Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on 9 Jul, 2024 in Crime, Men's Adventure, Pulp, Thriller, trashy covers, Trashy Tuesday | 3 comments



In my recent book hunting I have come across some rare and odd books from overseas that have somehow made their way to Australia and into second hand book stores. I also came across a rare copy of Agatha Christie’s most controversial title, which I have edited and included at the end of the post.

Sin In Space by Cyril Judd (Galaxy Publishing/Beacon Books #312, 196?)

Sin In Space by Cyril Judd (actually C. M Kornbluth and Judith Merril) was originally published in book form under the title, Outpost Mars in 1951, but was given the Beacon Books treatment in 1961 with a new title and an attention grabbing cover art by Robert Stanley.

I have frequently seen this cover in various reference books, but never expected to find one in Australia. This copy is in surprisingly good condition and seems to have been brought into Australia at some stage, as it was not released locally.

Blood Money by Max Collins (NEL, 1977)

I have become a fan of Max Allan Collins’ series about the thief known as Nolan through their relatively recent Hardcase Crime editions. I knew that they had been originally released in the United States in the early 1970s by Pinnacle Books, but I never realised that they had also been available through British publishers New English Library. I recently found this copy of the second book, Blood Money at a small bookstore.

The Pinnacle editions sported the usual Men’s Adventure books covers of lots of action, shooting guns, bikini-clad girls and bold headings indicating their number in the series (ie, Nolan No 2: Blood Money), but this cover by NEL is much more interesting with its bleeding safe. It reminds me of some of the Dell covers from the 1950s.

The Immortals by Leo Brett (Badger Supernatural Series #062, 1962)
Formula 29X by Pel Torro (Badger Science Fiction #087, 1963)

Badger Books were published across a range of genres, including science fiction, westerns and supernatural tales, between 1960 and 1967. The quality of the books was not high, but they were quite popular and around 600 titles were produced. Although reasonably common at the time they are now difficult to find.

The Immortals and Formula 29 X are pretty typical of the Badger output. Both were written by the legendary Lionel Fanthorpe, who wrote most of the Badger output under various pseudonyms, including Pel Torro and Leo Brett.

The covers for The Immortals and Formula 29 X  are both by Henry Fox, who did most of the covers for Badger. Both have the usual Badger feel of simple art work, amateurish composition and good use of colour. The illustration for The Immortals is typical of the Badger Supernatural Specials, which usually featured people, most often young woman, reeling in fear from some ancient horror. Fox was quite keen on hands and often the women (and men) would be holding their hands before their faces to shield themselves or clutching their hands to indicate terror and fear. Unlike most British pulp paperbacks of the time, the covers were always chaste and mild in their depiction of the horror within.

Fox brought a distinctive feel to the Badger books, which probably helped to identify them for readers. The illustrations were usually corny, but with an appealing cheesiness. The covers for The Immortals and Formula 29 X are typical of the Fox/Badger output and are quite appealing their way.

Here is a link to an earlier article on Badger covers that I did:

Cocktails With A Stranger by Charles Franklin (White Circle, CD 368, 1948)

In response to global paper shortages during World War II, Canada began manufacturing books for international markets in 1941. Over the course of the war, the Canadian branch of William Collins and Sons produced 11 million books for export across the spectrum of their book range. In 1942 Collins Canada director Franklin F. Appleton established an imprint called White Circle Pocket Editions, which reprinted successful British, American, and Canadian titles in affordable paperback editions—the first of its kind in Canada. Between 1942 and 1952, Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. published 429 titles in this White Circle imprint.

Cocktails With A Stranger (CD368) by Charles Franklin was published in 1948 and, despite its title, is a spy thriller about the hunt for a Scottish ship builder who has gone missing, along with the plans for ship capable of withstanding a nuclear attack, in the company of a pretty young woman.

It is surprising to find this Canadian edition in Australia. The cover seems to feature a hand tinted photo, with some blurry artwork in the background. This is similar to the Australian Carter Brown covers from Horwitz in the 1950s.

South By Java Head by Alistair Maclean (Fontana, 1961)

Originally published in 1958, Alistair MacLean’s South By Java Head is relatively easy to find even today, but I have never seen this1961 edition by Fontana. The cover by John L Baker is quite good and certainly gives a strong sense of the desperation of the story within. It made me want to read the book again.

The Road To Gandolfo by Michael Shepherd (Panther, 1980)

Robert Ludlum’s The Road To Gandolfo is also quite easy to find and is a staple of second hand bookshops, but this is the first time that I have found a copy sporting the Michael Shepherd pseudonym that Ludlum used when he first published the book.

Finally, I was surprised to find this 1966 movie tie-inversion of the Agatha Christie book best known under its current title of And Then There Were None at a local bookfair. When the book was first published in 1939 its original title was deemed too offensive for American audiences and was changed to the only slightly better Ten Little Indians.

It is surprising that in 1966 when the movie version of Ten Little Indians came out, that Fontana considered it to be okay to include both titles on the front cover, with the original title in a larger font.

I have chosen to cover up the title to avoid offence.

In any event, the cover is quite dreary and it is a an interesting reflection on how things have changed.

I have some other interesting covers from my recent trips, which I will try to get up in the next week, or so.


  1. What an interesting collection, Jeff. Good call: covering up the original title on the Agatha Christie book: it is definitely offensive to many.

    • I was surprised that they were still using the original title in the 1960s

Leave a Reply