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0607 Darker Than Amber

October 19, 2020

0607 Darker Than Amber 332
  • Title: Darker Than Amber
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: about 1987
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: 13339-7
  • Cover Price: $3.95
  • Cover Artist: William Schmidt
  • Author of: Barrier Island

Two William Schmidt “double” covers in a row! Or perhaps not, as today’s exhibit is not really a double image at all. For some reason, there is only one picture, and not very interesting at that, forcing me to veer off on a discourse about cruise ships.

These days, almost every cruise ship is laid up, costing its owners a fortune in carrying and maintenance costs. Consequently, they are being sold off, often for scrap. My wife is gleeful, having regarded them as veritable viral buffets for many years, not just during the Current Unpleasantness.

For a few seconds I thought Mr. Schmidt might have used SS Mariposa, the ship JDM sailed on in Nothing Can Go Wrong, as a model for this cover, but his ship has its funnel too far back and doesn’t have the cargo handling davits.

Mariposa

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am the 29th through 31st printings of Darker Than Amber, printed in 1955 by Fawcett under its Gold Medal imprint (ISBN-10 0449127524). I am a lot like today’s cover but my price is only $2.95.

0606 Bright Orange for the Shroud

October 18, 2020

0606 Bright Orange for the Shroud 1573
  • Title: Bright Orange for the Shroud
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1987
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • ISBN-10: 0449133583
  • ISBN-13: 9780449133583
  • Cover Price: $3.95
  • Cover Artist: William Schmidt
  • Author of: Barrier Island

Today’s cover is of the 38th Fawcett printing. Wow, 38. It’s a lot but Gray had at least 41 Fawcett printings.

The Double McGee covers are just middlin’ artwise, but William Schmidt did this one better than most. Let’s see, we have a coffee jar full of rolled up bills. You remember that part of the story, right? The woman on the label looked vaguely familiar. Perhaps I was thinking of this one:

Yuban coffee

The smoking gun (and I really like the way the smoke is wafting) comes from one of the most memorable Travis McGee scenes there is: Travis trying to crawl away after being shot. That one still gives me the willies.

I don’t recognize the other object. A woman’s compact? A pocket watch? A compass? An orange slice?

0605 Giftgrün für Vivian

October 17, 2020

0605 Giftgrun fur Vivan2169
  • Title: Giftgrün für Vivian
  • English Title: A Green Gift for Vivian
  • Canon: Bright Orange for the Shroud
  • Language: German
  • Country: Germany
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 2017
  • Publisher: Fischer Tashenbuch
  • Collection: Die Schwartzen Kriminalromane
  • ISBN-10: 3596318041
  • ISBN-13: 9783596318049
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Translator: Hans Maeter

What is this with foreign covers? This one makes six in a row.

It’s not much of a cover and there’s not much to say about it. Fischer used this style and a couple of variations for a number of crime books by a variety of authors.

Fischer Taschenbuch 1   Fischer Taschenbuch 2

There is another JDM in this series. What am I going to find to say about it?

0604 Оранжевый для савана

October 16, 2020

0603 omnibus russian 1566
  • Title: Оранжевый для савана
  • English Title: Orange for the Shroud
  • Canon: omnibus
  • Language: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Year: 1994
  • Publisher: Prosperus
  • Collection: Taurus Ertrans
  • ISBN-10: 985410012X
  • ISBN-13: 9789854100128
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Translator: S. Kuznetsov, D. Pavlenko

Here is yet another in the seemingly unending series of Russian John D. MacDonald omnibi. The title should give it away but it contains Bright Orange for the Shroud. It’s not clear from the title but it also includes Dress Her in Indigo.

The Russians can never be accused of recycling old covers, but that’s not why I’m refraining from tagging this post with Travis image. Nor is it because Travis would never play three dimensional holographic Tetris, although I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t, and not just because it wasn’t invented while he was around. Indeed, it still hasn’t.

No, it’s because the man depicted on the cover is wearing glasses and smoking a pipe. Travis might smoke a pipe on occasion, I wouldn’t know, and he might need reading glasses and simply refuse to acknowledge the fact in his narratives, but plastic frames? Not in any universe I’m interested in living in.

0603 Расставание в голубом. Глаза с желтизной.

October 15, 2020

0603 omnibus russian 1566
  • Title: Расставание в голубом. Глаза с желтизной.
  • English Title: Parting of the Blue. Eyes with Yellow.
  • Canon: omnibus
  • Language: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Year: 1994
  • Publisher: Prosperus
  • Collection: Taurus Ertrans
  • ISBN-10: 9854100111
  • ISBN-13: 9789854100111
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Translator: unknown

Here is yet another in the seemingly unending series of Russian John D. MacDonald omnibi. The title should give it away but it contains The Deep Blue Good-by and One Fearful Yellow Eye.

The Russians can never be accused of illustrating scenes from the book, but that’s not why I’m refraining from tagging this post with Travis image. Nor is it because Travis would never play three dimensional holographic Tetris, although I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t, and not just because it wasn’t invented while he was around. Indeed, it still hasn’t.

No, it’s because the man depicted on the cover is wearing glasses and smoking a pipe. Travis might smoke a pipe on occasion, I wouldn’t know, and he might need reading glasses and simply refuse to acknowledge the fact in his narratives, but plastic frames? Not in any universe I’m interested in living in.

0602 גשם הבדידות הכסוף

October 14, 2020

0602 Lonely Silver Rain, The israel 771
  • Title: גשם הבדידות הכסוף
  • English Title: Silver Rain Loneliness
  • Canon: The Lonely Silver Rain
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Country: Israel
  • Format: unknown
  • Year: 1989
  • Publisher: Zamora Bitan
  • Collection: Pavilion
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Translator: David Shaham

Identifying foreign John D. covers is an arcane art only learned after years of hard work. Let me impart my wisdom to you, grasshoppers.

Any novice might deduce this is a Travis McGee story. The pork pie hat and heavy semiautomatic pistol are dead giveaways, of course. It hardly needs to be said.

Slightly more difficult is the Moorish hotel on the shores of Lake Lucerne, but this is an obvious plot point so you only get minor credit for that.

A real pro would recognize the scribbled diagram of a football play (or gridiron for those of you across the Pond) that only makes sense if you realize it is a play-action drag route over the middle with the tight end running a rub route to pull the Mike linebacker out of position. Now that I’ve explained it, anybody or his brother must know the book is Silver.

Or you could just know that everybody likes to use slanting dashed white lines to portray rain like this.

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am an Israeli Hebrew edition of Free Fall in Crimson, titled Η χαμένη κληρονομιά (The lost heritage), printed in 1983 by Bell.

0601 Przebiegła i ruda

October 13, 2020

0601 Quick Red Fox, The 1898
  • Title: Przebiegła i ruda
  • English Title: Cunning in red
  • Canon: The Quick Red Fox
  • Language: Polish
  • Country: Poland
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 2017
  • Publisher: Albatros
  • ISBN-13: 9788379859061
  • Cover Artist: photo

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could ever top the other Polish Quick Red Fox cover. I know I’ve been trying to forget it ever since I posted it. Thank goodness that Albatros knew this and didn’t even try. Instead they ripped off Random House’s American cover style and added a different photo.

0414 Quick Red Fox, The 1799

I have to give them credit for the photo. I like the way she it backlit and how she was captured tossing her hair back. Not bad at all.

This mini-review sums up why I like John D. MacDonald’s writing style:

To jeden z tych kryminałów, którego akcja nie pędzi na złamanie karku, ale mimo wszystko jest na tyle interesująca, że czytelnik zatraca się w niej z wielką przyjemnością.

0600 Piège sans fond

October 12, 2020

0600 Scarlet Ruse, The france 1080
  • Title: Piège sans fond
  • English Title: Bottomless Trap
  • Canon: The Scarlet Ruse
  • Language: French
  • Country: France
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1974
  • Publisher: Presses de la Cité
  • Collection: Punch
  • Collection #: 25
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Translator: Emmanuel de Morati

I like to save something special for these little landmark posts.

  • “Bottomless Trap” Heh heh.
  • I’m glad to see that the guy on the right is properly masked.
  • “I don’t care if you have to blow your nose. You can’t have my handkerchief unless you turn down the air conditioning.”
  • Never get into a fistfight while wearing a suit.
  • “I’m just lying here waiting for the opening kickoff. Go team!”
  • “Give me the garden hose! It’s my turn to water the flowers.”
  • Her face says “fourteen” but the rest of her says, “Vache sacrée! Je suis habillé pour réussir.”

0599 A Purple Place for Dying

October 11, 2020

0599 Purple Place for Dying, A 1502
  • Title: A Purple Place for Dying
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1972/73
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: T2521
  • ISBN-10: 0449025217
  • ISBN-13: 9780449025215
  • Cover Price: $0.75
  • Cover Artist: Ron Lesser

This one is for Warren, who appreciates the finer points of cowgirls. We saw an almost identical cover not long ago and I pretty much said everything I have to say about it, so today’s post will be briefer than usual.

Today’s cover was used for the 9th, 10th, and 11th printings. It’s direct, clean, attractive, and makes you want to sneak a peek inside, much like the cowgirl.

0598 The Quick Red Fox

October 10, 2020

0598 Quick Red Fox, The 1605
  • Title: The Quick Red Fox
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1968
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: D1945
  • Cover Price: $0.50
  • Cover Artist: Ron Lesser, John McDermott

Today we’re looking at the 4th printing of Red. We have seen Lysa Dean’s Hi Sailor pose before and it never gets old. This one is a bit fuzzy. Why can’t people put some effort into their scans for me to steal?

Anthony Boucher wrote a review for the New York Times, an excerpt of which appears on the cover. Boucher (rhymes with voucher, who knew?) is familiar to me from childhood, thanks to my parents’ obsessive attempt to acquire every single science fiction paperback printed in the 1950s and early 1960s. He wrote mystery, science fiction, and horror (including the ninth best locked room mystery of all time!) but I knew him for editing collections of science fiction short stories such as the apparently endless editions of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction. Boucher was one of the few people to review JDM in his early days and pushed hard for him. As usual, Steve Scott tells the story better than I could.

Fun fact: MacDonald’s working title for this book was A Little Fox, the Color of Cream. Whoever talked him out of that should have received a bonus.