Tag Archives: ed lacy

PULP Paperbacks: “Visa To Death”

29 Oct

A typically dangerous trip to the Brattle Book Shop earlier this summer ended with a slew of original pulp paperbacks gracing our bookshelves, many of which are now part of PULPable‘s primary-colour header (just look up).

In a new series of posts, and in honour of my upcoming, though final, Green Card paperwork, today we celebrate Visa to Death.


A bargain at twenty-five cents, any pulp cover needed to stand out from the crowd, and Robert Maguire’s cover art certainly helps. A mysterious figure bearing an uncanny resemblance to Cary Grant merges into the titular visa, while a somewhat befuddled-looking version of Brando hovers just over the author’s name, as though he would rather be associated with Marlon than Cary (clearly the wrong choice). Throw in some femmes fatales and a common or garden detective, and you’ve got yourself a pulp masterpiece.

Over the years, if you care to click here, it seems that Perma Books cornered the market on schlock cover art. But as important as the illustration is the jacket copy. “The juiciest racket in town needed too many MURDERS!” screams the front cover, as though including both “death” and “murder” at the top of the cover converted always into better sales.

But the back cover, as with most pulps, delivers the goods.

Cary Grant’s double appears again, mirroring his position on the front cover, and introducing a series of non-sequiturs that would be too cliche-ridden even for a Muppets film noir parody. Perhaps it was written by “a real nothing guy who just won a thousand bucks in a slogan contest.” In any case, our colour scheme reverts to a deliciously pulpy yellow, red, and black and white.

Stay tuned for more pulp paperback covers coming soon.

DLR

Advertisements