TRASHY TUESDAY: WAR, SPIES, PASSION AND CARTER BROWN – AUSTRALIAN PULP BOOK HAUL
My recent hunting for old Australian paperbacks has produced a mixed bag, including some neck biting romance and drama titles, an early Carter Brown, a Mark Hood spy novel by J. E. Macdonnell and a classic war cover.
Jon Cleary was writing Australian crime novels long before Peter Corris and Peter Temple trudged down the mean streets of Sydney and Melbourne. Although his Scobie Malone novels are now largely forgotten, they were a significant part of Australia’s crime writing history.
One of his early dramas before Scobie Malone was Dust In The Sun (originally titled Justin Bayard in 1955), which was made into a movie in 1958. As the tagline suggests, it was a mixture of passion and adventure in the Australian outback.
When it was released by Horwitz in 1961 they gave it a cover that highlighted the romance/passion elements of the story and which also mirrored the cover for another Cleary title.
Cleary’s The Green Helmet (1957), about the “thrill of motor racing”, was also made into a movie and featured Sid James in secondary role. When Horwitz re-released the book in 1963, they gave it a similar cover to that of Dust In The Sun, which highlighted the romance elements of the story rather than the main car racing plot (see the Fontana cover below).
Some other Australian car racing pulp can be found here: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/trashy-tuesday-fever-heat-and-car-racing/
The neck biting pose, which would not have looked out of place on a Dracula novel, can also be found on this Australian romance pulp published by AAP sometime in the late 1950s/early 1960s, as part of their English Romance Library. The cover is quite catching and I love the sparkling diamond highlights, although it seems that her ear rings do actually match each other!
The Desired (Horwitz, No. 83, 1959) was one of the first numbered Carter Brown novels to be published in paperback form, rather than as a digest. This early slightly larger paperback editions of the Carter Brown books are now hard to find, so I was very grateful when a friend discovered this one for me.
The cover is a nice rendition of the ‘comic styled ‘ covers which were popular on Carter Brown books in the late 1950s. There is nothing special about it, but it is nicely done. Although it would seem to be rushed job as indicated by the unbroken continuance of the blue top across the girl’s arm. The artist is not identified, but could be Moria Bertram or Phil Belpin.
Some more of these early comic styled Carter Brown covers can be seen here: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/trashy-tuesday-book-haul-carter-brown-horwitz-covers/
J. E. Macdonnell is best known for the multitude of war books he produced in the 1950s and 1960s, but he also dabbled in other genres. Probably his most successful non-war books, were the Mark Hood spy series that he did in the 1960s (produced under the pseudonym of James Dark in the United States).
The Mark Hood books tried to capture feel of the James Bond novels, although they lacked the style and depth of writing of the original.
This Bond influence can be very clearly seen in the image choices made by Horwitz on the cover, even down to the Bond tagline: a “spy encounter that thunders across Bond country” and the drawing of Hood in the centre of the cover which looks remarkably like Sean Connery!
Thanks to James Doig for the loan.
Finally, Carter Brown and war/POW novels were the main staple of Horwitz books in the 1950s and 1960s. J. E. Macdonnell produced most of the war content for Horwitz, but even he could not meet the demand. This 1963 naval war book, Seek And Annihilate, by the similarly initialed J. E. Toghill is a good example of the genre and features a great cover, probably by Col Cameron.
So, some interesting new additions and I have pile of similar books on my study floor to sort through!