RARA-AVIS: Recent purchases

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 25 Oct 2003

Marijane Meaker, HIGHSMITH: A ROMANCE OF THE 1950s (Cleis, 2003). I was glad to find a copy of this. I didn't see any Vin Packer books, but I did see some other Gold Medals.

Howard Schoenfeld, LET THEM EAT BULLETS (Fawcett Gold Medal #870, 1954).
"Meet Jerry Nelson, a tough private eye, who knew what [something] a public enemy." There's a big "10 cents" written on cover and it obscures the word. On the back, it says, "It was murder--literally-when the twin brothers staged a reckless double shuffle that blew up even the New York cops!" My version is a Canadian printing and the cover is a bit different from this: http://goldmed.virtualave.net/otherac5.sht#378

Don Stanford, THE SLAUGHTERED LOVELIES (Fawcett Gold Medal #116, 1950).
"This is a man you're going to like. His name is Dallas Webster, he wears the high-heeled boots of the true cowboy and he flew a Mustang in the War. He had no hankering to be a so-called Private Eye until Miss Arizona, his girl, stopped answering his letters. Then Dallas went to New York with blood in his eye. He found a lot more blood than he had bargained for." The cover is here: http://goldmed.virtualave.net/stanford.sht

I'd never heard of either Schoenfeld or Stanford, but a look in archives shows that in August Mr. Guthrie quoted something calling Schoenfeld's book a cult crime classic, and in November 1999 Mr. Toomey gave it a good review. I'm looking forward to it.

John D. MacDonald, THE DAMNED (Fawcett Gold Medal 240, 1952). The cover is a couple out on a country hillside--she's a dishy bra-clad blonde laying on the ground with his shirt partially draped over her bosom, he's a handsome shirtless young fellow who's looking at her with concern, his chin resting on his hand. In the middle of the picture, in big words, it says "'I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THIS BOOK!' -- MICKEY SPILLANE." On the back, it says, "MICKEY SPILLANE says he wishes he had written this book. No wonder--it's by John D. MacDonald, the author of those other Gold Medal greats" with a list of four titles.

This is a second printing, from 1953. I have a later edition (Gold Medal
#R2052, 1968 or 1969) that has a similar illustration on the cover, a couple in the same position and dressed the same way, but with no background, and she's wearing a strapless blue bra or something that's partly obscured by his shirt. I haven't read the book yet, but I assume either this is an important scene in it or the second artist just copied the first. This is one of JDM's best, isn't it?


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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