Friday, September 02, 2005

Peter Chambers

Here's the original Finnish cover by Matti Louhi for Peter Chambers's The Bad Die Young (1967). I think I've written about Chambers (whose real name was Dennis Phillips and who also wrote as Peter Chester and Philip Daniels) here earlier; he seems to be one of the steadiest British crime writers. He never rose to the first rank, maybe not even the second, and he produced almost all his work to publishers like Hale and Herbert Jenkins that were making only cheap hardbacks for the lending library market. I don't actually know whether he writes anymore; he is in his eighties now, if he's alive.

The Bad Die Young (the title has nothing to with the novel) is about Chambers's hero, P.I. Mark Preston. Preston is a nice guy for a P.I. and he's not actually a hero, more like a sympathetic lad who's handed down jobs he can't always handle. (Being a bystander seems to be a recurring theme in Chambers's work.) The Californian locales are made up and the towns are fictional (Monkton, Forbesville etc.) and the story could equally take place in England. There's not much atmosphere.

That said it must be admitted that Chambers keeps the story moving, even though he seems to forget who Preston was sent after and the character just drops out of sight.

Matti Louhi was a productive Finnish cover artist in the sixties and seventies who liked to portray nude ladies. It was no wonder that the did the covers for the same publisher's Erotica line that published lots of classic erotica - Apollinaire, de Sade, Chester Himes, Mutzgenbacher etc. If you behave nicely, I can scan some of those later.

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