You wanna do something really wild? How about you and my husband swap bank accounts instead?
Robert Bonfils is on cover duty for G.A. Graeme's The Wife Traders, from Newsstand Library, circa 1959. Here a weekly bridge game turns into a swinging free-for-all, which of course leads to death. The story is written in the form of an investigation of two murders by an intrepid reporter who has to go undercover to crack the case wide open. Nothing new, but we always dig Bonfils.
I always get confused about this. So, like, if you're my mother's husband does that mean you can or can't spank me?
Above, a cover for My Mother's Husband, written by M. Anderson for Newsstand Library, a company based in Chicago. M. Anderson is obviously a pseudonym whose real identity seems lost to time, and believe it or not, this is actually a detective story. It's copyright 1960, with Robert Bonfils art.
You excite me so much, darling, but that's not my heart making that noise. That's my gastrointestinal tract.
Above, a cover for the medical romance novel Amorous Dietician by Mary Shomette Gooch, 1961, with art by Robert Bonfils. Gooch, who has such a ridiculous name you have to suspect it's real, also wrote Cheating Woman, The Tainted Rosary, and The Lusting Breed as Mary S. Gooch. And if you say that fast, you can make it sound like “Mary's gooch,” which would be funny but it turns out women don't have have gooches. Only men do—we looked it up.
Yes, dear, I replaced my flirtatious young assistant with a white-haired older lady, just like you wanted me to.
Above, another entry in the office sleaze genre—B. J. Gillan Jr.'s Office Playgirl, from Newsstand Library, 1960. We've included the rear cover so you can get the gist of it yourself. The art is uncredited,
Actually, she isn't the youngest anymore. But she's been a harlot for some years and it's sort of an honorary title now.
Above, an amusing cover for The Youngest Harlot by Jay Carpenter, from Newsstand Library, 1961. The cover text, in case you can't read it, says juvenile delinquency is the most biting indictment of our times. The fiction bites a little bit too, but in a fun way. If you're inclined you can find out for yourself by downloading a copy at TripleX Books. The art, by the way, could fit into our collection of characters leaning against poles, which makes the cover a winner for us. Thank Robert Bonfils.
Good sleaze can be like beautiful music.
Above you see a really nice Robert Bonfils cover for Bogus Lover, published by Newsstand Library in 1960. What's bogus, though, is how the author got ambushed on this one. According to mysteryfile.com, Hy Silver—his real name, by the way—originally wrote a standard detective thriller that was converted without consent into a sleaze novel. And what a conversion: “Her hips began to sway in low, rhythmic circles, eager with anticipation, then faster until they were undulating to a restless mambo beat.” Note to aspiring novelists—remember to use Latin American music as a metaphor for really good sex. The rumba works, as do the samba and bolero, and the tango is a really good one, especially when describing the interaction of two tongues. We're giving you this for free. Run with it.
Wow! He's really mastered some hot licks!
There's something special about how a great talent handles his instrument, right? It becomes an extension of him. A real virtuoso uses every technique in his repertoire—double and triple tonguing, lip trills, circular breathing, and of course quick valve water emptying—until it all comes together in one climactic crescendo. By the way, if you don't know what quick valve water emptying is, well child, you better ask somebody. In the past most players were men, but of late there are plenty of women who blow masterfully. The best often do dates in the legendary Trumpet City. That place is tops... Um, yeah. 1961 on this, with Robert Bonfils art.
She’s finally going to make her mark on Broadway.
The comic book-like art isn’t of good quality, but we had to share this because it fits into the collection of falling covers we put together a while back. The Penthouse Killings was written by Horace Brown for Toronto based Newsstand Library in 1950. If you actually want to know why this ballerina is tossed off a building, check the detailed review here.
Where there’s smoke there’s desire.
Above is a cover for Ronald J. Cooke’s The House on Craig Street, produced by an artist known only as D. Rickard for Harlequin in 1949. That’s the year Harlequin was launched in Toronto, Canada, and we gather that Rickard painted many of the company’s early covers. We had actually seen his work around quite often without knowing who painted it. But we always took note of it, and now that we've attached a name to the output, we’re officially on Rickard's bandwagon. His style reminds us of many of the French covers we share—i.e., verging on impressionistic, as opposed to the realistic work you see from many of the top American artists.
Moving on to the fiction, Ronald J. Cooke’s tale here involves a young advertising man who wants to make it big, and the action is set mainly in Montreal of the 1930s. Though there is a love interest, or even two, this book isn't one of the romances with which Harlequin earned its enduring fame. Cooke went on to write two more novels, and some non-fiction, including books like the popular Money-Making Ideas for Retirees. He also wrote tons of business articles for magazines and trade publications, exciting stuff like “How To Get Better Results for Your Mail-Order Business” and “Labour-Management Ideas That Yield Big Dividends.”
D. Rickard painted another cover for The House on Craig Street for News Stand Library’s U.S. run of the book, which you see at right. Depicting the same scene, this alternate version, also from 1949, seems to us a bit less evocative than the Harlequin cover, almost cartoonish. Anyway, we’ll have more work from this interesting artist later, but if you want to see some now, follow the link to this small collection.
I was thinking the four of us could get to know each other a little better.
This uncredited 1960 cover for Edwin Booth's Desire is one of the more brazen pieces we've seen. Among the several reactions it conjures are wonder and sympathy for women who had to wear bras that made their breasts look like bazooka shells. There’s no doubt in our minds the contraptions were designed by men, but it was actually Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Jane Russell and a few others that made them popular. This art evokes that era and its pitfalls for women succinctly.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1930—Amy Johnson Flies from England to Australia
English aviatrix Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia. She had departed from Croydon on May 5 and flown 11,000 miles to complete the feat. Her storied career ends in January 1941 when, while flying a secret mission for Britain, she either bails out into the Thames estuary and drowns, or is mistakenly shot down by British fighter planes. The facts of her death remain clouded today.
1934—Bonnie and Clyde Are Shot To Death
Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression robbing banks, stores and gas stations, are ambushed and shot to death in Louisiana by a posse of six law officers. Officially, the autopsy report lists seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow and twenty-six on Parker, including several head shots on each. So numerous are the bullet holes that an undertaker claims to have difficulty embalming the bodies because they won't hold the embalming fluid.
1942—Ted Williams Enlists
Baseball player Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox enlists in the United States Marine Corps, where he undergoes flight training and eventually serves as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida. The years he lost to World War II (and later another year to the Korean War) considerably diminished his career baseball statistics, but even so, he is indisputably one of greatest players in the history of the sport.
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