TRASHY TUESDAY: BAD DOCTORS!
Bad doctors are the theme of this week’s Trashy Tuesday covers.
First up is Turn On The Heat by A. A. Fair (pseudonym for Erle Stanley Gardner).
The Lam and Cool books that Gardner wrote under the A. A. Fair pseudonym were superior in my view to his Perry Mason novels, but they were never quite as popular. Turn On The Heat was the second book in the series and is a typically fast paced tale involving the private eye pairing of Donald Lam and Bertha Cool in a complex plot, initially about the search for a woman who disappeared twenty years before following an ugly divorce case involving her doctor husband. It is a good read that is nicely resolved by Lam in his usual breathless manner.
The A. A. Fair books often had very good covers by artists such as Robert McGinnis, Oliver Brabbins and Victor Kalin (his cover for Turn On The Heat is below), but this one for the English Pocket Book edition of the book is not one of them.
The girl in the foreground by Sim is quite nicely done, but her hands seem to be oddly placed. She looks like she is holding a mobile phone to her ear, but they were not invented when the drawing was done in the early 1950s. Instead of looking menaced she seems like she is scratching her face. There is little subtlety in the drawing of the doctor. He presumably has the stethoscope in his ears to identify him as a doctor, but the effect makes it look as if he wants to listen to her heart beat rather than attack her. The dark shadowing makes him look menacing, but the overall effect suggests that the girl is worried by an impending medical examination rather than an attack on her person (there is also only minor relevance between the cover and the story). In all, not a great cover, but it does have a nice early fifties feel to it.
In the early 1960s Australian paperbacks featured a steady stream of books about the horrific treatment of Australian POWs and nurses at the hands of the Japanese and the Nazis during the Second World War. A particularly popular sub-theme of this were the numerous books written by Ray Slattery and others about the treatment of beautiful young women by depraved Nazis doctors and officers. These books had titles like: Gestapo Camp, White Slaves of the Swastika and Victim of the S.S. and usually featured on the covers naked women being tied or chained up and tortured. They were not overly graphic and were less horrific than the actual horrors of what happened in the concentration camps. Nowadays, they seem distasteful and exploitative. (Also see my post of 2 April 2019 on Ray Slattery’s Counter-Spy).
Reuben Paul wrote around nine such books for the small Sydney publishers Calvert in the mid 1960s through to about 1970. All of them had titles such as Captives Of Corruption and Hobbies Of Evil, and from the ones I have seen they usually featured young terrorized women on the covers. Monster of Surgery appears to have been published in 1970 (there is no publication date in the book) and is about the “monstrous experiments” carried out by the Nazis on a young woman, Lydda Luski, who lived “her own nightmare through a madman’s dream.”
The cover, artist unknown, certainly generates a sense of horror with a distressed young woman about to be forced into an operating theatre by German soldiers. The image of the doctor waiting for her with his gloved hands resting on the operating table is very effective. Although not a great piece of art it does generate a strong sense of horror and terror.
Much lighter is this medical romance by Evelyn Webb (pseudonym used by Ann Beverley) for Calvert Publishing.
Typical of the medical romances turned out by Australian publishers such as Calvert and Horwitz, it features a medical team sent to the remote Friday Island to deal with a medical emergency and was part of Calvert’s ‘Medics On Location’ (publishers such as Horwitz also had similar themed medical romances).
It is mainly of interest because of its cover which features a doctor (again with a stethoscope in view to identify him as a doctor) smoking! Something which would be unheard of now. Otherwise the cover has a nice romantic drawing with a jeep in the background to signal the ‘On Location’ aspect of the story.
A better cover for Turn On The Heat was provided by Victor Kalin for this 1962 Dell edition (and not a doctor in sight):