Vintage Pulp Oct 10 2019
MONSIEUR BLAMESHIFTER
Erm... before you shoot... I just want you to know it was all her fault.


Crime en deux temps, or “crime in two stages,” was originally released in 1939 as The Case of the Rolling Bones. For some reason the French publishers of this book, Presses de la Cité, call legendary mystery author Erle Stanley Gardner just Stanley Gardner, which sounds, well, non-legendary. Stanley Gardner is a guy at the office you don't talk to because he's a skin picker. Erle Stanley Gardner is a guy who, if he likes you, can get you into Nobu. So, the Erle is needed.

Plotwise, this revolves around greed, gold, and a group of people who want to prevent their relative from losing his fortune to his prospective wife. In order to stop this imagined horror, they commit the relative to a nuthouse before he can get married. Which backfires when he escapes. As always with Gardner there's a murder, which brings Perry Mason onto the scene to sort everything out.

As you might guess, because Gardner was (and is) an immensely popular author there are several English language paperback covers for this, and they all feature dice in some form. Which makes sense, because the original title came about because there's an actual die maker in the book. He makes crooked dice, and he gets murdered. This uncredited French cover from 1950 caught our eye because of its non-literal approach. No dice, but it's a winner.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 21 2019
TAURINS ASCENDANT
Get out of my astrological house or I'll blow your brains out.


This photo shows Latvian actress Ilse Taurins rocking what looks like a Russian ushanka hat, accessorized with a pistol. She's actually a Virgo, not a Taurus. Apart from a single motion picture, she acted exclusively on television, appearing on shows like Wild Wild West, Perry Mason, and Bonanza, between 1963 and 1972. This shot was made as a promo for The John Forsythe Show in 1965.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 10 2017
SHE'S GOT HIS BACK
Fine. Explain. But don't turn around. I hate your face so much right now I might shoot it on general principle.


Above, a cover for Erle Stanley Gardner's The Case of the Haunted Husband, eighteenth in the acclaimed Perry Mason series, from Pocket Books. Generally considered one of the best Mason mysteries, this one tells the story of a female hitchhiker who accepts a ride from a guy who gets a little too handsy, leading to a multi-car crack-up. The woman awakens behind the wheel, with the driver nowhere to be seen, and a fatality in one of the other cars. The cops don't believe she wasn't the driver, so they arrest her and charge her with negligent homicide. Things get worse when the car turns out to be stolen, and suddenly she's on the hook for that too. Enter Perry Mason. Nothing is haunted in this book, but the mystery is a winner. We also were reminded how effective short chapters can be in drawing a reader into a story. The hardback of The Case of the Haunted Husband appeared in 1941, and the above paperback with Bernard Safran art followed in 1949.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 21 2016
HOME ALONE
In the end I have to admit this minimalist look is kind of depressing. Maybe I should buy an ottoman.

Robert McGinnis does his usual flawless work on this cover for Erle Stanley Gardner's The Case of the Bigamous Spouse. Many summaries of this online, but briefly, it's about a door-to-door saleswoman who is implicated in the murder of her best friend's new husband, who was married to two women. Rest assured, Perry Mason sorts it all out as perfectly as McGinnis sorted out this cover.  

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Femmes Fatales Jun 25 2013
RECREATIONAL HUGHES
This must be her way of asking for a foot massage.

Above, a Universal International Pictures promo shot of American actress Kathleen Hughes, who starred one of our favorite hilariously awful films, It Came from Outer Space, and another movie that sounds terrible but which we haven't seen yet, Cult of the Cobra. She also acted in television extensively and appeared on Perry Mason, Gomer Pyle, I Dream of Jeannie and Mission: Impossible. This image dates from 1953.  

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Vintage Pulp Oct 23 2012
THINK PINK
Do you find these covers irresistible? There’s a reason.


In color therapy pink symbolizes unconditional love, and you wear it when you want someone to be instantly drawn to you. Well, that stuff must work, because we're instantly drawn to these covers by Robert McGinnis for Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason series, circa early 1960s. We were thinking about changing our website a bit, but now that we know this about the color pink, forget it. Our traffic might drop to nothing.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 9 2012
SINGING LIKE A BIRD
Squawk! Polly wanna cracker plus prosecutorial immunity or Polly don’t say another frickin’ word.

You may be asking yourself whether this book is really about what the cover seems to imply. Yes, Erle Stanley Gardner’s fictional attorney Perry Mason does indeed encounter a talking parrot that saw a murder. The Case of the Perjured Parrot was published in 1939, so we’re pretty sure Gardner was the first writer to conceive of such an outrageous plot device. He has plenty of fun with the idea, and his bird is full of surprises. Or birds, we should say, since there turns out to be more than one. In the end, Perry Mason learns that a parrot can be as difficult a witness as a human. Excellent cover art is by unknown.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 18 2011
POSITIVE CHANGE
Erle Stanley Gardner classic gets respectful treatment every time out.


Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of The Sulky Girl is one of those books that was reissued many times through the years with different covers, all quite nice. This isn’t an exceedingly rare occurrence, but the quality of the art in this case is notable. Below, we have seven examples starting with the original paperback cover from 1933, followed by excellent efforts from 
Muni (panel three), Dawson (panel four), Peffer (panel five), McGinnis (panel seven) and unknowns. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 8 2010
THE CONSTANT GARDNER

Above, a rare hardback dust jacket for Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of the Substitute Face, starring his fictional defense attorney Perry Mason, published in 1938. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 09
1945—Nagasaki Destroyed
The United States detonates a nuclear bomb codenamed Fat Man over the city of Nagasaki. It is the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan. 40,000 to 75,000 people are killed immediately, with tens of thousands more sickening and dying later due to radiation poisoning. The U.S. had plans to drop as many as seven more bombs on Japan, but the nation surrendered days later.
1969—Manson Followers Murder Five
Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate and coffee heiress Abigail Folger, along with Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent. The crimes terrify the Los Angeles celebrity community, and even today continue to fascinate the worldwide public.
August 08
1963—Gang Pulls Off Great Train Robbery
A fifteen member gang robs a train of £2.6 million at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England. Thirteen of the fifteen are later caught, but some subsequently escape from prison, and one, Ronnie Biggs, is only recaptured in 2001 after voluntarily returning to England.
1974—Nixon Resigns
After two years of public outcry over the Watergate scandal, U.S. president Richard M. Nixon announces to a national television audience that he will resign, effective the next day. Vice President Gerald R. Ford completes the remainder of Nixon's term.
August 07
1947—Journey of the Kon-Tiki Ends
Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashes into a reef in the Tuamotu Islands after a 4300 mile (7000 kilomteter) journey from South America. Heyerdahl was attempting to prove—in rather circuitous fashion—that South American natives were descended from Pacific Islanders.
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