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Posted by on 10 Jan, 2022 in Australian Crime Fiction, Australian Pulp, Crime, Men's Adventure, Pulp, Spy Fiction, trashy covers, Trashy Tuesday, War novel | 1 comment



Just before Christmas I attended the COVID delayed Lifeline Bookfair in Canberra and found a nice selection of interesting trashy paperback from the 1960s to the 1980s.

I have divided them into 2 lots and will post the second batch next week.

The Bang Bang Birds by Adam Diment (Pan, 1969)

First up is The Bang Bang Birds by Adam Diment (Pan, 1968). I have previously written about Adam Diment’s The Bang Bang Birds, which was the third book in his series of spy novels about the hip, British ‘pro-hash, anti-spy’ Philip McAlpine. Written in reaction to the more establishment-oriented spies of the time, Diment tried to create a secret agent that spoke to the younger generation of the late 1960s.  The first book in the series, The Dolly Dolly Spy, was a great success and Diment went on to write another three books in quick succession before disappearing from the public eye.  

I have a copy of the Thriller Book Club edition of The Bang Bang Girls, but had lost some time ago my copy of the popular Pan edition, with its psychedelic drawing of naked girls with stockings holding submachine guns. Although it is extremely unlikely nowadays to see the light of day, it is a very good evocative 1960s cover and I am pleased to have a copy back in my collection.

See my earlier comments on The Bang Bang Birds here:

Madman’s Bend by Arthur Upfield (Pan, 1966)

Offering more restrained 1960s cover art, is the Pan edition (1966 x492) of Arthur Upfield’s Madman’s Bend. Arthur Upfield has dipped in appeal over recent decades, but his books about Detective Inspector Napoleon ‘Bony’ Bonaparte of the Queensland Police Force, a mixed-race Indigenous Australian, are still solid mystery reads. The 1960 covers from some of his books nowadays raise questions of cultural appropriateness, but this one for Madman’s Bend is non-controversial and is a beautifully rendered and quite evocative drawing. The illustration of the dead man lying in the water is well drawn, and the perched crows give it a good sense of subtle horror. I do not know who the artist is, but it is a very well done cover.

Desert Love by Henry de Montherlant (Bestseller Library, 1960)

Desert Love by French literary novelist and essayist Henry De Montherlant was given the pulpy cover treatment by Bestseller Library (a division of Paul Elek) when they released the translated version in 1960. Montherlant’s story about a French Lieutenant stationed at a remote oasis in French North Africa who becomes fixated on a young Arab girl, was highly praised by literary critics and probably would have disappointed readers who bought it based on the cover.

The cover is by Blofeld, who also did a similar style cover for M G Lewis’ classic The Monk, and is certainly eye catching. The stylised beauty of the young woman is nicely set off by the dinginess of the setting and the almost anxious look on the soldier’s face. I do not know anything more about Blofeld, but he was certainly capable of attracting attention.

Once Too Often by Ted Chapman (Stag Modern Novels SP 6, 1964)

With titles like Call Boy, The Wild Girls and Girls On The Loose, Stag Modern Novels were aimed at a certain section of the Australian reading market in the early 1960s. Once Too Often, by the assumedly pseudonymous Ted Chapman, would seem to have stuck pretty much to the formula, with its story about a “group of Hollywood hellraisers who dared to be different”.

The artist is uncredited and the drawing is adequate, without reaching any great heights. It is also lost a bit against he splotchy background and the poorly positioned booktitle.

Otto And The Yanks (4) by Leo Kessler (Futura, 1983)

The Otto Stahl series by Leo Kessler (Charles Whiting) ran to 6 books between 1981 and 1984. Light, bawdy and violent tales, these fictional memoirs of a German soldier and rogue were quite popular during the 1980s. All the Futura covers were done in the same recognisable style of the grim faced and scarred Otto in the centre of the book, with action scenes below and a sexy, usually scantily dressed, woman on the right hand side. The covers are actually quite good indicators of the contents of the books and probably added to their appeal.

In addition to Otto And The Yanks (above), I also picked up (below) Otto And The SS (5) and Otto And The Himmler Love Letters (6). All were surprisingly in very good condition!

Otto And The SS by Leo Kessler (5) (Futura, 1983)

Otto And The Himmler Letters (6) by Leo Kessler (Futura, 1984)

I will post the other books I picked up, including Carter Brown’s Hellcat, next week.

1 Comment

  1. My goodness! No one could accuse ‘The Bang Bang Girls’ of being overdressed ;-). I have read a few of the Arthur Upfield Bony mysteries, and I agree: they are solid and worth reading. Some very interesting covers there, Jeff 😉

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