Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spike Morelli, the mystery deepens, plus more book cover porn

I found the entry below on this page, which appears to be about British postwar paperbacks:

Spike Morelli (Stephen Frances), Coffin for a Cutie (1950).

A live one. A first-person “Southern” novel, with young white-trash guy fleeing the swamps with a black friend (who’s subsequently murdered) and taking up small-time crookery as photo-blackmailer. Several women are involved along the way, not to their benefit. There’s a sexy nightclub show, and a nude with a mutilated face swimming at night.The narrator has no problem with hitting, beating up, sleeping with, or in one instance shooting women. The style reminds me a little of Boris Vian’s I’ll Spit on Your Graves. The atmosphere is mostly unquiet, the course of events unpredictable. The book feels as though the author had been in the States . Six other titles are listed in BLIC, This Way for Hell isn’t among them.

I wrote the foregoing without knowing that Morelli was Frances.

As you can see the author claims that Morelli was one Stephen Francis. Unfortunately, the page's author does not say how he came to that conclusion, although he does mention this book.
Did I speak to soon in this post, when I said Morelli was William Newton? Or is the page excerpted above wrong? More research is required.

Here's the book porn I promised.

1 comment:

Juri said...

Steve Holland's biography of Stephen Frances, THE TRIALS OF HANK JANSON, doesn't back up the theory that Frances wrote COFFIN FOR A CUTIE. In fact, according to Holland, Frances never wrote as Spike Morelli.

The Steve Markham novel, by the way, that John Kelly trashes at his site isn't one of Frances's Markhams.