“A cold corpse becomes a hot assignment to curvy blonde, Mavis Seidlitz.”
Today’s Pulp Friday is a triple shot of covers from one of my late father’s favourite pulp authors, Carter Brown.
Carter Brown AKA Alan Geoffrey Yates was a Australian-British author who wrote a massive 317 novels in a career that spanned from 1958-1985. Tens of millions of these were sold all over the anglo world.
Most of his stories were crime, although at the beginning of his career he also wrote horror and Westerns under the alias Tex Conrad. His books were published in Australia by Horwitz and in the US by Signet.
Cops and private investigators were his staple characters, the stories a mixture of sex and action, leavened with a bit of tough guy humour. The writing’s not brilliant, but, hey, that’s no surprise given how fast he churned books out.
His first Horwitz contract stipulated two novellas and one full length novel a month. He could write as much as 40,000 words overnight, reputedly with the assistance of Dexedrine which he used to stay awake for periods of up to 48 hours.
As was common practice on the part of Australian pulp writers in the fifties and sixties, all of his books were set in the United States.
The three covers reproduced here represent a good cross section of the main pulp paperback cover styles.
The Fabulous (Horwitz, second edition, 1961) has a wonderful men’s magazine feel, with a black and white photo of what the publisher presumably hoped readers would associate with the key character, “curvy, crazy blonde investigator” Mavis Seidiltz.
The cover art for The Lady is Transparent (Horwitz, first edition, 1962) is classic pulp. The story features Brown’s best known character, Al Wheeler.
As local pulp publishers moved into the late sixties, they often reverted back to photographic covers. The Deep Green Gold (Horwitz, 1968), another Wheeler story, is a typical example. The back cover blurb is great.
“She kicked off her sandals, threw off her halter, and unzipped her hipsters….
She gave me a slow, sensual smile,
‘All I ask, Al,” she murmured, “is a little protection in return.’
She fell into his arms at the motel. Called herself Tracy Tension. said her husband was a double dealing gambler in Vegas, and she was on the run. Wheeler had never seen her before. But he was ready to play her game – even though a killer held the cards. Sometimes Lt Wheeler is just too red-blooded for his own good.”