|Vintage Pulp||May 29 2015|
Unrelated to the 1967 film Deadlier Than the Male, Paul Chevalier’s novel More Deadly Than the Male came years earlier and is no breezy Mediterranean spy tale, but rather the story of an American in Britain who murders the husband of a woman he desires in order to clear the way for his advances. The scheme, of course, backfires, but in an unexpected way—the object of his affection becomes bent on revenge. There was a 1959 movie by the same name, screenwritten by Chevalier, but we found no listings of the novel other than for this 1960 WDL paperback. Thus, this appears to be a novelization of the film. We think the cover art here is quite nice. It's uncredited.
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 23 2014|
This striking paperback cover for Mr. Arkadin was put together for Britain’s WDL Books by R. W. Smethurst, a well-known illustrator of comic books during the 1950s and 1960s. The Smethurst signature you see is not an autograph, but rather part of the art, something many of his covers contained. But the fact that he claims credit at all is rather interesting, because the art isn’t completely his. He seems to have borrowed his red-skirted femme fatale from Robert Maguire, who painted her for John D. MacDonald’s April Evil, below. It’s quite possible the other figures are borrowed as well. How strange.
We’re pretty sure, Smethurst, however, is not actually playing with the concept of fakery. John D. MacDonald was not obscure and neither was artist Robert Maguire, so there was no attempt at theft when Smethurst painted a close duplicate of Maguire’s femme. His cover falls into the category of pastiche—work in the style of another. What we’d really enjoy is if someone out there identified the other figures on the cover. But if those are Smethurst’s that would prove interesting too. In the meantime, if you want to know about Welles’ F for Fake and learn more about his attitudes toward authenticity, go here.