Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pocket 896 (1952)

Title : Miami Murder Go-Round
Author :
Marston La France
Cover art: Morgan Kane  

style ***
substance **
collectibility **

"The complete book; not a word missing."

 In this 1952 reprint, Miami Murder Go-Round gets the full pulp treatment by the usually conservative Pocket Books. Murder Go-Round benefits in particular from the high intensity front cover art by Morgan Kane -- bright red colors frame a view from the top of a 3-D stairs, with bad guy at bottom, knife in hand. The Spillane-esque fun continues on the back cover with the blurb:

  “This private eye, Rick Larkan, is really tough and needs to be. He’s got a blonde in his apartment, a blonde with half a million bucks in cold cash belonging to someone else. The blonde’s girl friend has been tortured and murdered. His own buddy has been killed. His clients want him to turn up another murderer, and the police want his help in cracking a gang of smugglers. And all this in America’s most lush playground, Miami … a town where vicious people often play too rough at vice and smuggling, and swollen citizens come floating in from Biscayne Bay … dead and stinking.”

This is the only novel by the rather obscure author Marston La France (1927-1975). His mystery writer credentials are on the curious side: one source lists him as a farmer in New York in the 1950s, another says he wrote Miami Murder Go-Round to finance his college expenses. Fun to compare the cov
er art for the Pocket version with the original 1951 hardback printing by World. Both are strong covers but for me the Pocket's in-your-face immediacy carries the day. 

Apparently there was an Italian translation [Girandola a Miami, Verona: Editore Luciana Agnoli, 1954; tr. Luciana Agnoli Zucchini]. Would love to get hold of this one; love that title!

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