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143: The Charred Witness

June 3, 2013

So in order to keep abreast of my book hoarding, I work one day a week at one of the best bookstores in New York City, Book Thug Nation. Recently we got a big lot of old noir books, and there are some real gems. Some of my favorites are the Dell Mysteries, with the “crime maps” of the murder scenes on the back cover. This one is just amazing, George Harmon Coxe’s The Charred Witness, from 1942. There are no artistic or design attributions for any of these books, but whoever did this cover is a genius. No detail was skipped here, from the chipped fingernails and creepy texture on the flaming hand to the airbrushed smoke rising off the image. Maybe I’m just stretching, but it seems like the skull even has a little bit of a mustache, maybe evoking Hitler, as it was 1942!



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