Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Bonkers book title: "Garlic, Grapes and a Pinch of Heroin"

  • Title: Garlic, Grapes and a Pinch of Heroin
  • Cover secondary text: "Disappearing heroin and a missing brother ... can she prove his innocence and stay alive?"
  • Author: Elaine Turner, about whom I cannot find any biographical information. Contact me if you can help out!
  • Cover illustrator: Unknown, but we can assume the artist knew very little about the plot or actual genre.
  • Publication date: 1977
  • Publisher: Manor Books, which was in business for about a decade, from 1972 to 1981. As Wikipedia notes, "A marketing gimmick used by Manor was the Seal of Guaranteed Reader Satisfaction, which offered compensation if the customer was not pleased with his purchase." This book, however, does not offer that guarantee.
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 226
  • Cover price: $1.50 (about $7.44 today)
  • Strange hyphenation in back cover blurb: "hi-jacker"
  • First sentence: Wisps of fog danced, slowly encircling the evergreens.
  • Last sentence: "I don't think we have to worry about his answer, but whatever it is, not much, not much at all."
  • Sentence from the middle #1: Her detecting had produced a big fat zero.
  • Sentence from the middle #2: Violet's formidable array of cosmetics were arranged on the dresser, a magazine lay on the slightly mussed bed.
  • Excerpt from the middle #3: "Well, howdy, it's sure been good to see ya'all. The tour's been mighty dull without you," Bernie boomed.
  • Online review: This book is rated 3.33 stars (out of 5) on Goodreads and there are no ratings on Amazon. But there's only one actual review online, and it served as the inspiration for this post. The review is by Justin Tate of SpookyBook, and it begins
"Let’s take a moment to admire that title. Wow. I mean, if that doesn’t catch the eye, what will? Of course the cover is less appealing. It has all the ingredients of Gothic standard, but on an eighth-grade art class budget. Nevermind that the novel itself is 0% Gothic."
Please go and read the entire excellent review. Other books reviewed by SpookyBooky include Lord Satan, The Ladies of Holderness, The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories, and the wonderfully titled Let the Crags Comb Out Her Dainty Hair. In addition, Tate wrote wrote a journal in the first half of 2020 that combines thoughts on the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with a first reading of Stephen King's The Stand. It's well worth reading and an important time capsule of a moment in history.

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