• Rocket to the Morgue

    Rocket to the Morgue

    Rocket to the Morgue by H. H. Holmes (William Anthony Parker White, aka Anthony Boucher) was the first and only title published in 1942 under the imprint A Phantom Mystery. This elusive mystery novel features several of Boucher’s mystery-writer colleagues under pseudonyms, and is a PBO (paperback original) first edition.

    As an experiment in 1950, Gold Medal books published Mansion of Evil by Joseph Millard,–their only title that was printed in color comic-book form instead of text. The format was not repeated, and this paperback, #129, is among the most difficult to find.

    Mansion of Evil

    Mansion of Evil

     

    Leslie Charteris, creator of The Saint, also wrote screenplays. He wrote Bonded Mystery #1, Lady on a Train, based on his own scenario (which starred Deanna Durbin, Dan Duryea and Ralph Bellamy and was filmed in 1945). Interestingly, Charteris changed,–and improved,–the movie’s ending in this book.

    Lady on a Train

    Lady on a Train

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Window with the Sleeping Nude

    The Window with the Sleeping Nude

    Robert Leslie Bellem wrote some of the funniest hardboiled mystery stories for the pulps during the 1930s-’40s; his unique and whacky slang has never been successfully imitated.  He contributed to several of the Spicy magazines and his popular character Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective even had a magazine of his own under that title.  Bellem wrote only two books under his own name, Blue Murder and The Window with the Sleeping Nude (a paperback original, PBO:  Handi-Book Mystery #118, 1950).

    Another unusual and very scarce one-off is the first and only title published by Omnibus Mystery in 1944:  Night of Crime by Armstrong Livingston.  Its bizarre cover depicting a reclining blonde, a man in a devil costume and a beautiful witch astride an airborne sword with a jeweled hilt, is credited to Crayath.
    Night of Crime

    Night of Crime

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