Trashy Tuesday – Victor Canning: The Whip Hand
Each Tuesday I will add a cover and a brief description of a book from my collection of old paperbacks.
The first book is Victor Canning’s The Whip Hand. It is the Pan Australian edition from 1971. It is a bolder, sexier cover than that which appeared on other paperback editions.
The photographic cover contains all the staples of cover art that publisher’s used in the late 1960s and early 1970s to attract readers (mainly men). It has a Swastika, a blonde in a bikini and a machine gun. It is a classic example of the sort of cover you would expect from a men’s adventure/spy paperback from that period.
Victor Canning was a better writer than the cover suggests and his books were generally well praised when released in hardback. The Whip Hand was the first in a series of four books he wrote about rebellious British Private Eye (and occasional employee of British Intelligence) Rex Carver. It is a good read, but probably lacks the depth and subtlety of his later spy novels. At his best, Canning had a dark, cynical tone and an untrusting view of the Intelligence agencies. Written, unusually for Canning, in the first person, The Whip Hand is more livelier than some of his books and builds to a good climax. I enjoyed reading again, although it is a little dated in its views.
Still it is a great cover!