Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vintage Espionage V

Pendower, Jacques [pseudo. T. C. H. (Thomas Curtis Hicks) Jacobs]. Betrayed. N.Y.: Paperback Library, 1967. #53-481. First printing. Cover art : uncredited. First published in hardover as The Widow from Spain, London, Robert Hale, 1961. The prolific British author T. C. H. Jacobs wrote under numerous pseudonyms, including Jacques Pendower, T.C.H. Pendower, Penn Dower, Tom Curtis, Marilyn Pender, Helen Howard, and Anne Penn. Betrayed is yet another Cold War story of an amateur spy recruited to do work, this time serving as a courier for documents wanted by both sides.

Atlee, [James] Philip*. [Pseud. James Atlee Phillips]. The Black Venus Contract. Greenwich, CN: Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1975. Gold Medal M3187. “A Joe Gall novel.” Cover art depicting title character and Brazilian girlfriend is done in the Robert McGinnis style, but no cover artist is credited.
   Special agent Joe Gall is a U.S. counterintelligence operative who works for a mysterious government agency. His job title is The Nullifier and his job is to ‘eradicate the situation.’ The 20th book in the ‘Contract’ series finds him in Brazil hunting a South American terrorist organization.
   It was always my impression that the Joe Gall novels arrived a little late to the vintage espionage party, even though the first Gall [non-espionage] novel, Pagoda, was actually published in 1951. In any case, there were 22 books in total in the Gall series, which ran through the mid-1970s. The ‘Contract’ novels are held in moderately high regard today -- one of Atlee’s more unlikely admirers was Raymond Chandler. [*Author ‘Philip Atlee’ was the older brother of CIA agent David Atlee Phillips of Bay of Pigs and JFK assassination notoriety]. 

   “Good stuff, if you can stand another spy with a cruelly handsome face, who drinks with distinction, and who is an inveterate womanizer.” – review of Atlee’s The Paper Pistol Contract and The Death Bird Contract [Chicago Tribune, Feb 27, 1966, p. N-13].

Hershatter, Richard. The Spy Who Hated Fudge. N. Y. : Ace, 1970. No. 77855. Another example of the seemingly endless supply of spy spoofs popular in 1960s and 1970s : the DIA’s reluctant spy, Special Agent 6-X, is dispatched to Paris to retrieve the Statue of Liberty, which seems to have been stolen. Because of its very late appearance, this one barely rates the vintage pb moniker, but it manages to just squeak by with its sensationalist – if goofy – subject matter and the vintage style cover art.

Allbeury, Ted. Omega Minus. N. Y. : Ballantine Books, 1976. “Ballantine suspense.” [Published in England under the title Palomino Blonde]. The second book in the Tad Anders series. First Ballantine Books edition, July 1976. Gaudy 1970s style front cover art. Cover artist uncredited.

Fleming, Ian. Casino Royale. N. Y., London : Penguin Books, 2002. [Seventh printing]. Cover design : Roseanne Serra. Cover photo/illustration : Richie Fahey. Features eye-catching retro-vintage front cover art dominated by curvaceous brunette in tight fitting black evening dress. Another stunning Fahey/Serra design for the Penguin Bond reprints.

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