The Camera Clue, by George Harmon Coxe, Dell paperback 27, 1943.
This cover illustration features a man apparently drowned in a developing tray – surely a first in crime fiction.
It’s a 1943 Dell paperback from the US, an imprint that featured some of the best covers of the era. This one is by Gerald Gregg, an expert in their small format poster-style covers. Bernie Salbreiter did the lettering. The 1940s and 50s was a golden age for paperback cover design.
The book’s author George Harmon Coxe was a successful pulp and popular fiction writer who specialised in crime novels. The hero of some of his novels was “Flashgun” Casey, a crime photographer for a morning newspaper. ‘With the help of reporter Ann Williams, he solved crimes and recounted his stories to friends at The Blue Note, their favourite tavern.’ Flashgun was apparently a more hip version of the more famous crime photographer Weegee.
Feast your eyes on these gorgeous photography-themed covers from 70 years age.
Murder With Pictures, by George Harmon Coxe, Dell paperback 1946
Silent are the Dead by George Harmon Coxe, Dell paperback 1948