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Posted by on 4 Jul, 2019 in Classic PI, Crime, Men's Adventure, trashy covers, Trashy Tuesday | 1 comment



A Graveyard To Let by Carter Dickson (WDL, 1960)
Dig That Crazy Grave by Richard S. Prather (Five Star, 1972)

It is not unknown for publishers to re-use covers, but it is a little unusual for them to be used on such different books.

Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) was an American author who lived in England for many years and is regarded as one of the leading exponents of the classic British ‘Golden Age’ mystery. A Graveyard To Let was one of his Sir Henry Merrivale mysteries and is a locked room, or impossible, mystery set in America (most of the Merrivale mysteries were set in England). First published in 1949, this edition by UK mushroom publishers WDL appeared in 1960.

Richard S. Prather was the author of the popular Shell Scott private eye books, which ran from 1950 to 1987, with the last book, The Death Gods, being published in 2011 after his death. Dig That Crazy Grave was first published in 1961 and is a typical tough PI tale featuring the Mob, an attractive girl and nasty going-ons at a funeral home. This 1972 edition was published in the United Kingdom by Five Star Paperbacks, which seems to have specialised in re-printing Gold Medal novels.

The Covers: as far as I can tell the cover first appeared on A Graveyard To Let. The artist is not identified, although the girl on the cover looks very similar to one on a cover drawn by Griffith Foxley for Dell (see below). The cover is quite typical of those which adorned other WDL paperbacks of the time, with a relatively modestly dressed pretty blonde interposed against a backdrop suggesting the location of the novel. The graveyard gives the book a nice eerie feel and there is a strong sense that the book falls into the category of “a pretty woman in jeopardy” novel. It probably does not give a true sense of the classic murder mystery inside.

It would seem that when Five Star Paperbacks were looking for a graveyard style cover for Dig That Crazy Grave, that they came across the earlier one from WDL. Apart from a dash more colour, and a slight blurring out of the graveyard background to make space for the trademark Shell Scott silhouette, the cover is identical. Five Star also added in a typical Shell Scott tagline: “Man, she had a shape to make corpses kick open caskets – and she was dead set on giving me rigor mortis.” It is the same tagline that appeared on the American Gold Medal edition and the later Fawcett edition with the distinctive Robert McGinnis cover.

The cover is probably more suited to Dig That Crazy Grave, although the blonde in the book is more of a femme fatale than a woman in peril. It is a good PI style cover, although looking a little dated by the time it appeared in 1972. It is not as good as the Robert McGinnis cover for the book.

Cover Artist: no cover artist is listed, but it has a strong resemblance to the covers that Griffith Foxley did. The girl on the cover is almost identical to the one on the cover he did for Blow-Down by Lawrence G. Blochman (Dell). There is no indication that it is a Foxley cover, so it may be a case of the same, or similar model, or someone copying the Foxley cover.

Regardless it is not a bad cover!

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