Monday, May 30, 2016

Paperback 945: GI Jokes / Compiled by Lou Nielsen (Dell 77)

Paperback 945: Dell 77 (PBO, 1945)

Title: G.I. Jokes
Compiled by: Lou Nielsen
Cover art: [William Strohmer]

Condition: 7/10
Estimated value: $10-15

Best things about this cover:
  • A catalogue of acceptable and unacceptable [Laugh syllables] in crossword puzzles. HEH! HAHA! HOHO! All fine, but once you get into the HAWs, things get dicey, and HEEEE! ... well, that's right out. And now all I want to do is put it in a puzzle grid...
  • This dude seems So Happy to be a G.I.
  • The cover design here is really nice. Clean and bright, with fantastic font action, and an explosion of brown chalk marks that looks simultaneously explosive and floral ... or like a barrel just fell apart and this dude's smiling mug was what was inside.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Everything. Just ... all of it. I am in love with all of it.
  • Speaking of crosswords: WAC.
  • Love the surreal mass of female humanity in the background, contrasted with the strong, luminescent isolation of our discriminating main character and her frustrated antagonist.

Page 123~



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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Paperback 944: The Shadowy Third / Marco Page (Pocket Books 537)

Paperback 944: Pocket Books 537 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: The Shadowy Third
Author: Marco Page
Cover artist: Harvey Kidder

Estimated value: a pittance
Condition: 2/10 (read to death, i.e. beautiful to me)

Best things about this cover:
  • "Now *where* did I put my little dead man? I know he's around here somewhere..."
  • This dude has QWD face (i.e. Quintessential White Dick). He's ... perfect / generic.
  • The man above our hero's left ear is either playing "got-your-nose!" or putting that guy's eye out with a lit cigarette. Choose a scenario to fit your mood!
  • P.S. a violin

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Oh, no! Not Igor *Krassin*!" I exclaimed, reflexively.
  • "What kind of knife was it, Doc?" "Thin. It was thin. It's a technical term. I don't expect you to understand."
  • It took more than a game of eeny-meeny-miney-mo to finger the killer. You also had to buy him a drink first.

Page 123~

"All right, if that's how you want it. I trusted you, Calder, I gave you every break so you could grab a fee on that violin. You're turning out to be a heel."

I love hardboiled man-feelings drama. "After all I've done for you, couldn't you just once hold me and tell me I'm pretty, Calder, you heel!"


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Paperback 943: Mourn the Hangman / Harry Whittington (Graphic 46)

Paperback 943: Graphic 46 (PBO, 1952)

Title: Mourn the Hangman
Author: Harry Whittington
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $20-25
Condition: 5 (*only* because of water stain / slight warp—it's tight and square and cover is Amazing)

Best things about this cover:
  • Pulled this one out of Aunt Agatha's crime/mystery bookstore in Ann Arbor. It was an impulse buy. Their idea of a "point-of-purchase display" is an authentic vintage paperback bookshelf (which I drooled over) choked to the gills with vintage paperbacks. So much nicer than the 5-Hour Energy Drink point-of-purchase displays you get at most bookstores ...
  • My first thought on seeing this cover: Robert Ryan is pointing a gun at me!
  • My second thought on seeing this cover: That is the greatest Fear Hand I've ever seen.

Best things about this back cover:
  • And *there*'s the condition problem. But WhoTF cares about the back cover? This book is otherwise gorgeous.
  • Excuse me, gotta do this: [clears throat] ... "STELLLLLAAAAA!"
  • Whoa. Dark revenge narrative. I'm in.

Page 123~

Clinton Edwards opened the door of his Seminole Heights home. When he saw Blake, he seemed to go lax all over.

"My bowels!" he cried, probably.


PS bonus interior! (I really should start cataloguing interior design/illustration as well)

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Paperback 942: Q.B.I. / Ellery Queen (Pocket Books 1118)

Paperback 942: Pocket Books 1118 (1st ptg, 1956)

Title: Q.B.I.
Author: Ellery Queen
Cover design: Milton Herder

Estimated value: $5-8
Condition: 5/10

Best things about this cover:
  • It's like the F.B.I. but queer. I imagine.
  • This cover wins awards for "Most Visible Thumbprint" and "Best Kempt Cilia"
  • Where can I get one of these switchblade micro-monocles? Judging by this guy's pupil dilation, they seem fun.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Type script is best.
  • No Nouns Allowed Without Adjectival Guardian
  • Kid Naping. That word *never* looks right to me.

Page 123~ (first line of "Dying Message Dept.: G. I. Story")

Ellery swung off the Atlantic State Express in his favorite small town disguised by earlaps, muffler, and skis, resolved that this time nothing should thwart his winter holiday.

You'll Never Guess What Happens Next! (spoiler: holiday thwarted)


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Monday, May 9, 2016

Paperback 941: Sanctuary (with Requiem for a Nun) / William Faulkner (Signet T1900)

Paperback 941: Signet T1900 (4th ptg, 1st thus, 1961)

Title: Sanctuary (with Requiem for a Nun)
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: photo cover

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 8/10

Best things about this cover:
  • When Lee Remick wants a rewrite, Lee Remick *gets* a rewrite.
  • "Sure, it's filth, but it's Nobel-winning filth, so devour it with a clear conscience, dear readers."
  •  Not sure who's in the foreground (I like to imagine it's Faulkner), but he's got some grade-A Fear Hand going on. Her hand is more Claw Hand / Slap Hand.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Mrrow.
  • That description of Temple Drake (great name!) is both sizzling and ultra-vague. "Courts horror" is an awkward phrase to say and look at.
  • William Faulkner looks like Peter Sellers playing William Faulkner.

Page 123~

Then he was standing over and she was saying Come on. Touch me. Touch me! You're a coward if you don't. Coward! Coward!

The confused waiter smiled and returned slowly to the safety of the kitchen.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Paperback 940: The Problem of the Wire Cage / John Dickson Carr (Bantam 304)

Paperback 940: Bantam 304 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: The Problem of the Wire Cage
Author: John Dickson Carr
Cover artist: Gilbert Fullington

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 9/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Game, set, MURDER!
  • MURDER, anyone?!
  • MURDER commits a foot fault!
  • "Oh my, I think he's dead. I'll just check his pulse. Let's see, I ... I just push my hand against his left shoulder, right? Like this? Right, Steve? Steve, honey, is this right? Knuckles-to-shoulder?"
  • So much Fear Hand in this picture. They are both double-Fear-Handing it, for the rare QuadraFearHand™.
  • "She's trapped in there with a corpse! How will I ever ... oh wait this is just a chain link fence, I'll just walk around ha ha silly me."

Best things about this back cover:
  • MURDER has a respectable two-hand backhand!
  • *Someone* has never solved a jigsaw puzzle, or sucks at metaphors.
  • Old Nick Young, winner of Most Oxymoronic Name three years running. Take that, Big Steve Small!

Page 123~

"I suppose you know you could get into a lot of trouble for what you've been doing here today?"
The words jerked Hugh upright.

No more jerking, Hugh! 


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