Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Great Cooper Books / Barrington Gray Hunt

Following on from my notes on Vawser & Wiles and Cresta Books, here's a checklist of Cooper Books (The Cooper Book Company) and a list of early Barrington Gray titles that might have been reprinted under the Vawser and Cresta imprints. If you have any of them, let me know the first line and who the main character is and we'll try to work out where they were reprinted and under which title and what byline.

Please note that I have updated the Barrington Gray section a couple of times and for this I have to thank Morgan Wallace and Tom Lesser for their hard work.


Begins with a numbered series which had differently coloured striped covers, then continues as an unnumbered series with illustrated covers.

1 Brede, Arnold • The Climbing Corpse • (Jan 1952) [red].
Opening line: "Tyres screamed. Machine guns rattled. Police sirens howled"

2 Howard, Kent • Small Time Crooks • (Jan 1952) [blue].
Opening line: "Micky Donovan stepped up alongside the little Greek and slugged him hard in the ribs."

3 Holt, Denis (Dennis Holt on cover) • Prince of the West • (Jan 1952) [green].
Opening line:

4 Brede, Arnold • An Outside Job • (Mar 1952) [yellow].
Opening line:

5 Howard, Kent • Go South - Go Crazy • (Mar 1952) [purple].
Opening line: Ask almost anyone in the United States of America which is the screwiest place in the whole forty-eight States and it;s a hundred to one that the answer will come pat, 'Los Angeles.'"

6 McCoy, Trent • I’ll Come Quietly • (Mar 1952) [blue].
Opening line: "Sue was my favourite dame. I was really wild about Sue."

7 Brede, Arnold • Vintage Stuff • (May 1952) [mauve].
Opening line: "Logan looked at the thing with interest and even wonder in his eyes."

8 Howard, Kent • Shooting Made Easy • (May 1952) [orange].
Opening line:

9 M’Cracken, Mike • Brand of the Big L • (May 1952) [pink].
Opening line:

10 Howard, Kent • Kearny Died Twice • (Nov 1952) [green].
Opening line: "Me, I never did trust that guy Corn Kearny all the way."

11 Barres, Jack • Last Gun Home • (Nov 1952).
Opening line:

12 Grey, Christopher • Heavy Sugar • (Nov 1952) [red].
Opening line: "You're liable to meet some very tough characters in Bronson's Bar and it was not the sort of place I do my drinking in from choice."

Barres, Jack • Double Cross Trail • (Apr 1953)
Opening line:

Howard, Kent • Dead for Pleasure • (May 1953) [Pollack].
Opening line:

Howard, Kent • A Private Killing • (May 1953) [Pollack].
Opening line:

Grey, Chris • Wake Up and Die • (May 1953)
Opening line: "The heat rose in sickening waves from the rough sidewalk and made the autos on the other side of the road quiver like as if they were made of jelly."

McCoy, Trent • Lady, What Now! • (May 1953).
Opening line: "Delman Frane didn't look good dead. He had a kind of resentful expression on his face."

Morelli, Al • It’s Easy Money • (May 1953)
Opening line:

Channing, Brent • Here Comes Trouble • (1953).
Opening line:

Conway, Whit • Death Row • (1953)
Opening line:

Advertised but not published:
Channing, Brent • Midnight Minx
M’Cracken, Mike • Big L Canyon


The following list is of gangster novels that might have been reprinted. It is not a definitive list of Gray's output.

Commorde, Ricky • A Dame is Snatched • (Sep 1952) [Pollack].
Opening line:

Connor, Skid • My Grave is for the Living • Grayling, (Jul 1950).
Opening line: "Standing under the shadowy trees well away from street lights, Felicity Gray looked a replica of the dozen or more young women slowly perambulating each sided of that quiet stretch of Bayswater Road between Lancaster Gate and the Marble Arch."

Death, Johnny • Death Dates a Dame • (Feb 1952). [features PI Johnny Death]
Opening line:

Death, Johnny • Deep is My Grave • (Aug 1951).
Opening line:

Duggan, Floyd • Pay-Off for a Dumb Dame • (Oct 1952).
Opening line: "Wilbur teetered just inside the door and, because he was nervous, he was swearing."

Foden, Frederick • Denver Lil • (Oct 1952).
Opening line: "The dame sure has some nice underwear, but don’t get me wrong, she isn’t in it."

Foden, Frederick • Dolls are Dynamite • (Jan 1954)
Opening line: "I couldn’t look at the dame without losing my senses."

Foden, Frederick • Frisco Doll • (Sep 1953)
Opening line: "I never killed the Dollar Dame, but I guess the only way I can prove that is to find out who did, and why, or else I’ll fry, which is why I’m waiting in the dame’s room."

Foden, Frederick • Hick Town Dame • nd (Nov 1952), 128pp, 1/6, [anon].
Opening line: "Have you ever watched a dame change her clothes?"

Gallico, Paul • Dames Spell Trouble • (Nov 1951), 128pp, 1/6.
Opening line: "You know your part, Paula, what will happen if you try to double-cross."

O’Hanna, Roy • Pacific Hideout • (Mar 1951),
Opening line: "The exotic perfume drifting from beneath the cream door of my hotel apartment should have warned me of the shape of things to come."

Saxon, Dirk • Sadie Plays Rough • (Feb 1956)
Opening line:

Wheatley, Chris • Baby, Don’t Get Rough •  (Mar 1953)
Opening line:

Wheatley, Chris • Dames, Diamonds and Death! • Grayling, (Jan 1951) [Pollack].
Opening line: "Leo put the car out full stretch, but Vic cursed, his dark handsome face twitching as he gripped the leather case."

Wheatley, Chris • Date for a Dame • Grayling, (Feb 1951) [features detective Nickie Howard]
Opening line: "In my experience it requires careful timing to successfully prime a dame with likker."

Wheatley, Chris • Dead Dames Can’t Cheat • (Sep 1951)
Opening line: "Nick Casswell pushed the girl away and stretched his hefty length up fro the settee in the lavishly furnished room behind the main floor of the Scarlet Slipper night-club."

Wheatley, Chris • Dizzy Dames Die Fast • (May 1951) [Pollack].
Opening line: "The Guy was dead!"

Wheatley, Chris • Hot Dames - Cold Lead • Grayling, (Jun 1951).
Opening line: "Yeah, she’s some dame, decided Rick Renfern."

Wheatley, Chris • Murder at the Blue Garter • (Jun 1951).
Opening line: "“It’s a razor, girlie, and not the safety sort,” said the dapper little man wearing the down-tilted soft hat and neat pin-striped suit."

Wheatley, Chris • Never Trust a Dame • (Jan 1956).
Opening line:

Wheatley, Chris • Red Ice • (Sep 1952) [Pollack?]. [features newspaperman Ken Gallis]
Opening line: "We're finished, Louie. The rackets only pay off with bullets from the police or a trip to the penitentiary, maybe the chair."

Wheatley, Chris • This Dame Spells Death • Grayling, (Sep 1950).
Opening line: "Nicolas Hilton, boss of the Nonpareil Night Club scowled with a mouthful of curses which would have stiffened the hair of his select patrons out on the main floor."

Wolfe, Hammond • Smart Dames Play Dumb • (1953?).
Opening line:

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