*Crime, Spies & Sleaze: The emphasis is firmly on the latter here, with a set of six Midwood books from the 1960s. Midwood were notorious as publishers of ‘tasteful’ sub-erotica, employing some of the most accomplished cover artists of the time, such as Paul Rader, who created the art on all but one of the novels in this update. Hailing from a time when LBGTQQIAAP just meant that a monkey had got to your typewriter, all six of these books are in the sub-genre dealing with the euphemistically described ‘forbidden love that dare not tell its name’. The five with Rader covers are A Twilight Affair (James Harvey), When Lights Are Low (Dallas Mayo), The Beauty Game (Emory Paine), The Blonde (Peggy Swenson) and The Unfortunate Flesh (Randy Salem). The final book is Private Party, written by Kimberly Kemp (who also features in the Midwood Double Pampered/Perfumed, already in stock). All six books are highly collectable 1st US PB, in grades ranging from GD to VG/FN.
*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: 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: 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: 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).