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Posted by on 23 May, 2024 in Australian Crime Fiction, Australian Pulp, Men's Adventure, Pulp, trashy covers, Trashy Tuesday | 2 comments



A friend and I recently went on a successful book buying trip through rural parts of Victoria. Found lots of books to add to my collection, including a few rare vintage Australian paperbacks.

Squeal Squad Larry Kent #106 (Cleveland, 1961?)

The Larry Kent series of crime digests originated in 1954 and ran until 1983. The books were originally based on the Sydney radio show ‘I Hate Crime’, about an American reporter, Larry Kent, who moved to Australia and set himself up as crime busting private investigator. The novelettes (around 50 pages) and books (which were under a hundred pages each) moved the hard drinking, tough talking Kent to New York, but kept the ‘I Hate Crime’ tagline on most of the covers. Published by Cleveland Publications, the Larry Kent books were a rival to Carter Brown and were churned out each month.

The early 50 page digests are nowadays hard to find, however, I was lucky enough to come across 3 sequentially numbered ones in pretty good condition. They probably date from around 1961. They all have good covers, probably by Walter Stackpoole. I particularly like the hot rod theme on Squeal Squad.

More information on the Larry Kent novels can be found at other posts on this site, including:

Sisters In Arms Larry Kent #107 (Cleveland, 1962?)
Redheads And Rogues #Larry Kent 108 (Cleveland, 1962?)
Donna Died Laughing by Carter Brown (Horwitz, 1956)

I also found an early Carter Brown – Donna Died Laughing (Horwitz, 1956). I already had a copy, but this one has a much cleaner cover. The use of close-up photos of faces, mixed with drawings were a not uncommon design on the 1950s Carter Browns. This one is particularly eye-catching! I also love the title – Donna Died Laughing!

Some other early covers can be found here and elsewhere on the site:

Mourn The Hangman by Harry Whittington (Original Novels, No.101, 1953)

One of the competitors to Horwitz and Cleveland was the Original Novels Foundation. Established in 1951 Original Novels printed hundreds of books, primarily in their Phantom Book series. Unlike Horwitz and Cleveland, the Original Novels Foundation only published books which originated from overseas, particularly the United States. In addition to mystery magazines, such as Pursuit – The Phantom Mystery Magazine, they released hundreds of paperbacks and stapled digests under different series, such as Star Books, Phantom Books and Original Novels.

Mourn The Hangman (above) by pulp master Harry Whittington was the first novel in their Original Novels series, which ran from 1953 to 1957. As was usually the case, the cover art is a saucier reworked version of the original artwork on the 1952 Graphic Mystery first edition (below).

Death Has A Will by A. R. Long (Star Book #312, 1955)

Death Has A Will by A. R. (Amelia Reynolds) Long was reprinted by Original Novels as part of their Star Book series (#312) in 1955. The original was published in America in 1946 by Knickerbocker Books. The original artwork bares no resemblance to that on the Star Book edition, as far as I can see. It would appear to be original, uncredited artwork.

So, it was a very successful trip! I also found some other interesting books, which I will be showcasing over the next few weeks.


  1. the Larry Kent editor seems to have had a thing for girls with guns !

    • I agree, almost every cover of those early ones!

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