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0536 Месть в коричневой бумаге

August 4, 2020
0536 Girl In The Plain Brown Wrapper, The - Russian 644
  • Title: Месть в коричневой бумаге
  • English Title: Revenge in Brown Paper
  • Canon: omnibus
  • Language: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Year: 2000
  • Publisher: T͡Sentrpoligraf
  • Collection: Masters of Action-Detective
  • ISBN-10: 5227009368
  • ISBN-13: 9785227009364
  • Cover Artist: Oleg Lopatin


So what’s on our plate for today? The Russians run toward omnibi; there’s no reason to part with a spare kopek if you can get two books for one. This hardcover contains Pale Gray for Guilt and The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper.

The cover doesn’t illustrate anything from either story so let’s concentrate on the style. Mr. Lopatin appears to have used some kind of digital paint software, much like most of the Russian covers I’ve seen, and while the image is realistic, I’m not impressed. His shadows are all correct, but they don’t look real. She’s obviously dead but her features look normal and her hairdo is surprisingly intact. If he ever wants to learn how to drape clothing, he should study this cover. And if he wants to know what a dead woman should look like, he can check out this one.

I do like the one strap off the shoulder, but you already knew that.

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am a Russian omnibus titled Mys straha, Zoloto Makkeny (Cape Fear. Gold something), printed in 1993 by Ėrika.

0535 April Evil

August 3, 2020
April Evil
  • Title: April Evil
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1986
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: 13094-0
  • ISBN-10: 0449130940
  • ISBN-13: 9780449130940
  • Cover Price: $3.50
  • Cover Artist: William Schmidt
  • Author of: Barrier Island

In general, the early non-McGee JDM covers went through five stages: the mostly wonderful pulps, the sixties artwork, the seventies covers that were mostly by Robert McGinnis, the eighties covers that were mostly by William Schmidt, and some (but not this title!) with the current Random House photo covers.

April Evil has not one, but two magnificent pulp covers, here and here, the Bill Johnson covers in the sixties, a McGinnis cover, and this William Schmidt effort. The earlier William Schmidts were “full” artwork (by the standards of the day, meaning not full at all but just somewhat larger than this cover) and later ones, like this one, were part of the Circle series, where the artwork was shrunk down and somewhat constrained by a circle.

We have even seen this artwork before, but the covers are different. The text fonts and colors have changed, as have the cover price and which book is being advertised. Every cover that’s different is a different cover, that’s what I say.

It’s just a minor oddity, but Walter & Jean Shine claim that this 11th printing is ISBN 0339123545 but I’m sitting here looking at it and it is 0449130940.


0534 Ti ho visto

August 2, 2020
Ti ho visto
  • Title: Ti ho visto
  • English Title: I Saw You
  • Canon: A Man of Affairs
  • Language: Italian
  • Country: Italy
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Year: 1964
  • Publisher: Longanesi
  • Collection: I gialli proibiti
  • Collection #: 134
  • Cover Price: 500 lire
  • Cover Artist: photo
  • Translator: Vera Veraldi

There are many stereotypes about various various countries. English food is bland. Russians drink nothing but vodka. Americans are boorish. French bathrooms are disgusting. Australians think they invented pavlova.

I could add that all Italians are in the Mafia, or eat spaghetti, or build graceful but useless warships, or are terrible drivers. Each may or may not be true, but I’m going with Italians love their cheesecake. No, not the edible kind. Well, maybe that too.

At least the publishers think so. There are plenty of examples. Now I don’t mind the cheesecake, but this one took zero effort. If that photo wasn’t taken straight out of stock archives, I’ll eat my cappello.

And what’s with that leering cat? Stick your tongue back in!

0533 Vlčí smečka

August 1, 2020
Vlčí smečka
  • Title: Vlčí smečka
  • English Title: Wolf Pack
  • Canon: The End of the Night
  • Language: Czech
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1993
  • Publisher: BB art
  • Collection: Detektivky Vydáno
  • Cover Artist: Bohumil Fencl
  • Translator: Pavel Stránský


I’m not proud of how long it took me to figure out what is on this cover. My first thought was that if was a cropped view of this cover but no. Then I thought it must be a view out of a window but I couldn’t figure out why there is a Chevrolet logo in it. So I gave up.

The next morning I was almost sober and finally figured out it is part of an automobile, a side window and door, which is reflecting a parched landscape (Texas, maybe?) and a blue sky. That fits with the story, so that’s what I’m going with.

I’m certain there is something of interest going on inside the car, but I just can’t make it out.

Not a terrible cover.


0532 A Purple Place for Dying

July 31, 2020
Purple Place For Dying, A - US PB 1978 FGM 0449138798 97804491387983 $1.50 Ron Lesser
  • Title: A Purple Place for Dying
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1977/1978
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: 1-3879-8
  • ISBN-10: 0449138798
  • ISBN-13: 97804491387983
  • Cover Price: $1.50
  • Cover Artist: Ron Lesser
  • Author of: Condominium


We’ve seen this artwork before here, back in the early days of this blog. When Lemon hit the big time, Fawcett redesigned the entire catalog to capitalize on MacDonald’s new-found popularity. The unifying theme was JDM’s name in the new fat, funky font, which we see here. Gone is McDermott’s iconic Travis McGee portrait, along with any background at all.

Well, I didn’t say it was better. I just said it was new. Still, if I’m going to break with years of tradition and be honest, I will say it has a certain clean look to it. This cover was used for the 19th, 20th, and 21st printings.

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am a paperback version of A Purple Place for Dying printed in 1955 by Fawcett as Gold Medal 1-4219-1 (ISBN 0449142191). I am almost identical to the image above but my cover price is $1.95.

0531 Murder Run-Around

July 30, 2020
Murder Runaround 2017 us
  • Title: Murder Run-Around
  • Canon: short story
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 2017
  • Publisher: Jeffries-Prendergast-Underhill
  • ISBN-10: 1521592373
  • ISBN-13: 9781521592373
  • Cover Artist: unknown

There are a few foreign JDM “books” with just a single short story, but this is the only one in English that I know of. With the advent of easy self-publishing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more as copyrights expire. I picked up this 45 page item from Amazon for five bucks.

Unfortunately, Steve Scott has not written one of his in-depth reviews of this story yet, so you’ll have to muddle through with mine.

The main character is Brendan “Bren” Harris, who was cheated out of his share of a business by Laena Severance, a girl he thought he loved, and two partners. He is in Mexico, seeking out the three, intending to kill them for ruining his life. “He wondered how her eyes would look — if he shot her in the stomach.”

Laena Severance is now a sensuous dancer at El Toreo, a cheap Mexican nightclub. I don’t know if her last name is supposed to be significant but her description — “Great gray eyes under the dark brows, face so delicate as to almost be too thin, framed by the lush and silky mass of the white-gold hair” — makes it obvious to even the most neophyte MacDonald reader how she will turn out.

The main bad guy is named Gowan Teed. You’re aware, of course, that the hero of Judge Me Not is Teed Morrow, but did you know that JDM’s wife Dorothy’s first husband was named William Teed? Steve Scott does his usual excellent job of describing how William’s father embezzled a cool quarter million, which eventually led to Dorothy & William’s divorce.

I can’t say I was surprised by the ending, but I enjoyed reading MacDonald’s short, choppy sentences that he favored in his pulp writing. And the cover illustration is great GGA!

0530 De planeet van de dromers

July 29, 2020
De planeet van de dromers
  • Title: De planeet van de dromers
  • English Title: Planet of the Dreamers
  • Canon: Wine of the Dreamers
  • Language: Dutch
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1970
  • Publisher: Bruna
  • Collection: Zwarte Beertje
  • Collection #: 1319
  • ISBN-10: 9022913198
  • ISBN-13: 9789022913192
  • Cover Price: f2.75 (Fr40 in Belgium)
  • Cover Artist: Dick Bruna
  • Translator: J. B. de Mare


Your guess is as good as mine on this one. It’s not a poor scan; it’s just weird.

  • A Christmas tree ornament hand-painted by a child who really shouldn’t have mixed PCP and Captain Morgan’s?
  • A periscope view of a burning ship in heavy seas?
  • A smoking meteorite in its just-formed crater?
  • A planet of dreamers?

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am a Dutch paperback titled Tijger van de lucht (Tiger of the Air), printed in 1955 by Schoonderbeek. I contain a single short story, “Flight of the Tiger”, which originally appeared in Colliers magazine in 1954.

0529 Dunkler als Bernstein

July 28, 2020
Dunkler als Bernstein
  • Title: Dunkler als Bernstein
  • English Title: Darker Than Amber
  • Canon: omnibus
  • Language: German
  • Country: West Germany
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1987
  • Publisher: Heyne
  • Collection: Blaue Krimis
  • Collection #: 2200
  • ISBN-10: 3453001974
  • ISBN-13: 9783453001978
  • Cover Artist: unknown


Ok, let’s start with the title. Any reasonable person would assume the title is Dunkler als Bernstein – Grau auf Weisser West – Die Gelben Augen. I mean, it just stands to reason. That’s what’s on the cover.

However, every reference to this book that I can find is just Dunkler als Bernstein, so that’s what I use. Go figure.

This is an omnibus of three Travis McGee books: Darker Than Amber, Pale Gray for Guilt, and One Fearful Yellow Eye. Of course, they should be in the order of Amber, Yellow, and Gray, but these days I’m just happy that an omnibus has contiguous stories at all. Oh, how my standards have fallen.

0528 Bright Orange for the Shroud

July 27, 2020
1587 Bright Orange for the Shroud
  • Title: Bright Orange for the Shroud
  • English Title: Bright Orange for the Shroud
  • Canon: Bright Orange for the Shroud
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1995
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Crest
  • ISBN-10: 0449224449
  • ISBN-13: 9780449224441
  • Cover Price: $7.99 (Canada $10.99)
  • Cover Artist: none


There’s nothing like an interesting, well-designed cover.

And this is nothing like an interesting, well-designed cover.


0527 Illdåd Planeras

July 26, 2020
0583 Illdåd Planeras
  • Title: Illdåd Planeras
  • English Title: Planned Atrocities
  • Canon: The Executioners
  • Language: Swedish
  • Country: Sweden
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1980
  • Publisher: Wahlströms
  • Collection: Månadsdeckare
  • Collection #: 79
  • ISBN-10: 9132309090
  • ISBN-13: 9789132309090
  • Cover Artist: photo


I was previously unaware of the federal law requiring all covers of The Executioners / Cape Fear to depict either a homicidal manic, a frightened woman, or beach house, but it seems to be so. Oh, there’s always an outlaw but some straight arrow publishers ensure compliance by including more than one of the required elements. Thank God for Wahlströms’ sense of law and order!

The bloody hand at the poor damsel’s neck might be hers or the maniac’s. Either way, her wide-eyed, open-mouthed pose is fully justified. We’ll just have to forgive her for having her background cut away with a dull machete. Seriously, are the graphics designers paid minimum wage?

Did anyone else notice the crow flying over the house amid the blood splatters?