Vintage Pulp Apr 28 2023
I don't go home with strangers, mister. So let's take a few minutes and get to know each other.

Our copy of Albert Quandt's Passion C.O.D. holds together only thanks to the miracle of scotch tape, yet the great George Gross cover still shines through. It's another masterpiece from him—and another nice addition to our collection. The “c.o.d.” in the title doesn't relate to Quandt's story in any discernible way, unless we start speculating that the “c” stands for something other than “cash.” That's right—we just went there, because this is an unusually lusty novel, considering its 1951 copyright. The main character, the beautiful Sheila Salem, defying norms for literature of the period, gets with multiple men and arrives in the tale with a history of having done so for years. That's fine—we love lusty women. She also habitually ruins men. Is absolutely driven to do it. Again, fine. Hell, those two elements are vintage crime literature in a nutshell—lusty women; dudes ruined. Huzzah.

But on the down side for modern readers, Sheila believes forceful, even violent men, are “real men.” If any of you are seeking Exhibit A for a seminar on male authors writing female characters as embodiments of sexist mid-century attitudes, this is your baby right here. But we can't say Quandt is unable to write. For this genre, he's a better author than most. His story sustains interest. As Sheila discards empty husks of men behind her, gets one guy sent to prison, shoots another, and is soon consorting with criminal types, the only question becomes whether her behavior with these dupes will cost her. In pulp, dupes are expendable, so we were rooting for Sheila all the way. But to find out what actually happens you'll have to lay out cash for the book yourself.

History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 12
1971—Corona Sent to Prison
Mexican-born serial killer Juan Vallejo Corona is convicted of the murders of 25 itinerant laborers. He had stabbed each of them, chopped a cross in the backs of their heads with a machete, and buried them in shallow graves in fruit orchards in Sutter County, California. At the time the crimes were the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
July 11
1960—To Kill a Mockingbird Appears
Harper Lee's racially charged novel To Kill a Mockingbird is published by J.B. Lippincott & Co. The book is hailed as a classic, becomes an international bestseller, and spawns a movie starring Gregory Peck, but is the only novel Lee would ever publish.
1962—Nuke Test on Xmas Island
As part of the nuclear tests codenamed Operation Dominic, the United States detonates a one megaton bomb on Australian controlled Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. The island was a location for a series of American and British nuclear tests, and years later lawsuits claiming radiation damage to military personnel were filed, but none were settled in favor in the soldiers.
July 10
1940—The Battle of Britain Begins
The German Air Force, aka the Luftwaffe, attacks shipping convoys off the coast of England, touching off what Prime Minister Winston Churchill describes as The Battle of Britain.
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