Neglected book mentioned in Mental Floss magazine

In his article, “Judging a Book By Its Cover: 12 Book Designers Who Changed the Publishing Industry Forever,” in the May/June 2006 issue of Mental Floss magazine, Jason Tselentis recognizes a neglected book by Zelda Popkin, whose Time Off for Murder was recommended by Fay Blake in Writer’s Choice.

Tselentis singles out Popkin’s No Crime for a Lady not for its content but for its cover by designer Gerald Gregg. Of Gregg’s work, Tselentis writes,

When designer Chip Kidd cited many 1940s and 1950s paperbacks as influences to his work, he was no doubt referring to those of Dell Publishing. Founded in 1921 by a 27-year-old named George Delacourte, Dell gained success thanks to its racy and alluring paperback covers…. Having airbrushed hundreds of these using secretaries and cartographers as models, Gregg called his style, “a cominbation of graphic design and stylized realism.”

…. Usually scandalous, his covers resembled the film noir of that time period. Popkin’s mystery stories starred Mary Carner, one of the first female private eyes in detective novels; her character is rumored to have been the inspiration for Angela Lansbury’s character Jessica Fletcher on “Murder, She Wrote.”

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