Stylish and disturbing. Red dress, green chaise, lavender hair, death pallor.
These Dell mysteries created a whole world for the reader. Trouble visualizing the scene of the crime? No matter, just flip the book over! Trouble comprehending what this mystery is about? Dell is on that too.
And in case you couldn't remember from page to page who was who....
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Dr. Grecian Formula offers our heroine a nutritious vodka screwdriver upon bringing her out of a century's worth of suspended animation, with the hope that he can convince her she really doesn't need that thin red coverlet, now that it's 2054 and buxom redheads are no longer required to put up with annoying clothes.
From a more interesting time when frisky ingenues cavorting in states of undress was not seen as an affront to the sensibilities of most Americans, except for some Methodists in the South who were just plain horrified, though not before devouring every word.
Note the metamorphosis of Thorne Smith, best known for Topper, into Norman Matson. Smith died of a heart attack in 1934 at the age of 42, but the franchise was too lucrative to let it drop, and after Matson completed the fragments of The Passionate Witch, he continued with its sequel, Bats in the Belfry.
The Passionate Witch was movie-fied into I Married a Witch, with Fredric March and Veronica Lake. Twenty years later, the theme was exhumed for Bewitched. Always something to learn from racy paperbacks with nudie cuties on the cover.