The paperbacks in my collection are usually in better shape than this one, but for some reason, this is the best I have of this early Bantam edition. The artist is not identified, nor does Graham Holroyd’s price guide offer any assistance. If the cover’s a little dark to make out the details, opposite the title page there’s a small blurb that describes the scene that the cover’s a snapshot view of.

   But I think that one glance at the cover and the would-be buyer is going to know exactly what kind of book he’s going to be getting, early 1950s style. If not, then the blurb on the back cover is intended to be the clincher.

John Evans: Halo for Satan

BANTAM #800. Paperback reprint; 1st printing, July 1950. Hardcover edition: Bobbs-Merrill, August 1948. Series character: private eye Paul Pine. Object of interest: a manuscript written by Jesus Christ.

            About the cover:

    I got a shoulder under my eyelids and shoved hard… Pain gnawed at the back of my head like rats in a granary.

    She helped me into a sitting position and I sat there and stared… It was a face to bring hermits down out of the hills, to fill divorce courts, to make old men read up on hormones.

    “How do you feel, Mr. Pine?”

    “Adequate,” I said. “…Were you the one that sapped me?”

             From the back cover:


    “Find Wirtz,” the Bishop said. “Find him, Mr. Pine.”

    “With a build-up like that,” I said, “any amount under a million is going to sound mighty puny.”

    He turned his head…. “But a million dollars was not the price, Mr. Pine… The amount he asks is twenty-five million dollars!”

   So the hunt begins, a tough, brutal game with a trigger-happy blonde, a sexy redhead and a dying half-crazed murder czar with a fabulous story and an even more fabulous scheme.