Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Woman Trouble: A Gaze at Da Blurbs, Hard-Boiled Edition

This week I plan to review a hard-boiled mystery bluntly titled Some Day I'll Kill You. The book was first published in 1939 and later by Popular Library in 1953.

The 1953 Popular Library edition included the following advertisement for other "Bestselling Popular Library Mysteries."

I think that the descriptions, short and direct, bring home the hard-boiled world:

Shakedown by Ben Kerr
Blackmail, a sizzling blonde--and murder. 
(more on "Ben Kerr" coming soon)

Don't Crowd Me by Evan Hunter

The story of a woman who tempted one man too many.

Don't Get Caught by M. E. Chaber
Some women have everything--but a conscience.

M. E. Chaber
was one of the many pseudonyms of
Kendall Foster Crossen (1910-1981),
creator of the pulp hero Green Lama
Naked and Alone by Michael Lawrence
She played with fire and got burned.

Double Cross by Mike Moran
Velma's goal was every man in town.

Blondes Die Young by Bill Peters
Dames, derelicts, dope--and death.

All the Way Down by M. E. Chaber
His mission was dangerous--hers was amorous.

Kiss Me Hard by Tom Brandt
He was on the run--she was on the make.

Booze, babes, cigs and couches--looks like they all get a lot of action! If anyone out there has read any of these books, I would love to hear about it.

And I know the stunning ladies on the covers naturally get most of the attention, but surely we would be remiss if we neglected to commend the gentlemen for color matching their blue ties and blue socks.  Dames notice these things.


  1. Curt, could you send me to my address of email, your electronic address? It isn't that you had before. My email to you are processed badly and they are remissed to me.

  2. I've never read any of these but they sure look appealing! I'll bet the Evan Hunter book has some fans.

  3. Never read any of these either but I love the covers. All that dime detective lurid artwork. I have a Pinterest board that features tons of dime detective covers by the best of the best artists working at the time. I get a kick out it. I also enjoy seeing the names of writers who were writing for the pulps at the time - some of them rather famous.

    P.S. Also loved the blurbs. SO fun.

    1. Just love these covers, Yvette! And those blurbs! I quickly detected a pattern, lol.

  4. Well, this is not the kind of book I'd expect to see written about here. I was into these kinds of books big time last year. William Ard (who wrote as "Ben Kerr" too), Aylwin Lee Martin, Richard Himmel, Wade Miller, Dana Chambers, etc. etc. Only recognize Chaber, Kerr and Hunter. The other guys are unknown to me. So many of these books tend to be similar in plot and tone that I didn't review many of them for my blog. Only occasionally do you find one that has something unusual -- like the one by Wade Miller that deals with Asian Americans. I think that one was FATAL STEP.

    1. John, Ard was not only Ben Kerr but Mike Moran, so he accounted for two people (at least, lol) on the list! I read your review of one Ard's books last night and thought it was hilarious. I know Francis Nevins is really high on him and has been behind some reprints so wanted him to be one of the hard-boiled boys I looked at.

    2. Well, that book *was* hilarious, albeit unintentionally. The more I think about it now the more I think LIKE ICE SHE WAS is also a ghosted book. It's so tawdry and cliche. I still have a couple of Ard's books left unread. They are all withTimothy Dane, his first private eye character. I ought to get to them sometime this year. I'll be doing a piece on Dana Chambers in May, too. He wrote some oddball books, too, loaded with unintentionally laughable writing and bizarre plots.

    3. John, I think Chambers is a lot of fun, as you will see in my latest post. He does like explosions!

      I definitely want to look at Ard.

  5. Brilliant post! I can see all of those being made into trashy films with a great trailer, preferably done by that guy whose no longer with us (in a world where law means nothing, one man stands for decency etc)- i can certainly imagine the trailer beginning 'he was on the run, she was on the make' .

    1. Hi Grim! What I really want to know is, did Velma ever make her goal?

  6. DON'T GET CAUGHT is probably better known as HANGMAN'S HARVEST (1952), in the Paperback Library Editions with cover art by Robert McGinnis. This was the earliest of the Milo March full-length books (there were a few stories also pub'd, and it's more pulpy in writing style than later novels in the series. The story is set in a fictional Hollywood-like Calif. town where vice runs amok. Milo is hire by a group of civic-minded citizens to find out who is providing protection to the brothel owners, bookies, etc. Though Milo is primarily an insurance detective (about a third of the books are spy novels when he gets recalled into active duty), oddly this first in the series has him on loan from the insurance company he works for; his rep is well known and his services were requested. There isn't really a passing tramp in this book. There's a naked call girl planted in Milo's hotel room to frame him. And (spoiler alert) there's a girl-next-door who Milo falls for but turns out to have "no conscience," in the words of the front cover copywriter. The book got some good reviews (“Sentence by sentence, this is a strongly readable book.” —New York Herald Tribune Book Review), but among the earlier books my favorites are No Grave for March, The Man Inside, and The Splintered Man.