Friday 2 July 2010

New Rabe: The Cut of the Whip by Peter Rabe / Kill One, Kill Two by Robert H. Kelston

Final new arrival of the day is this:

A 1958 US paperback first edition of Peter Rabe's The Cut of the Whip, published by Ace. This is another in Rabe's series of novels starring reluctant gangster Daniel Port (previously blogged about here and here and here); this is number four, I think (there are six in total, of which I'm only missing a couple now). Dunno which twisted soul was responsible for the cover art, but check the big crazy boss-eyed lady. Scary. The Cut of the Whip seems to be about a kidnap, but it's not Port doing the kidnapping; rather he's trying to find the victim. I would tell you more, but there's no blurb on the back cover... because, folks, this is an Ace Double Novel, and on the 'back' cover, printed the other way up, is this:

Another completely separate novel, Kill One, Kill Two by Robert H. Kelston. Ace published a lot of double novels like this in the 1950s, '60s and early '70s: one novel printed one way up, the other the other way up, so both start from the 'first' page and end in the middle of the book.

It's a neat concept – two for the price of one. They were usually themed – mystery, science fiction etc. – but with two different authors/novels (there's a list of 'em all here). I know virtually nothing about Rabe's companion author on this one: Amazon and AbeBooks only list one other book by Robert H. Kelston, Murder's End (published by Graphic in 1956), although there is a listing for another title, Run to Death, in the National Library of Australia, published by Phantom Books of London in 1959. That could, of course, simply be a re-title of one of his earlier novels. So who was Kelston? The internet certainly can't shed much light. We may never know...

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