Monday, September 5, 2011

Collección Crimen No. 40 (1959?)

Title : Exiliado Político
Author : K. T. McCall
Cover art : uncredited

Mexico City : Editora Latino Americana, S. A., [1959?]. Texto completo. Titulo del original en inglés : M-MM-Minx. Versión el español de : José Villalba Pinyana. Collección Crimen No. 40. [Pseud. Audrey Armitage and Muriel Watkins. A Johnny Buchanan mystery.]

style **
substance **
collectibility ***

   “When you buy a book in one of the Donceles bookstores, no matter how much you pay for it, no matter what language the book is in or where it was printed, you feel good about taking with you a little piece of Mexico City history.” Kurt Hollander, “Mexico City's Literary Circle,” L. A. Times, 8 Nov 2009

   A recent visit to Mexico City resulted in a mini-haul of Mexican vintage pbs, thus the next few postings will have a Latino flavor. K. T.  McCall’s Exiliado Político is the first entry and gives us a good idea of the slightly different Mexican take on the tough style : a pistol-brandishing femme fatale dominates the lively cover, which is also noteworthy for its phantasmagoric combination of gaudy, slightly kitschy colors. The woman and the other characters - two tough guys scuffling - are rendered in a wooden, cartoonish style. Moreover, there’s a quasi-surrealistic collage effect as the giant woman’s body morphs into the two men and what appears to be a waterfront or boat setting. I’m not sure about the off-white blob beneath her hand -- rolodex? rumpled newspaper?

  My impression of this cover is that it’s an earnest, well intended attempt to imitate the 1950s hardboiled style. However, it falls a little short due to its clumsiness and overall lack of polish. One can’t argue about those colors making an impression, though.

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