Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Girl in Every Port by William McClellan
A Girl in Every Port 
by William McClellan
New York’s Phoenix Press was a publisher of mysteries, westerns, and other light fiction in the 1930s and 1940s.  We were alerted to this company’s literary history by a loyal AbeBooks customer called Paul Rollinson, who encouraged us to feature Phoenix’s fantastic Depression-era pulp, if only for the amazing dust jackets. Phoenix was one of many lending-library publishers of the era, and fought to rise above the others of its ilk to make a name for itself in the tough economic climate.

Phoenix churned out hundreds of titles and developed a reputation for paying less than generous royalties to its authors, and that meant it produced some rather suspect literature over the years. However, there were some real gems published by Phoenix, including a large number of debut novels by up-and-coming authors, books from talented writers cut loose by larger publishers, and even a number of established writers who were down on their luck and needed a pay cheque.
Despite (or perhaps because of) the kitschy nature of some titles, collectors of pulp art and design have embraced Phoenix Press for decades. Beyond the content of the books, they are inarguably a treat to look at because of their stylised spectres, cartoon cowboys and designer damsels in distress all bursting off the dust jackets in vibrant colours. 

Vintage Pulp from Phoenix Press

Dr. Cyclops by Will Garth
Dr. Cyclops 
by Will Garth
Formula for Murder by Adrian Reynolds
Formula for Murder
by Adrian Reynolds
Murder in the Stratosphere by Gilbert Eldredge
Murder in the Stratosphere 
by Gilbert Eldredge
The Case of the Mysterious Moll by Harry Stephen Keeler
The Case of the Mysterious Moll 
by Harry Stephen Keeler
The Wolf Howls “Murder” by Manning Lee Stokes
The Wolf Howls "Murder" 
by Manning Lee Stokes
Cole of the Broken Spur by Lewis C. Merrill
Cole of the Broken Spur 
by Lewis C. Merrill
Border Bonanza by Walter Thompkins
Border Bonanza 
by Walter Thompkins
Deep as a Grave by Oliver Keystone
Deep as a Grave 
by Oliver Keystone
The Leprechaun Murders by Adrian Reynolds
The Leprechaun Murders 
by Adrian Reynolds
Murder over Broadway by Fred Malina
Murder over Broadway 
by Fred Malina
Murder with Long Hair by Donald Spatz
Murder with Long Hair
by Donald Spatz
Hour of Death by L. Morningstar
Hour of Death 
by L. Morningstar
Fatal Finale by Paul H. Dobbins
Fatal Finale 
by Paul H. Dobbins
Test Doctor by Carl Sturdy
Test Doctor 
by Carl Sturdy
He Died Laughing by Lawrence Lariar
He Died Laughing 
by Lawrence Lariar
Kincaid of Red Butte by Leslie Ernenwein
Kincaid of Red Butte
by Leslie Ernenwein
Death in the Dunes by Paul Dobbins
Death in the Dunes 
by Paul Dobbins
Man-Handled by Hall Bennett
by Hall Bennett
Pass Key to Murder by Blair Reed
Pass Key to Murder 
by Blair Reed
The Railroad Murder Case by R.M. Laurenson
The Railroad Murder Case 
by R.M. Laurenson
Passion’s Highway by Gordon Semple
Passion’s Highway 
by Gordon Semple
Suburban Doctor by Carl Sturdy
Suburban Doctor 
by Carl Sturdy

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