MODERN FICTION LTD. - BRITISH PULP FICTION AT ASH RARE BOOKS

First editions at Ash Rare Books

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“BRAZA, Jacque” – [McKEAG, Ernest Lionel, 1896-1974] : MOMENTS OF MADNESS : ROMANCE OF A DRUG ADDICT.

“BRAZA, Jacque” – [McKEAG, Ernest Lionel, 1896-1974] : MOMENTS OF MADNESS : ROMANCE OF A DRUG ADDICT.

London : C. M. & Co. (Modern Fiction), [1950]. First edition. “Poppy’s turned out to be a gloomy place in a dirty side-street of Soho. She passed lots of girls, standing in twos and threes in shop doorways. They giggled as she went by ...” – stage-struck innocent Margaret struggles to make good in a wicked world. “Free love and its tragic end”.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 176pp. Original stapled pictorial wrappers; slightly chipped at head; a few nicks, creases and faint spots, but still a very good copy of a scarce and fragile item. Just a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

SOLD

BUXTON, Raymond : MIDSUMMER MADNESS.

BUXTON, Raymond : MIDSUMMER MADNESS.

London : Modern Fiction, [1946]. First edition. Simple but handsome farmworker led astray by forward hussies - well written and in places almost erotic, which is more than can be said for most of the Modern Fiction output. Buxton was the author of "Broken Liebestraum" (1944), "No Gentle Lady" (1949), etc.
Crown 8vo (19cm). (64)pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - combative and diaphanous woman in a design by H. W. Perl; rather worn, torn and frayed; cup mark on upper wrapper, tape repair to lower; staples rusting; some internal tears to gutter; an indifferent copy of a scarce title. The British Library has what is apparently a later edition with more pages, but no copies of this edition located in any major UK library.

£25

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"GORDON, Spike" - [FEARN, John Russell, 1908-1960] : YOU TAKE THE RAP.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1953]. First edition. The first of the "Spike Gordon" series, believed to have been written by John Russell Fearn. The cover tag-line is "Wildcat Women and Dope", which sums it up pretty adequately.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - redhead droops near syringe and bottle; some minor wear and light creasing; a few slight marks; some touching up over small cosmetic patches to upper cover; mild tanning of text, but overall a very good copy. Only the British Library copy located in all the major UK libraries.

SOLD

"GORDON, Spike" - [FEARN, John Russell, 1908-1960] : TAKEN FOR DOLLARS : AMERICA'S MOST OUTSTANDING AND DARING STORY.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1953]. First edition. Tough newspaperman on trail of missing heiress, dope traffickers, white slavers, secret brotherhood dedicated to the black arts, and the most beautiful and dangerous Molly Kavanagh. "Spike Gordon" was one of the new set of fictitious authors introduced by the Turveys at the height of their success - it is believed to mask the identity of John Russell Fearn.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - redhead all at sea; Some light wear at foot and slight creasing to corners; a touch of rust to the staples; edges spotted, with some occasional spotting and mild discolouration to text, but overall a very good copy. Only the British Library copy located in all the major UK libraries.

SOLD

"GRIFF" : FROM DANCE HALL TO OPIUM DIVE.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1950]. First edition. Bullets, business and be-pop - better dead than dope-crazed - the "Griff" byline was first used by Ernest McKeag (1896-1974) in 1948, but became the most successful of the Modern Fiction pulp brand-names under various later authors. Lightning pace, crisp dialogue, casual violence, and seedy and salacious faux American settings are the common denominators. By 1950 most of the "Griff " titles, of which this is perhaps the most celebrated, were being written by the journalist, compiler of reference works and occasional Dickens scholar, Frank Dubrez Fawcett (1891-1968) and this is almost certainly his work.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 112pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - redhead takes an injection in her thigh from corrupt brunette - a pair of man's shoes suggestively by the couch; mild wear to tips; repaired splits to lower joint and spine; small initial on upper cover; crease to lower wrapper; staples a touch rusted; text a little tanned, but the wrappers and artwork unusually clean and fresh. Only the British Library copy located in the major UK libraries.

SOLD

"GRIFF" : TRADING WITH BODIES.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1950]. First edition. One of the most successful of the Griff titles - at least three different editions are known: the present copy, with 160 pages, the name and address of the printers (Craig Mitchell & Co.) given only in abbreviated form, and with advertisements consonant with a publication date of 1950, would appear to pre-date both the 128pp edition and the 110pp one. Chapter headings include Blondes Mean Trouble, White Slave Racket, When Crooks Fall Out, etc.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 160pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - blondes in underwear, whip, Mexican hat; some light wear; lower wrapper glue marked from the removal of the original cellophane wrapping; some mild browning and some spotting, but otherwise a very good copy. Only a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

£100

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"GRIFF" : YOU PAY THE PRICE.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1952]. First edition. Car crash outside Chicago reveals a murdered woman in an abandoned car.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 110,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - astonished brunette with knife, telephone, and the attentions of an angry man; a poor copy, much worn and frayed; corner of upper wrapper missing; hole in lower wrapper; inked price and name on upper wrapper; text a little nicked and frayed. Only the British Library copy located in any of the major UK libraries.

SOLD

"GRIFF" : NIGHT PATROL.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1953]. First edition. The terrible death of a beautiful woman - "gangsterdom and vice, against the pulsating background of New York's seamier streets".
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stappled wrappers - shootout over a telephonist; spine a little rubbed and slightly worn; mild tanning to text, but overall a good and clean copy. Only the British Library copy located in all the major UK libraries.

£40

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"GRIFF" : THE CITY OF LOST WOMEN.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1953]. First edition. Kidnappers prey on the Hollywood wealthy - inducing something "damn near to dithering fear".
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - tough blonde, spilt glasses; slight puckering of spine; a few faint marks, but overall a very good, sharp and clean copy. Only the British Library copy located in any of the major UK libraries.

£75

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“GRIFF” – [BOYCE, David, 1916-1993] : SHOOT TO LIVE.

“GRIFF” – [BOYCE, David, 1916-1993] : SHOOT TO LIVE.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1953]. First edition. “Master-spies, gunhawks, mobsters, hoods, all the unsavoury characters of the underworld ... A young scientist is kidnapped. He carries badly wanted secrets in his brain ... the secrets of that most despicable of all forms of death ... germ warfare!”. Mark Freeman of the FBI is on the case. The “Griff” house name here being used by David Boyce.
Crown 8vo (18cm). 127,[i]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers – redhead dragged into gunfight; some light creasing and marking; mild spotting of edges; inked “X” on title-page; occasional light browning and discolouration of text, but overall very good copy of an elusive and fragile title. Only the British Library copy located in any of the major libraries worldwide.

£50

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"GRIFF" : THE QUICK OR THE DEAD.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1953?]. First edition. A tale that opens in Acapulco, the story of the downfall of a "dope-raddled tramp who had once been a respected and respectable business woman" - protection racketeers, etc.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - blonde under threat; some very minor wear; some faint creasing; text lightly tanned; one short nick, but a very good copy. No copy located in any major UK library.

SOLD

“LACROIX, Ramon” : EROS LOOKS DOWN.

“LACROIX, Ramon” : EROS LOOKS DOWN.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1952]. First edition. “Waiting in Piccadilly Circus; waiting for what cynical Eros on his pedestal might send her, stands Jenny Stewart, cast by cruel turns of Fortune’s wheel into the company of fallen women ...”. The London night-club scene exposed as respectable Jenny falls prey to the procurers. Ramon Lacroix was a house name used, inter alia, by Ernest McKeag, Norman Lazenby, etc.
Crown 8vo (18cm). 64pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers – a design by Hyman Perl (1897-1952); spine chipped at foot and with some lateral tears; some marking and creasing; a few leaves slightly chipped, without loss, but a good copy of a scarce and fragile item. Just a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

SOLD

“LACROIX, Ramon” : SEDUCTION.

“LACROIX, Ramon” : SEDUCTION.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [ca.1952]. First edition. A novel set in the ruins of post-war Hamburg, as Ilsa decides to smoke her last cigarette – and wants a man to light it.
Crown 8vo (18cm). 96pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers – young woman in green examines a puppet on her knee – a design, probably by H. W. Perl, previously used on an earlier Modern Fiction title (“Lost Love” by Henri Duprès) and here crudely adapted; wrappers used, worn, scuffed, creased and a little marked, with some chipping; some minor internal browning and discolouration, but a serviceable copy of an uncommon title. Just a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

£25

To purchase, call us or e-mail us at books@ashrare.com quoting stock number 42784 – or simply click on the button

"LAROCHE, Rene" - [McKEAG, Ernest Lionel, 1896-1974] : LADIES OF LEISURE.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1951]. First edition. Diane repents of her hasty marriage in a wartime suburb - the chapters tell the tale: loveless marriage, on the verge, marriageless love, bitter parting, out of her past, unwilling wife, silken sin, the goad of loneliness, the way of transgression, conquest, gathering clouds, betrayed, the choice - aftermath. "Translated from the French" claims the cover - a statement even less accurate than the mis-spelling of McKeag's nom-de-plume as Rene Larouche on the title-page.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 136pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers in a stylish design by the reliable John Pollack (1918-1985) - woman vamping a car-driver in a stock French setting; some wear to extremities; minor creasing and marking; price faintly over-stamped on upper wrapper; a few internal nicks, creases and a chip; one leaf a little proud, but overall a not unappealing copy. Only the British Library copy located in any of the major UK libraries.

SOLD

"LAROCHE, Rene" - [McKEAG, Ernest Lionel, 1896-1974] : HOUSE OF ASSIGNATION.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1956]. First edition. Fianceé vanishes in Paris - espionage, murder, drugs, battle with the police, etc.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - lady of the night in Montmartre; some wear and slight chipping; lower wrapper a little marked; text tanned and edges spotted, but a good copy of an uncommon late Modern Fiction title. Only the British Library copy located in any of the major UK libraries.

SOLD

“LAROCHE, René” - [McKEAG, Ernest Lionel, 1896-1974] : STRIP-TEASE GIRL.

“LAROCHE, René” - [McKEAG, Ernest Lionel, 1896-1974] : STRIP-TEASE GIRL.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1951]. First edition. Small, pale, blonde - Joyce Morton is thrown out of her Manchester family home by her step-mother - heads to London to work as a dance-hostess.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 128pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - blonde in undress on cushions by Ray Theobald; light wear; some creases and a few short tears; occasional internal spotting and tanning, but a better than average copy. Just a single copy (British Library) located in the world’s major libraries.

£40

To purchase, call us or e-mail us at books@ashrare.com quoting stock number 41792 – or simply click on the button

“SARTO, Ben” – [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : CITY OF SIN.

“SARTO, Ben” – [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : CITY OF SIN.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1952]. First edition. Rena falls for a European, but “she hadn’t seen anything of the world further east than Minneapolis”. Sarto “tears the veil from the activities of the army of White Slavers”.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 127.[i]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers – unsigned, but evidently a design by Len Potts; spine chipped, darkened and split; wrappers a little marked and creased; edges a little spotted; text a little tanned; a serviceable copy of an uncommon title. Just a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

£25

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"SARTO, Ben" - [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : MISS OTIS THROWS A COME-BACK.

London : Modern Fiction, [1947]. First edition. An early title in the Miss Otis series - the "ritzy racketeer". One of the most memorable characters in all the pulp fiction of the period. "An experienced dame, you would say, looking at Miss Otis in her sun parlor; a dame who had got 'it' in overweight quantities".
Crown 8vo (19cm). 128pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - Miss Otis in a genial and languid pose by H. W. Perl; some very minor wear and faint marking to the predominantly white wrappers; slight creasing to lower wrapper, but overall a very good copy of a scarce title. Just two copies traced in the major UK libraries (Bodleian and British Library).

£125

To purchase, call us or e-mail us at books@ashrare.com quoting stock number 37804 - or simply click on the button

"SARTO, Ben" - [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : CHICAGO DAMES.

London : Modern Fiction, [1949]. [New edition]. The United Ladies' Club of Chicago - Dynamite Doll, Slappy Sal (not to mention her husband Jelly the Fish), Velvet Vi, Reno Doreena - but Anna Toplitski craves the "sharp, puncturing kiss" of the hypodermic syringe. Originally published in 1947 (with a plain lower wrapper).
Crown 8vo (19cm). 128pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - a typical H. W. Perl design of a blonde in clinging green; some very minor wear; the predominantly white wrappers lightly marked, with some faint splashing to lower wrapper; but overall a very good copy of a fragile production.

SOLD

"SARTO, Ben" - [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : DUCHESS OF DOPE.

London : Modern Fiction, [1948]. First edition. Man returns to Idaho from the mountains of Chile to find his sweet young wife has killed herself having become a dope addict: an exposé of the American morphine, heroin and cocaine rackets. "Then there was Jacqueline; tall, slant-eyed, raven-haired, fiery, dynamic; packing a flashlook that would burn up almost any guy with desire. They called her 'The Duchess of Dope' ...". One of the most successful of all the Modern Fiction titles.
Crown 8vo (19cm). (128)pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - a wide-eyed, leggy and blood-stained Jacqueline in a design by H. W. Perl; some wear; short tears to upper wrapper; lower corner chewed; a few minor marks, but a good copy of a difficult title. Only the British Library copy located in all the major UK libraries.

SOLD

“SARTO, Ben” – [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : MISS OTIS GOES UP.

“SARTO, Ben” – [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : MISS OTIS GOES UP.

London : Modern Fiction, [1949]. First edition. A murder in the Otis Restaurant – a revenge killing by a strange young man.
Crown 8vo (18cm). (128)pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers – a typical H. W. Perl design; some minor wear and creasing; a few slight marks; staples rusting; text faintly tanned, but overall a very good copy of a scarce and fragile item. Just a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

£100

To purchase, call us or e-mail us at books@ashrare.com quoting stock number 41962 – or simply click on the button

“SARTO, Ben” – [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : MISS OTIS HAS A DAUGHTER.

“SARTO, Ben” – [FAWCETT, Frank Dubrez, 1891-1968] : MISS OTIS HAS A DAUGHTER.

London : Modern Fiction, [1949]. First edition. Playing with his own name, Fawcett gives us cheapstore dressmaker Frank Driffield Tawfitt, who has taken a shine to the mysterious and alluring new partner in Manhattan’s Paradise Restaurant – Miss Otis has gone incognito.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 124,[iv]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers – woman, gun, allure – a design by H. W. Perl; just a touch of wear to tips; a couple of tiny creases; staples rusted and discoloured, but otherwise a very good and clean copy. Just a single copy (British Library) located in major libraries worldwide.

£100

To purchase, call us or e-mail us at books@ashrare.com quoting stock number 41963 – or simply click on the button

"SPENCER, Hank" : VICE SQUAD.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1954]. First edition. "Meet again that crashing, smashing heel, Kinsey Target, relating his own paralysing experiences in the shocking style that has made him famous" - we also meet Peach Dolfin, Pingpong Rizetti, and other surprising characters.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 110,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - brunette in red is offered a drink; some minor wear and short nicks; text a little tanned, but overall a very good copy of an uncommon late title from Modern Fiction. Only the British Library copy located in any of the major UK libraries.

SOLD

"SPENCER, Hank" : NECKS OF SINNERS.

London : Modern Fiction (London), [1954]. First edition. One of at least ten titles put out under Modern Fiction's "Hank Spencer" house-name towards the end of their publishing career. Set in Chicago as tough, honest, guy seeks justice and revenge - master criminal, mysterious dame - "something you'll have to read for yourself. It got too exciting for me!" says the cover.
Crown 8vo (19cm). 126,[ii]pp. Original pictorial stapled wrappers - blonde shocked by man with gun, a design by Kris; staples slightly rusted; a few minor marks, but overall a very good copy. Only a single copy (British Library) located in all the major UK libraries.

SOLD

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