At first glance, J.N. Darby’s digest-sized Murder in the House with the Blue Eyes may appear as a singleton. But the lower right corner of its cover reveals it’s “A Thrilling Mystery Novel,” from Atlas Books, produced under their Margood Publishing Company imprint in 1944, and therefore not an elusive One-and-Done.
Paperback Prices by Graham Holroyd lists two books, D as in Dead, by mystery great Lawrence Treat, and The Lisping Man, by Frank Rawlings, as Atlas Books from the Hercules Publishing Corp. Kenneth R. Johnson’s “The Digest Index” and Hancer’s Price Guide to Paperback Books remove D as in Dead to a separate line of Martin Goodman books, also using the Hercules imprint. Why not put them together? Because D as in Dead is in fact separate. It does not blare “An Atlas Mystery” on the back cover. It is the largest of the three sizes that Atlas used.
Guinn Company Muriel Stafford had a syndicated newspaper column that did handwriting analysis of the stars, and not surprisingly X Marks the Dot stars a newspaper columnist solving a murder using handwriting analysis. Not only was Stafford enough of a name for her picture to fill the back cover, but as the ultimate gimmick, each of the suspects’ handwriting was reproduced inside the book so the reader could play along.
Galaxy Novels; The Barmaray Company 25 Short Short Stories from Colliers, Collier’s being a mainstream magazine rival to the Saturday Evening Post, is not a title anyone would normally associate with either Galaxy or novels, but connections do exist. The inside back cover has an ad for Galaxy, and the inside front cover offers a charter subscription for Galaxy’s sister magazine, Beyond Fantasy Fiction. Both magazines had just been purchased by Robert Guinn, a fixture in the New York publishing scene as a printer with access to paper, vital in 1953 when the Korean War dried up paper supplies. Despite the clear Galaxy lineage, Galaxy Novels is simply a misnomer for this title. The true publisher is The Barmaray Company, Inc.
The Jackie Robinson Story was a hit movie starring Jackie Robinson in 1950. It was co-written by Arthur Mann. And so we come across the movie tie-in digest, which was also titled The Jackie Robinson Story and published by F.J. Low.
An ad for The Vice-Czar Murders by Franklin Charles is on the inside back cover of The Case of the Deadly Drops. No publisher is mentioned, but we know that an R. W. Company went one-and-done with a book of that title. And that’s all we know. The R. W. Company is as evanescent as the Edell Company. The address given is 11 East 44th Street, in midtown Manhattan, far removed from the then-backwoods of Brooklyn. Nor was The Vice Czar Murders published by Phoenix, nixing that connection. Yet, guess what? Its inside back cover is an ad for The Case of the Deadly Drops. Additionally, the covers of the two books are suspiciously similar in style and coloring, the back covers are identical yellow squares with white borders, and both were distributed by IND, the Independent News Company. It’s all but certain that the two companies are connected in some way.
“The Edell Company is a total mystery. Nothing online can be found about it; no reference books provide information. The one book Edell released, The Case of the Deadly Drops by Gerald Benedict, is published ‘by arrangement with Phoenix Press.’”
Published in 1945 by J.P. Feiner, The Greatest Adventure Stories Ever Told features “30 Thrillers by the world’s master story-tellers.”
Steve Carper’s research for One-and-Dones part two (The Digest Enthusiast No. 8), reveals its likely connection to Doreen Publishing, who also produced (30 Tales of) Adventure and Romance, edited by Arnold Shaw.
Published in 1945 by William Crawford, and listed in Paperback Prices by Graham Holroyd as a “Crawford Digest,” The Garden of Fear is an anthology titled after Robert E. Howard’s story, but also includes reprints by Lloyd A. Eshbach, H. P. Lovecraft, Miles J. Breuer, and David H. Keller from Crawford’s earlier Marvel Tales pulp magazine.
Steve Carper’s research for One-and-Dones part two (The Digest Enthusiast No. 8), reveals it was neither a singleton, nor a digest, but still a highly collectable volume, readily available in secondary markets.