I first saw this illustration at the Killer Covers blog. Who’s the girl? who is she running from? Private eye Steve Conacher flies to paris to find a missing rich girl with a talent for painting and a genius for getting into trouble (I guess she also has a talent to appear in the book cover), and he’s confronted by a sequence of murders. Girl Running, a fast moving thriller published in 1956, by the author of Kiss and Kill and Stone Cold Blonde, Adam Knight.
The illustration featured in the book cover was created by Paul Rader (born in Brooklyn, New York in 1906). Girl Running was Rader’s first cover, according to Lynn Munroe. This is very surprising to me, as this means he painted his first cover when he was 50 years old. And then he went on to paint more than 300 covers for Midwood books. Of course, this doesn’t mean that he started painting at that age. He was a full time painter years before that, and he did a lot of commercial art, including ads and illustrations for several magazines.
I’ve definitely seen Paul Rader’s paperback book covers before, but I honestly didn’t know anything about him. I’m glad I spent some time reading a bit more about him. You should definitely check out more of his covers and paintings. There’s something about the way he painted those girls. It’s really a shame that some of these fantastic artists and their art are almost forgotten nowadays.
I would love to buy a book collecting his paintings and book covers. The best option I could find is Dames, Dolls and Delinquents: A Collector’s Guide to Sexy Pulp Fiction Paperbacks, which features some of Paul Rader’s vintage book covers, among other artists. This book was already in my wishlist related to vintage book covers, and I know now I’ll definitely buy it.