*Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror / Crime, Spies & Sleaze: This update features a set of books where authors have crossed from established genres to explore new horizons. Jack London, Hank Janson and Edgar Wallace, best known for Crime have Science Fiction novels with The Star Rover, The Unseen Assassin and The Green Rust respectively. In fact, cognoscenti of Hank Janson’s Reginald Heade cover art will find the distressed damsel on the cover of The Unseen Assassin very similar in pose and dishevelled clothing to those adorning the detective fiction (although the background art is by Ron Turner). J B Priestley, now best known as a playwright has a Crime novel – Salt Is Leaving. The last three publications defy easy classification, but we’ve put them in our Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror category: The Starcomber, originally a novella by Alfred Bester, Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) is it Fantasy? Horror? a Polymesmeric Bestseller? and finally Dragaonflame And Other Nightmares by Don McGregor, who’s best known as a comics writer.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Here’s a trio of tales from one of the masters of hardboiled detective fiction. Bloody Sunrise features Tiger Mann, while The Girl Hunters and The Flier both feature Mike Hammer. Spillane once described his style as ‘the chewing gum of American literature’ and these three are perfect examples.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Dr Fu Manchu’s evil empire has expanded with the addition of three stylish Pyramid (US) editions of his adventures. The Island Of Fu Manchu dates from 1963, The Mask Of Fu Manchu from 1966 and the (comparatively) modern The Return OF Dr. Fu Manchu dates from 1970. SORRY, THESE HAVE NOW SOLD
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Perfumed / Pampered, a pair of novels published bound together by Midwood (Tower) are typical sleaze novels from this publisher, but they are elevated by the inclusion of ten full-page black and white illustrations by Frank Frazetta. This is an extremely rare book with high collector interest, in VG/FN grade on sale for £150. There is minor creasing at the spine and very slight binding separation towards the rear, but no loose pages.
Although we normally only use images from our own copies, in this case, to avoid damage, we’ve used stock images to show a sample of the illustrations. Front and back cover images are of the actual copy of the book.
This year we’re very excited (maybe the !!! gives it away?) to be taking part in the London Bookshop Crawl, which will be happening over the weekend of 9th – 11th February. The Bookshop Crawl, as you might imagine is like a pub crawl, only with books, and is an opportunity for booklovers to visit lots of (mainly) independent booksellers and be rewarded in the process.
We’ll be offering 10% off all purchases from our Books section, and a selection of free books (up to 5 per customer). In addition, for this Sunday (11th) only, we’ll be open from 10:30 to 18:00.
If you want to join in, or just find out more, just click here.
Nestled away in the Crime, Spies and Sleaze category of our Book Department are several volumes featuring the distinctive art of Reginald Heade, described by some American afficiandos of the ‘gangster pulp digest’ genre as ‘England’s finest artist’ and indeed his finely detailed paintings that adorned the covers of hardbacks and paperbacks in the mid 20th Century were a cut above the illustrations featured on the vast majority of similar fare. Although his work ranged through many genres and subject matters, he is best remembered perhaps for the voluptuous women (often in a state of distress/undress) who graced the covers of books by Hank Janson, Paul Renin, Michael Storme, Roland Vane and countless others. Heade himself was a man of mystery about whom little is known, other than he worked in London; there are no photos of him, nor does anyone claim to remember meeting him. Fortunately, he left behind a large body of wonderful work, the legacy by which he will be remembered. Here are a few examples from our stock; although some Heade cover books turn up quite often, others are very rare indeed and command huge prices if and when they come up for sale (some it seems never do!).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: A small update of 1960s editions that introduces two new authors to our shelves, in addition to some old favourites. New to our listings are Behold Here’s Poison (Georgette Heyer) and Above Suspicion (Helen MacInnes). We’ve also added John Buchan’s classic The Thirty-Nine Steps, Death In The Clouds by Agatha Christie and Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey – all entertaining reads in great vintage editions.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: At long last we replenish our stocks of Modesty Blaise paperback novels, including A Taste For Death, Last Day In Limbo, Modesty Blaise, Sabre-Tooth & The Impossible Virgin. Often compared to her contemporary James Bond, we have always found Modesty to be superior! If you haven’t tried Modesty, she really is the best policy, and at prices between £3-£8, an excellent choice!
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: … by which we mean crime adventures published in the currently fashionable larger size, rather than the classic 7 1/16″ x 4 3/8″ format. Dating from the 1980s and 2000s, we have Double Indemnity (Cain, the novel that led to the classic film), The Hollow Man (Carr, generally regarded as the finest locked room mystery ever written), Cobra Trap (O’Donnell, the last Modesty Blaise book) and Kiss For A Killer (Fickling, a Honey West adventure, the character that had her own stylish TV series in the 1960s). Perhaps most interesting of all is The Black Gang (Sapper, featuring classic British hero Bulldog Drummond and friends).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Some classic Bond paperback editions in this week’s books update, including Diamonds Are Forever, Dr. No, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia, With Love (movie cover), The Man With The Golden Gun (1st PB edition), Thunderball (bullet-hole cover) and You Only Live Twice. Among the most famous adventures of the greatest spy/secret agent of them all!
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: An update of Creasey crime novels can only ever be a good thing. Here we showcase his talent, including a Department Z adventure (Death By Night), a Doctor Palfrey adventure (The Terror) and more about the Toff (The Toff On The Farm) as well as novels he wrote as Michael Halliday (Out Of The Shadows) and Jeremy York (Find The Body and To Kill Or Die).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: We’re pleased to be able to offer a very nice selection of Carter Brown books, all 1st US PB, 1st printings by Signet and all possessing wonderful Barye Phillips covers. The images here give just a taste of the titles on offer, with a range of Brown’s detectives. Most of the stories feature free-wheeling, hard-boiled Al Wheeler, but The Ever-Loving Blues and The Savage Salome feature Hollywood PI Danny Boyd, The Million Dollar Babe has Mike Farrell, and Lament For A Lousy Lover teams up Al Wheeler and Mavis Seidlitz. Skilfully written with a wry sense of humour, Carter Brown makes for very entertaining reading.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Some very unusual and hard to find books have sashayed into the Crime section, mainly from the 1950’s and frequently with the author using a pseudonym to protect their reputation. Highlights include Ladies Sleep Alone (Lew Della), The City Of Lost Women (Griff), Torment (Hank Janson), Gin Wedding (Ann Lawrence), No Prude (Jules-Jean Morac) and Sex (Paul Renin). Many have very attractive cover art: all the Hank Janson titles have Heade covers, Jules-Jean Morac’s No Prude has a David Wright cover, while Michael Storme’s Make Mine A Harlot has cover art by John Pollack.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: We’ve added more crime from the prolific Edgar Wallace. This time many of the books are from the 1920’s and 1930’s and include several unusual editions. Chick is a movie tie-in and shows the lead actor on the cover in pyjamas and dressing gown. Angel Esquire, Iron Grip and The Big Four are all hardcovers with dust jackets. Mr Justice Maxell has cover art by Abbey, while On The Spot has cover art by Monroe Reisman. All in all, a selection that has WANTED written all over it.
*Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror and Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Although best known for his Science Fiction, the talented and unassuming Dr Asimov also wrote excellent mysteries. In classic novels such as The Caves Of Steel and The Naked Sun he combined both genres to great effect, but he also wrote short stories with mysteries set in far-flung futures and places, thirteen of which we have in Asimov’s Mysteries. In the spirit of genre-spanning we also have two crime mysteries, one a novel (A Whiff Of Death) and the other a collection of short stories based on the Black Widowers Club (Tales Of The Black Widowers).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: An octet of Leslie Charteris’ ever popular Simon Templar books have joined the bookshelves. The majority are Pan editions, but we also have a Hodder and Stoughton yellow cover edition of Follow The Saint and a high grade (VF) Coronet edition of The Saint Intervenes.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The crime writer John Dickson Carr, in common with many other authors of the time published books under a different name, in his case Carter Dickson. Whatever name he used, readers could be assured of a well-told, well-plotted story, often with a seemingly insoluble mystery. Carr was an acknowledged master of the locked room mystery. In one book, The Hollow Man, he even has a character (Dr Fell) discusses these mysteries: this was critically acclaimed, and has even been published on its own as an essay. John Dickson Carr was one of the crime authors honoured by Penguin in the 1950s, when they published ten books at once by selected authors. We have added more John Dickson Carr novels to our listings, and added Carter Dickson for the first time, all in collectable Penguin editions. Titles by Carr include Poison In Jest, The Case Of the Constant Suicides, The Mad Hatter Mystery, The Waxworks Murder and Till Death Do Us Part (which has an unusual Black and white cover). As Carter Dickson we have She Died A Lady, The Plague Court Murders and The Red Widow Murders.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The demand for easily portable books led to several publishers attempting to emulate the success of Pocket Books, producing books the width of a normal paperback, but significantly shorter. We have added a good range of such books, published by Dell, WDL, Corgi and Jay Suspense and all by acknowledged masters of the crime genre. These include John Dickson Carr (The Corpse In The Wax Works), Erle Stanley Gardner (The Case Of The Lazy Lover), Brett Halliday (She Woke To Darkness, The Private Practice Of Michael Shayne and The Uncomplaining Corpses), Anthony Morton (John Creasey: Versus The Baron) and Mickey Spillane (I, The Jury, One Lonely Night and The Long Wait). She Woke To Darkness is also notable for having Robert Schulz cover art.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The Golden Age Of Detective Fiction was surely between the 1920’s and the 1950’s, and in this period several women dominated the genre. No fewer than six female authors form this significant addition to our crime section – each of them with a claim to the title of Queen of Crime. We felt it would be very dangerous to pick one over the others, given the gruesome fates meted out to victims in their works, so we’ve settled for giving them a crown each. Margery Allingham has several books added, mainly in Penguin Classic Crime editions. Agatha Christie also has several books added, including an adaptation of a stage play, The Unexpected Guest (adapted by Charles Osborne, but listed with Agatha Christie). The other royal contenders are Ngaio Marsh (Artist In Crime, Enter A Murderer and Spinsters In Jeopardy), Dorothy L Sayers (Five Red Herrings and The Unpleasantness At The Bellona Club), Josephine Tey (Pan editions of Miss Pym Disposes and The Singing Sands) and Patricia Wentworth (Rolling Stone in a 1946 Popular Library edition).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Dennis Wheatley, best known for writing about the occult, also wrote many spy thrillers. Chief among these were his Gregory Sallhurst series and his Duke de Richleau series, which still managed to display Wheatley’s occult interests within an espionage setting. We have added three of each, Come Into My Parlour, The Scarlet Impostor and Traitor’s Gate feature Gregory Sallhurst while Dangerous Inheritance, The Prisoner In The Mask and Vendetta In Spain feature Duke de Richleau.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Edward S Aarons CIA agent Sam Durrell joins us in four of his popular espionage thrillers from the Assignment series: Ankara, Golden Girl, Lowlands and Nuclear Nude. All written between 1961 and 1971, these are guaranteed to entertain.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: As teenagers became a recognised stage of adolescence, concerns grew about their behaviour and ‘seduction of the innocents’, as campaigner and noted psychiatrist Dr Wertham famously/notoriously??put it. All the furore sparked a rash of books purporting to document teenage life, and we are pleased to have several of them added to our stock. Harlan Ellison’s 1963 novel Rockabilly documents the wild private life of a rock star. Carl Ruhen’s The Violent Ones, about New York gang girls, is an unusual Australian addition to the genre. Two books by Hal Ellson, I’ll Fix You and Tomboy have approving reviews by Dr Wertham, ‘…the authentic truth of real conditions , the moral truth of facing evil that exists right under our noses’, Justice, ‘A powerful condemnation of a society that robs children of their youth’ and the Christian Science Monitor, ‘He takes the whole shocking and brutal story and flings it down as a challenge’ amongst others. All four books are 1st PB.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Doomed Sinner, Wanton Bride, Too Hot To Handle and Naked Tales: with titles like these and suggestive cover art it’s not hard to see the appeal of these books. The sleaze novels of the 1950’s and 1960’s used covers and synopses hinting at risqué content as a means of increasing sales of formats such as romance and mystery. Occasionally cover art and content were deemed to have gone too far, resulting in prosecutions for obscenity, but the publishers were generally adept at pushing the boundary just far enough. We have added a salacious sample of sleaze in a range of grades and prices, most of which are 1st editions. The books pictured are Play It Hard (Gil Brewer), Perversity (Francis Carco), Manhandled (Whitman Chambers), Spotlight On Sin/Backwood Shack (a double book: Doug Duperrault/Harry Whittington), Hold Back The Night (Desmond Leslie), Glad To Be Bad (Adam Roberts)and Law Of Lust (Bob Tralins). As for the content – well you’ll just have to buy one to find out if it lives up to the hype (just as the original publishers hoped).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: James Hadley Chase was one of several pen names used by René Lodge Brabazon Raymond. A highly successful author, writing more than 90 novels as Chase, and with more than 50 made into films, it’s no wonder he was dubbed the king of thriller writers in Europe. We have added six books (four titles) by Chase to the Crime section. Highlights include Hit And Run, featured in 1st UK PB edition, with John Pollack cover art, Safer Dead in 1st UK HC edition, also with John Pollack cover art on the dustjacket, a 1st UK HC edition of The Double Shuffle, with dustjacket, and You’ve Got It Coming! in Panther and Corgi editions.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The world of James Bond has captivated many readers and filmgoers, so it’s not surprising that there have been many books written about the man and his background. One of the most respected is Kingsley Amis’ James Bond Dossier (1st UK PB), which we are pleased to add to our Books section. It’s accompanied by For Bond Lovers Only (edited by Sheldon Lane, 1st UK PB), which features many black and white photos of Bond women, the man himself and some of his guns, as well as 007, James Bond, A Report (O F Snelling) the first major critical analysis of Fleming’s Bond novels, and the only one approved by Ian Fleming.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The world’s most famous detective stars in our Crime update this week. Sherlock Holmes by his creator (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) in his very first adventure ‘A Study In Scarlet’ and ‘The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes’, as well as by other writers, including Robert Lee Hall (‘Exit, Sherlock Holmes’ Sphere 1st 1979), Michael Harrison (‘The World Of Sherlock Holmes’ NEL 1975) and Michael Kurland (‘The Infernal Device’ NEL 1st 1979). If it’s a triple-pipe problem for you choosing which to buy, it’s elementary — buy them all!
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: 30th Century Comics have been greatly cheered by recent reports that sales of real (as opposed to virtual) books have stopped falling. Now comes yet more proof that you can’t beat a real book, with the news that a new fragrance, Paperback, has been released “with just a touch of the mustiness of aged paper”. Chemically speaking the scent that habitués of second-hand bookshops identify with is a mixture of acetic acid (think vinegar), rosin and a relative of vanillin. Here at 30th Century Comics though, we say why have hamburger when you can have steak? Our mega crime and spies update gives you the opportunity to own the real fragrance, with more than 40 books added. You’ll be spoilt for choice with a nice spread across the decades. From the 1950’s: Graphic Mystery novels, some with Oliver Brabbins cover art, such as Murder – Very Dry (Samm Sinclair Baker), or two other 1950’s novels, The Big Guy (Wade Miller) and Follow The Saint (Leslie Charteris). 1960’s works include James M Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Adam Diment’s The Dolly Dolly Spy and The Great Spy Race and Winston (Poldark) Graham’s Take My Life. In the 1970’s we have Victor Canning’s A Delivery Of Furies and two blaxploitation novels, Black Gunn (Larry Pryce) and Shaft Among The Jews (Ernest Tidyman), along with Zero Cool (Michael Crichton disguised as John Lange), The Big Hit (Ken Follett disguised as Symon Myles) and The Ace Of Spies (Don Von Elsner). Finally one book published in 1980, The Drowner by John D MacDonald. This is not an exhaustive list (although it’s been exhausting typing it!): check the Crime, Spies & Sleaze listing to see all the titles.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Hank Janson was invented by Stephen Frances. His racy detective novels of the 40’s and 50’s, generally published on a monthly basis, filled the gap formed when American pulp fiction was banned from the UK, and were immensely popular. (In fact they were so racy that author, publishers and distributors were prosecuted for obscenity in 1954). The late 1950’s Alexander Moring imprint, with red and yellow stripes across the top of the cover was arguably the most stylish of all. The front covers either featured art by the brilliant, elusive Reginald Heade, or produced in his style. Interestingly, many Alexander Moring publications have Heade covers that have been modified, usually by the addition of just enough clothing on the young ladies to avoid another prosecution for obscenity. Today we release 19 of these distinctive books, all but one Alexander Moring publications. In Hank Janson’s world things are rarely what they seem, and in this case the final book was published by George Turton, but in the Alexander Moring style. Notable amongst these books are Sweet Fury (FN/VF), Avenging Nymph (VG/FN), Bring Me Sorrow (VG/FN), Cactus (VG), Devil’s Highway (FN), Don’t Cry Now (FN), Sinister Rapture (FN), Tension (FN) and Whiplash (FN).
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: It was just after 10.30 and the shopowner was still switching on lights as I bid Farewell, My Lovely to the dame who had driven me here. The shop front was blue, with a High Window. The white shops on either side made it look like a skink tongue sandwich. The Little Sister had told me that The 13th Spy with The Eyes Of The Tiger would be there to discuss the case of the Killer In The Rain. I went in – a bell chimed as the door opened………..
…… Nick Carter had used the time since arriving at the shop to reconnoitre: the layout map from the Brain Boys had been as exact as ever, but even they, he mused, hadn’t been able to solve the conundrum of the man he was due to meet. John Dalmas or Philip Marlowe? Which was the real man – or were the rumours of a third identity – Raymond Chandler- true?…….
…….Spotting the Killmaster I headed for the Book section at the back of the shop. He moved like The Golden Serpent and was dressed smartly, in the latest fashion – no wonder the doxies fell like ninepins for him. He was holding The Judas Spy – the right book. I picked up The Lady In The Lake and looked him in the eyes……..
……..Could this world-weary and jaded man be the legendary PI he was expecting? Would he be able to trade information important enough to defeat the Commie menace? Only one way to find out. Nick gave the code phrase, “Operation : Moon Rocket”, and was pleased to hear ” A Bullet For Fidel” in response. The man gave Nick a quizzical look, arched an eyebrow and said “Well, Trouble Is My Business”.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The Shadow knows, and now you can too, as we have ten novels based on the popular 1930’s pulp fiction character. The Shadow used a bewildering array of pseudonyms (Kent Allard, Lamont Cranston and Isaac Twambley among others), as did the authors of these books. The original writer was Walter Gibson, but most of these books are credited to Maxwell Grant, although in Grove Of Doom the author is confusingly given as Walter Gibson alias Maxwell Grant. (Maxwell Grant was in fact a house name, usually for Dennis Lynds). Titles include The Living Shadow, The Night Of The Shadow, The Shadow Strikes, The Shadow’s Revenge and Shadow Beware. Unusually we have ..Cry Shadow! in a Hungarian PB, printed for distribution in the US. Nearly all of the books are 1st US PB, grading GD or VG, with the majority published by Belmont.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Not content with directing some of the most effectively terrifying films, Alfred Hitchcock lent his name to compilations of tales of chilling death in several collections often revealing a penchant for appalling puns. We have a number of books from each of ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents..’ and ‘Alfred Hitchcock’s ..’ series of anthologies, as well as his ‘My Favourites In Suspense 1’. Featuring renowned authors such as Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, John Burke, Ruth Chatterton, Jonathan Craig, Roald Dahl, August Derleth, Hal Ellson, Brett Halliday, Edward D Hoch, James Holding, Damon Knight, Fritz Leiber and Arthur Porges and numerous others, you’re guaranteed a spine-tingling time reading these.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Often dubbed ‘the poor man Sherlock Holmes’, there’s still no doubting the popularity of Sexton Blake, who has probably had far more fiction written of him than the world’s greatest detective. Our range has now been enhanced by the addition of six novels and more than twenty digests from the famous Sexton Blake Library. These are picture library sized, but mainly text. The series ran from 1915 to 1968, and our new influx of stock dates from the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s, following the 1956 revamp by W Howard Baker when the covers took on a more gangster/sleazy mode and were drawn by notable artists such as Reginald Heade (as on The Wicked Three shown below). Written by a ‘harem’ of notable writers including Wilfred McNeilly, W Howard Baker, Michael Moorcock (moonlighting as Desmond Reid), Peter Saxon and Jack Trevor Story, the longevity of the series is testament to the quality of the plotting and writing. And a factoid: one of Sexton Blake’s arch-enemies, was Zenith the Albino – who is widely acknowledged to have inspired Moorcock’s morose hero Elric.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: No time for love in our Books department – no bodice-ripping Regency doorstops here, thank you – but for the author Madeleine Brent, we make an exception. Because ‘Madeleine Brent was a pseudonym for Peter O’Donnell, creator of Modesty Blaise, who used a variety of aliases in his long career as a jobbing author, and where the Madeleine Brent novels stand out is that their heroines are unusually skilled, preternaturally gifted, physically courageous, or all three. These tightly-plotted stories all have a strong adventurous/suspense component, and it’s easy to imagine – if you have the Phillip Jose Farmer mindset of wanting to connect all the fictional realms – that Madeleine Brent heroines are ancestresses of the mysterious Modesty! From the boomerang-throwing Mitjikwin of “Golden Urchin” to the heiress-turned-music hall performer Bridie Chance of “Capricorn Stone”, these ladies are independent, intelligent, and highly entertaining. We have five of the nine Brent novels available from a variety of publishers and in varying condition, so if we’ve managed to pique your curiosity, now’s a good time to try!
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The Baroness, written in the 1970’s with tongue firmly in cheek, features an aristocrat by marriage who takes multitasking to extremes: international playgirl, model, millionairess and superspy. In these books she takes on and defeats a dazzling array of foes including Dr Thing, sex-starved Otto Funke, neo-Nazis, savage Arab oil potentates, Russian viruses, and S.P.O.I.L.E.R.. We have all eight of the US editions, mainly in VG – FN grades.
*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: Two more crime fighters join the Crime bookshelves today. The first is Shell Scott, Richard S Prather’s detective, described on the books as ‘White-haired, broken-nosed, with a neat line in wisecracks and a liking for beautiful women. The toughest, most efficient detective you’ve ever met.’ We have four Shell Scott adventures available in 1950’s and 1960’s editions. The second is by Terry Harknett, writing as Thomas H Stone. Chester Fortune is described as ‘ a Man of Violence in a Violent World.’ We believe we have the whole set of five Fortune novels, all in First UK paperback editions and in grades ranging from VG to FN.