Rui Ricardo.

More work from Portuguese artist, illustrator and designer Rui Ricardo, who did the handsome cover art for Stephen Spotswood’s Fortune Favors The Dead, discussed in a prior post. To see more of the artist’s work (and there’s a lot to gaze at) go to http://www.rui-ricardo.com

A Stiletto Gumshoe’s Halloween: The Toff.

“The Toff” (the Honorable Richard Rollinson) opens his mail and discovers a beautifully crafted doll of a naked woman – with a dagger plunged into her chest – which lures him into the bizarre world of the Obeah and a dangerous occult mystery. Maybe mystery, crime fiction and the supernatural (or at least the exceedingly eerie) ought to intersect more often. This one’s a pulpy adventure in John Creasey’s long running series of some sixty “Toff” novels published between 1938 and 1977. The piece of cover art above is from a 1967 Hodder & Stoughton UK paperback edition of A Doll For The Toff, though sadly without an artist credit that I know of.

More From Larry Schwinger.

Pennsylvania artist and illustrator Laurence ‘Larry’ Schwinger’s full color illustrations made my recent used bookstore find of the 1997 Illustrated Junior Library hardcover edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula a real jewel. And all for less than ten bucks. His non-stylized, no-nonsense illustrations added a lot to the classic vampire tale. 

Schwinger didn’t do a lot of horror work that I’m aware of. Or that much mystery/crime fiction material either. But he did some, and they’re nifty pieces, including a series of Cornell Woolrich 1980’s Ballantine paperbacks like I Married A Dead Man (at the top), The Bride Wore Black and The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, and more recently, some Hard Case Crime novels, including Spiderweb, Shooting Star, Witness To Myself and Robbie’s Wife

Danish Diamonds.

First seen at Modernizor (via Veluna 79) at Tumblr: Diamanter Varer Evigt (1957) the first Danish edition of Ian Fleming’s 007 novel Diamonds Are Forever with cover art by Sigvald Hagsted (and good luck finding out more about him).

Target Practice With Mister Prat.

Clearly, a figure painting master can do still lifes too. Above is a 1984 piece by Spain’s Enrique Torres Prat, AKA ‘Enric’ (and also ‘Enrich’). Below is another from the artist and illustrator perhaps best known for his lush figurative cover illustrations for Warren Publishing’s 1970’s horror magazines, and Vampirella in particular: An understandably controversial cover illustration for a 1988 German edition of Mickey Spillane’s Die Madchenjager.

Cover Me.

Well, it won’t be out till November 10th (and who knows if it’ll really be available immediately). But I’ll definitely be pre-ordering Colin Larkin’s Cover Me: The Art Of Pan Books 1950 – 1965. Sure, $45 is steep, but well worth it for a 256 page book with over 300 cover illustrations (bet there’ll be a lot of Sam Peffer examples). I’ll always admit to favoring U.S. postwar pb cover illustration work over the UK, continental Europe and other markets. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them all! Looking forward to this one.

Steffi (and Anita).

Who was Eunice Gray, author of the spicy 1959 ‘romance’ Steffi

Don’t ask me. You can find several Eunice Grays, one an author but surely not of a novel like Steffi. Another was a scientist, another the proprietor of a turn of the century (19th to 20th, that is) bordello, of all things. 

There are more, but I’m not convinced any are the Eunice Gray (if that’s not a pen name) who lucked out with this saucy Clement Micarelli cover art. I’m supposing Micarelli referred to the frequently seen publicity photo of Swedish actress Anita Ekberg (1931 – 2015) in lieu of a model for Steffi’s gouache illustration, but if not, it’s uncanny how similar the poses are. 

Denis McLoughlin.

Several consecutive posts in early August talked about Henry Kane’s late 1950’s ‘stiletto gumshoe’, Marla Trent, the “Private Eyeful” (link below). The paperbacks were graced by cover art from postwar illustration greats like Robert Maguire and Mort Engle, but I did once have a hardcover with much simpler (and a little less leering) art by Denis McLoughlin, which in its way was all the more striking.

British artist Denis McLoughlin (1918 – 2002) was as much a graphic designer as an illustrator, doing spot illustrations for a mail order catalog firm when WWII broke out and he became a gunner at a suburban London Royal Artillery Depot. There he was also ‘drafted’ to do officers’ portraits and produce murals around the base. After the war, McLoughlin began a long association with UK publisher T.V. Boardman, Ltd., his book cover work what he’s best known for, though he also did many magazine illustrations and even worked in comics. Fascinated by the swiftly evolving photo-mechanical color separations processes, McLoughlin was known for eking out striking results with limited colors, something pretty foreign to contemporary designers and illustrators working in a CMYK digital environment. 

Like many of the unsung heroes of the postwar commercial art world, Denis McLoughlin was all too often underpaid for his efforts. In his case it meant being forced to work way past retirement age. Tragically, his eyesight faded in his 80’s, Soon, he began to lose dexterity in his right arm. Fearing he’d be unable to draw and paint, Denis McLoughlin committed suicide using a studio prop pistol that only had one bullet in it. 

https://thestilettogumshoe.com/2020/08/01/no-really-where-did-marla-go/

A Blonde For Benny.

From Australia’s loooong running Larry Kent: I Hate Crime pulp series, this one’s for Blonde For Benny, the cover art presumably by series illustrators Stan Pitt or Walter Stackpool, though I see no signature or credits anywhere.

I bought several Larry Kent reprints not long ago, with two novelettes to each trade paperback. Can’t say I plan to swap them for a long list of more favored U.S. pulps and postwar PBO’s, but it’s always interesting to read UK and Australian takes on American slang, settings and hard-boiled storytelling.

Chinatown.

Barrios Chinos by Raoul Artz 1972

I know absolutely nothing about writer Raoul Artz, and am only guessing that he penned seventies sleaze books, at least based on titles like Las Obsesiones Sexuales, El Amor En Sueca and (as translated online) Sexual Women and Sexual Dating: The Call Girls, all from 1976. (That last one’s still knocking around inside my head. “Dating” equals “Call Girls”?)

Vintage sleaze or not, I adore the cover art for Artz’ Barrios Chinos from 1972, though I’m frustrated as hell that the artist is uncredited. The book’s back cover text reads (as run through an online translator): “The legend of Chinatown laid bare. Truths and tragedies in neighborhoods that come to light in a stark, realistic and sobering way. All the big cities have a quiet neighborhood. A forbidden neighborhood, a Chinatown. This work offers a panoramic view of what the Chinese quarters of the world’s main cities really are.”  Based on the cover art, I’m supposing the ‘panoramic view’ focuses on more of that ‘dating’ and those ‘call girls’.

One hell of an illustration, though…

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