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0511 Un temps pour mourir

December 19, 2013
0511 Good Old Stuff, The 683
  • Title: Un temps pour mourir
  • English Title: A Time to Die
  • Canon: The Good Old Stuff
  • Language: French
  • Country: France
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1987
  • Publisher: Rivages
  • Collection: Noir
  • Collection #: 29
  • ISBN-10: 2869300794
  • ISBN-13: 9782869300798
  • Cover Artist: photo

It’s appropriate that this imprint is called Noir because this cover is noir. Beautiful, evil woman: check. Venetian blinds: check. Chrome-plated semiautomatic: check. Muted shades of black and gray: check. All required features are there, but the best part is the way her red lipstick is the only real color on the cover. Niiiice!

It makes me a bit nervous to imagine what part of the body she might be aiming at.


0510 Ciemniejsze niż bursztyn

December 18, 2013
0510 Darker Than Amber 320
  • Title: Ciemniejsze niż bursztyn
  • English Title: Darker Than Amber
  • Canon: Darker Than Amber
  • Language: Polish
  • Country: Poland
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1991
  • Publisher: Beta
  • Cover Artist: unknown

Finally! A John D MacDonald cover that illustrates a scene from the story. We all know the plot, of course, so the New York City skyline is obviously … uh … from Nightmare in Pink, and the evil guy on the motorcycle is right out of Free Fall in Crimson, and the richy bitchy movie star comes from The Quick Red Fox, and the dead man … well … is there any Travis McGee book where a guy doesn’t die? See? It isn’t difficult to make a representative cover.

Seriously, what is with that oversized gun pointing straight up? Subtle, man.


0509 The Drowner

December 16, 2013
0509 Drowner, The 1946
  • Title: The Drowner
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1979
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: 1-3582-9
  • ISBN-10: 0449135829
  • ISBN-13: 9780449135822
  • Cover Price: $1.75
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Author of: The Empty Copper Sea


Some time ago, I made a rash statement to the effect that all US editions of The Drowner use the superb Stanley Zuckerberg artwork. Dang it all, I’m wrong again. Close, but wrong. For reasons known only to the mysterious men in smoke filled rooms at Fawcett, somebody commissioned an artist, referred to as “?J” by Shine & Shine, to recreate Zuckerberg’s iconic cover. Maybe there was a contract dispute with Mr. Z. Regardless, this art was used for a single edition, the 10th printing, and then was dropped in favor of Zuckerberg’s work again. This is very rare for MacDonald’s work.

It’s interesting to compare the two covers. They are remarkably similar. The poses are almost identical but Zuckerberg’s ungripped leg is raised higher and looks more frantic, and his hair definitely looks more like wet hair than J’s. I’m happy to report that J kept Z’s teeny tiny bikini and I like his framing better, with the girl trying to escape diagonally instead of straight up.

Look at the position of the Drowner’s hands. Zuckerberg has the killer facing away from us while J’s killer faces the artist.

Recreation or not, it’s a good cover.

0508 The Only Girl in the Game

December 15, 2013
0508 Only Girl In The Game, The 957
  • Title: The Only Girl in the Game
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1964
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: D1389
  • Cover Price: $0.50
  • Cover Artist: Robert McGinnis

Many of my readers …

Let’s try again. After a recent unfortunate encounter with the prosecutor regarding a far too liberal interpretation of the Federal Truth in Blogging Law, I am forced to admit that I do not have many readers. The judge was clearly skeptical but finally allowed me to use the word “some”. But that’s not important here. If I had many readers, I’m sure that many of them would be howling about my policy of regarding any cover that differs in any way from another constitutes a “new” cover and is fair game for posting. Well, they have even more cause for complaint with this 2nd printing cover because it is precisely the same as this 3rd printing cover except that Fawcett gave it a new collection number. That’s it.

Fortunately, it’s a dynamite Robert Ginnis cover. I love the way she is swinging her shoe. That is just the kind of detail that make McGinnis’ work so great. That, and the way he draws legs. And the fallen shoulder straps. Mrrow!

A very short review appears here.


0507 Een diep en zwart ravijn

December 14, 2013
0507 The Green Ripper 707
  • Title: Een diep en zwart ravijn
  • English Title: The Deep Black Ravine
  • Canon: The Green Ripper
  • Language: Dutch
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1981
  • Publisher: Bruna
  • Collection: Zwarte beertjes
  • Collection #: 1959
  • ISBN-10: 9044919598
  • ISBN-13: 9789044919592
  • Cover Artist: unknown

The unknown artist has certainly seen the iconic Don Brautigam cover but chose to use a more conventional rifle than the de rigueur Uzi. The scan is so poor that I can’t identify the firearm. In fact, it’s so poor that it might actually be a photo cover. If so, I wonder what the model thought during the photo shoot. “Am I a Klansman? Why can’t I face the camera? Why do they have me toting a nine pound rifle instead something lightweight — like an Uzi?”

At the risk of committing heresy, I think The Deep Black Ravine is probably a better title than MacDonald’s.


0506 April Evil

December 13, 2013
0506 April Evil 80
  • Title: April Evil
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1974
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: M3138
  • Cover Price: $0.95
  • Cover Artist: Bill Johnson

This 5th printing cover uses the same Bill Johnson artwork as the 1st Fawcett printing that we’ve already seen. They have updated the text appearance and increased the price, but otherwise no change. The artwork that I moaned about before is actually pretty good, although as Steve Scott says, the scene doesn’t appear in the book. Any time you have a girl in a skirt tied to a chair you have my complete attention, and even if she escapes, she won’t get far running in those high heeled strappy pumps.

A very short review can be found here, but I recommend Steve Scott’s effort.

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am the 9th Fawcett printing of April Evil, printed in 1980 by Fawcett under their Gold Medal label (ISBN-10 0449141284, ISBN-13 9780449141281). My cover price is $1.95 and I sport the spiffy Robert McGinnis montage cover.

0505 The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper

December 12, 2013
0505 Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper, The 657
  • Title: The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrappex
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1981
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • ISBN-10: 0449142566
  • ISBN-13: 9780449142561
  • Cover Price:x$2.50
  • Cover Artist: Robert McGinnis
  • Author of: The Green Ripper

Image courtesy of the John D. MacDonald Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


I hate it when I refer to a cover that I haven’t posted yet, and yesterday I did it again.  For those of you too lazy to click the link, a German omnibus that included Brown had a spooky tree on the cover and I said it didn’t look as good as today’s tree. Except today’s tree wasn’t here yet, and yesterday today was tomorrow, but you get my point.

Anyway, here is today’s tree, and a mighty spooky tree it is. McGinnis was deep into his Gothic period but still illustrated a scene from the story (yes, the hanging man is part of it; jeez, guys, read the book!) although the girl in the brown paper wrapper was long gone before the scene, and was dead, too, so maybe the cover suggests the story more than illustrates it. I don’t care; McGinnis did a fine job and I like it. Sue me.

Update (12/13/2013): Whoops! Had the wrong “author of” title. Thanks, Freiler.

Milk Carton

Have you seen me? I am the 23rd and 24th printing of The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper, printed in 1979 and 1980 by Fawcett under their Gold Medal label (ISBN-10 0449142566, ISBN-13 9780449142561). I have the same McGinnis artwork as today’s cover and a price of $1.95.