Cover Gallery: 1940's Paperback Mysteries
The Dell Mysteries had the juicy cover art and a 'crime map' on the back cover to aid the reader in tracking clues and postulating their 'whodunnit' theories. I love the little 'eye in the keyhole' logo, too.

Most of the Dells in this set are from the first half of the '40's. Towards the end there's also a few Popular Library covers from the same period, with cover art in a very similar style.

By the late, post-war 1940's you can get an idea of how the style had changed a bit, as evidenced by the final two items; a Pocket Book mystery and a later Dell.

Most notably, the cover art depictions are more sensationalistic: A bit of skin, a bit of gore - - preparation for the '50's, I suppose.

I found almost all of these books in one outing just a few years ago. I took a drive to a sleepy little fundraiser booksale in Stinson Beach, CA. My expectations were low, but it was a good excuse for an early Sunday morning scenic outing.

It turned out to be a collector's dream, as I madly began loading up a cardboard box with vintage paperbacks at fifty cents apiece. It was one of those moments when I was certain someone would come in and say there'd been a mistake; these aren't for sale, put them back, how dare you...

(addendum, 2/6/08: Added 5 images to set for books 'The Dark Device' and 'What A Body")
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