TRASHY TUESDAY: BOOK HAUL – CULTURALLY INAPPROPRIATE, PIs AND MORE CARTER BROWN
With lockdown over and COVID restrictions lifted, I have been able to get out and go book hunting. I have actually accumulated quite a few new additions recently from bookfairs and friends, and thought that I would start posting the best of them over the next few weeks.
This paperback edition of British thriller writer Edgar Wallace’s 1920 novel, The Daffodil Mystery, has the same cover that graced the early hardback editions.
It is a quite eye catching cover, with a rather sinister looking Chinese, including the cigarette in the mouth, appearing to be about to administer some poison to the bound Englishman (or maybe light the wick on his ropes?) The book featured detective Jack Tarling and his Chinese assistant Ling Chu, who is presumably the Asian gentleman on the cover.
The cover plays into popular fears of the time around evil Asian villains, and I like the abject horror on the bound man’s face, even down to the ‘hair raising’ tufts on his head. It is not a cover that you are likely to see today.
Stephen Richard Hamel-Wedekind did a number of covers for Pan under the signature of S R Boldero, including at least three for Arthur Upfield’s series about Aboriginal detective Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony). The Bone Is Pointed (Pan, 1960) is one of his better ones. Although stereotypical in its portrayal of indigenous Australians, it does create an exotic sense of adventure for the time.
Written before he found success with the Sam Durrell spy novels, The Art Studio Murders (1950) was a solid crime novel by Edward S. Aarons about an artist whose life is threatened by an unknown killer.
The cover on this 1967 McFadden-Bartell edition is by Robert Abbett (thanks Jussi) and is quite good, although not surprisingly it focuses more on the artist’s naked model, than the threat to his life. I like how the artist uses the ‘unfinished art’ approach to tone down the nudity and potentially keep the censors at bay. It is a solid piece of cover art.
This uncredited cover for the British Four Square edition of the 31st entry in Richard S. Prather’s Shell Scott series, The Kubla Khan Caper, lacks the visual appeal of the American editions of the Scott books. The three girls look like they are at some 1960s aerobics class and there is too much text on the cover. The publishers were trying very hard to cash in on the appeal of Shell Scott name, but the cover does the book no favours at all.
Last Stand At Papago Wells was the first Louis L’Amour western I read, sometime back in the very early 1970s. I already had the Gold Medal edition, but could not resist this dramatic cover on the 1970 Coronet edition. It is a great Western cover that really captures the feel of the book.
Carter Brown (Alan G. Yates) loved alliteration and rhyming titles and this Collector’s Series edition (Vol.1 No.11, Horwitz, 1958) has two good ones: Dimples Died Deluxe and Shady Lady. Despite the promise on the cover of “Two Best-Selling Stories”, it actually contains three stories, the third one being Kidnapper Wears Curves. The three stories were originally published singularly in 1953, 1954 and 1954 respectively, but were brought together in this single volume at a time when Brown’s appeal was really beginning to take off.
The cover is more demure than some which graced the Australian editions of the Carter Brown books, but it is very effective, with the stronger colours drawing out the woman’s face from the washed out background and the paleness of her dress.
For a book titled Hellcat, this 1963 International Edition of Carter Brown’s novel, is pretty bland, especially compared to the original edition (below), which was released a year earlier.
Interestingly, when it was published by Signet in America in 1962 the title was changed to The Hellcat and the cover by the usually reliable Robert McGinnis gave the “fiery redhead” black hair!