Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vintage Espionage IV

Chaber, M. E. So Dead the Rose. Pseud. of Kendall Foster Crossen. N.Y. : Pocket, 1960. Number 1274. Front cover art : Jerry Allison. First printing. [Originally published in hardcover, New York, Rinehart, 1959]. “She was dangerous – but beautiful!” Vintage Cold War skullduggery in East Berlin & Moscow : insurance investigator (and former OSS & CIA agent) Milo March is recruited by the CIA to recover stolen government files. Jerry Allison’s front cover art for the Pocket reissue depicts the elegantly sinister Soviet femme fatale in most alluring, spider-woman fashion.

Hamilton, Donald. Death Of A Citizen. Greenwich, Conn. : Fawcett Gold Medal, 1960. Number 957. First printing, January 1960. Matt Helm, a former WWII OSS agent, revives his career as a professional government assassin. The first of the nearly 30 Helm novels. Cover art is in the Barye Phillips style, but no artist is credited.

Miller, Marion. I Was a Spy. Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill, 1960. This copy inscribed by the author : "To Thelma Spring, Nov. 15, 1961, God bless America! Cordially, Marion Miller." An irresistible slice of Cold War nostalgia, I Was a Spy is the true story of a Los Angeles housewife who was recruited as an undercover agent by the FBI in the 1950s to spy on the Los Angeles Committee for Protection of the Foreign-Born (LACPFB), a purported communist front organization. Miller’s story was later adapted for television by General Electric Theater, starring Jeanne Crain as Marion Miller and Ronald Reagan as the author’s husband Paul Miller. [the GE adaption is recalled by Reagan in : Reagan : A Life in Letters, edited by Kiron K. Skinner et al., N. Y., Free Press, p. 145]. See also : Michelle Nickerson, “Politically Desperate Housewives: Women and Conservatism in Postwar Los Angeles,” California History, Summer 2009, pp. 11-13.

Caillou, Alan. Marseilles. (Pseud. Alan-Lyle Smythe). N. Y. : Pocket Books, 1964. Pocket Cardinal 35006. Paperback original. Nefarious goings on in the ever-wicked city of Marseilles : former OSS agent Mike Benasque, now an out-of-work journalist, is hired to pentetrate a French terrorist organization. The second novel in Caillou's Benasque series. "His job was to expose a terrorist organization-which had already marked him for death." Cover art by Harry Bennett in high intensity, expressionist style.

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