Detective Tales cover. So I decided to do it now, so as to keep this blog's tradition alive. And also because it is always fun to comment on it. This one is from February 1937. It is a dramatic and suspenseful cover, but more sober than the over the top cover I uploaded last month, more sober in fact than many of them. It is also a more generic one: the image could belong to many hardboiled stories. You have the squared-jaw hero, maybe a private eye, maybe not. He does look a bit elegant for a private eye, but maybe he went to a soirée (held by an overly elegant villain?). Like on the cover uploaded in November 2011, he is poiting his gun at an unknown adversary. Next to him, there is a redhead/brunette damsel in distress, handcuffed on a chair, gagged, very aware of the shadowy figure in the window behind the hero, holding a gun and about to shoot. Other nice little touches: the telephone the hero is about to grab, to call for help (police?), which will be useless if he gets shot from behind, the red dress of the damsel in distress, the mix of light and shadow... The sobriety of its setting enhances the drama.
One cannot help but imagine a story around this cliffhanger. I think the woman is being held prisoner in the office of the villain's residence, a remote luxury mansion on the American countryside. She found something she shouldn't (stolen jewelry, opium, maybe some compromising papers) and was made prisoner to be executed later (why later? If he was giving a reception maybe he was waiting for the guests to be gone). I don't think the hero will be shot dead, although the blood would look great on his white shirt. But I think he will feel the man behind him and move away in the nick of time, so the shadowy figure, who is most likely a goon, will shoot his own boss, which would be a nice bit of dramatic irony. Anyway, that is the kind of story I would love to read, after watching this cover.
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