TRASHY TUESDAY: AUGUST BOOK HAUL
My latest acquisition of trashy covers is a rather eclectic collection comprising some Horwitz historical titles, a rare book by A. G. Yates under his own name, instead of his Carter Brown pseudonym, a New English Library Slaver book, a Beacon sleaze title and a weird Kung Fu book!
A. G. Yates will always be better known as Cater Brown, the author of over 300 fast paced detective novels, but in 1958 he released in hardback The Cold Dark Hours, a more substantial novel about “sins and scandals” in Australia’s top end business world. It did not do as well as his Carter Brown books and has now slipped into obscurity.
This 1963 Horwitz edition, number 55 in their Name Author series, features a far more restrained cover than the Carter Brown novels of the time. Set against a floral pastel background, the drawing of a pretty, blonde bobbed girl in a pink slip and a successful looking businessman – shirt and tie, big watch and grey hair – has a more sophisticated feel to it than the covers that sported the Carter Brown name. It is a nicely positioned drawing, but lacks that eye-catching zing!
Pharaoh, incorrectly spelt Pharoah on the front cover only, was one of seven historical novels that McEwan did for Horwitz in the early 1960s. A typical action and sex historical drama of the time, it features a rich cover by Col Cameron, who did over a hundred covers for Australian publishers like Horwitz, and owes little to historical accuracy.
In vibrant bright red and golden hues, the cover captures a violent, although seemingly bloodless, battle scene. In typical Cameron fashion, central to the battle is a topless Queen Nefreti wearing an improbable see through silk garment to battle. She also seems to be riding chariot, which is not being drawn by anything.
On close inspection the scene has a number of physical improbabilities, but I suspect it was very popular on the bookstands.
Agrippina: Empress of Shame by Horwitz regular R. Wilkes Hunter, also features sparkling Col Cameron cover. Hunter was a prolific author, under his own and various pseudonyms, and produced a string of historical novels in the mid-1960s.
Agrippina was typical of Hunter’s output, most of which were enhanced by Cameron covers. This one for Agrippina, takes some liberties with Roman fashions, I suspect, but is certainly eye-catching.
Beacon were known for their sleaze titles in the late 1950s and 60s, and A Woman’s Game is a restrained example of their output. I know nothing about the probably pseudonymous author, Lee Thomas, and the artwork is not credited. Nevertheless, it is quite a good cover .
Plantation pulp was a weird, popular sub-genre championed by many publishers in the 1970s (see my earlier post on Black Slaver below). British publisher New English Library (NEL) was a particularly enthusiastic promoter of plantation novels and between 1968 and 1981 published about 50 slaver novels.
Black Prince by Stuart Jason is fairly typical of the output and its appeal is helped along by an arresting cover by Richard Clifton-Dey. Clifton-Dey was a prolific, and well regarded, British cover illustrator in the 1970s and 80s and did numerous covers for NEL during this period, including several of the plantation/slaver covers. Black Prince is fairly typical of his output and has the usual tropes of the genre – prominently displayed chains, a muscular, brooding slave and a semi-nude blonde, this time with a garter belt. Although rightly politically incorrect nowadays, it is a good example of the eye-catching covers of men’s adventure books from the 1970s.
Finally, the weirdest book I have come across was King Kung Fu #3: The Rape of Sun Lee Fong by Marshall Macao (Venus Freeway Press, 1973). Part of a seven book series by Marshall Macao, it seems to be a combination of adventure, Kung Fu action and mysticism. The series was published in Australia by Horwitz under their Scripts imprint, but this the original American edition.
I have seen a few of the books in the series, but this one probably has the oddest cover. I have subsequently been informed (thanks Steve Carroll) that the cover is by renowned comic book artist Barry Windsor Smith.