
Prey by C. Terry Cline JR (Signet, 1986)

This 1980s cover with the dark backdrop, bright blood red title and reflected image of frightened children, would seem to place it in the realm of an early 1980s Gothic horror or V C Andrews novel. However, it is primarily a small town police novel. See post of 4 June 2019 for more details.

Blackmailer by George Alexrod (Phantom, No. 532, 1953)

This 1953 Phantom Book version of George Axelrod’s Blackmailer had a dramatically revamped version of the original Gold Medal cover (below) when it was released in Australia. The 1959 edition (below) featured a nice example of GGA by Barye Phillips. See more at my post of 28 May 2019.

(Blackmailer by George Axelrod, Gold medal, 1952)
Blackmailer by George Axelrod (Gold Medal, 1959)

Three different covers of Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case Of the Caretaker’s Cat (see more at my post of 23 May 2019):

TCOT Caretaker’s Cat (Pocket, 1948)
William Wirtz cover
TCOT Caretaker’s Cat (Pocket, 1962)
Robert McGinnis cover
TCOT Caretaker’s Cat (Horwitz, 1961)

Black Slaver by Clint Rockman (NEL, 1972)

This plantation/slaver novel by Clint Rockman (Kenneth Bulmer) is more maritime adventure than plantation porn. Its striking Richard Clifton-Dey cover makes it a stand out example of the genre. See more at my post of 14 May 2019

Cutie Cashed His Chips by Carter Brown (Horwitz, 1955)
Spin Out by Frank O’Hara (Ray Slattery) – Horwitz, 1962

See my post of 30 April for more detail.

Patterson’s Volunteers by John Smith (Corgi,1984)

This bright, action packed cover nicely catches the feel of British adventure thrillers from the 1970s and 80s.  More at my post of 19 April 2019.

James Hadley Chase: Strictly For Cash (Panther, 1969)
James Hadley Chase: Believed Violent (Panther, 1973)
James Hadley Chase: Like A Hole In The Head (Panther, 1974)
alverson 2
Not Sleeping, Just Dead by Charles Alverson (Playboy, 1980)

This is the second book by Charles Alverson about PI Joe Goodey. The cover is very crowded but contains a number of the main tropes associated with 1970/80s PI books. See more at my blog of 9 April.

Counter-Spy by Ray Slattery (Horwitz, 1964)

The cover of this Nazi-torture pulp features a well-placed riding crop.  Horwitz, among other Australian publishers, catered to a strong public appetite for Nazi POW stories, usually involving the torture of young women.  The cover is by Col Cameron. See more at my Blog Post of 2 April 2019.


The Coastwatchers by Michael Owen (Horwitz, 1965)

This catchy cover by Col Cameron captures the style of Australian POW fiction which flourished during the 1960s.  More detail on today’s blog: 25 February 2019


Neon Madman by John Harvey was the fourth and last book in his series about tough British PI Scott Mitchell.  This is the 1977 Ist edition by Sphere.  More details in today’s blog (19 February 2019)

bang bang

This 1968 Thriller Club edition of Adam Diment’s The Bang Bang Birds has a great ‘art class’ drawing of a young woman with a strategically placed machine gun.  Although not as eye-catching as the psychedelic covers of the original hardback and paperback editions, with naked girls wearing stockings and holding machine guns, it is still quite good.  More details in today’s blog (12 February).

James Hadley Chase – This Is For Real (Panther, 1973)

This 1973 Panther cover of James Hadley Chase’s This Is For Real features a striking image that would probably not be acceptable today.  The cover is unusual for a James Hadley Chase novel, which usually featured semi-naked women and guns (as the one for You Have Yourself A Deal shows below).  The book is the first entry in Chase’s four book series about Mark Girland, a free-lance CIA agent based in Paris and is well worth checking out.  More details in today’s blog (5 February 2019).


You Have Yourself A Deal – Corgi 1980

Chain of Infamy by George Beare

This Fleetway Thriller Library cover is typical of lower tier British thriller covers in the 1970s. See more at today’s post (7 May 2019).

Vengeance of Chane by Norman Gant (NEL, 1975)

Plantation Pulp was a weird sub-genre of Men’s Adventure novels that appeared in the late 1960s and 70s. New English Library (NEL) were a particularly enthusiastic promoter of Plantation novels and this example by Norman Gant features the typical NEL cover of nudity and implied violence. See more at my Post of 29 March 2019.

The Vengeance Run by Robert Rostand (Arrow, 1976)

The Vengeance Run was Robert Rostand’s second novel and is a solid example of the revenge/heist novel of the 1970s. Set in Rio during Carnaval is a tough action thriller that builds to a good ending. More details in my Post of 19 March 2019.

Steps In The Dark (Digit, 1957)

This eye-catching Digit cover is by James McConnell. See more at my Post from 13 March

Gold Bait by Walter J. Sheldon (Fawcett, 1973)

This ‘treasure hunter’ thriller from 1973 has a great Robert McGinnis cover. Read more at today’s blog post (5 March 2019).

This 1971 Pan cover of Victor Canning’s The Whip Hand has all the elements of a trashy 1960/70s cover – blondes, Swastika, machine gun and bikinis!