If you’re looking for old paperbacks, there’s no better place in northern California than Kayo Books in San Francisco. The store carries thousands of titles, arranged by genre on floor-to-ceiling shelves. I hadn’t been there for awhile, so last week I decided to make another visit. Nothing had changed in my absence. I was seeking paperback originals written in the 1950s and set in California. Usually just glancing at the publisher and the series number was enough to satisfy the first two criteria. But the setting required actually looking through the book. Some authors like to establish location in the first few pages. Others, unfortunately, only drop clues here and there. I wound up browsing straight through lunch and had several bookcases to go when I had to head back to Sacramento. Here’s what I found:
Carnal Greed by Pauline C. Smith (Newstand Library U-127, 1960)
The Censored Screen by Brian Dunn (Newstand Library U-125, 1960)
Decoy by Michael Morgan (Ace D-9, 1953)
The Fraudulent Broad by James Rubel (Newstand Library U-102, 1958)
Hard and Fast by U. S. Andersen (Popular EB-72, 1956)
One for Sleep by Frank Bonham (Fawcett GM 988, 1960)
Rusty Desmond by Steve January (Avon 553, 1954)
She Made Her Bed by Evans McKnight (Beacon B 324, 1960)
Temptress by Michael St. John (Kozy K116, 1960)
The Yellow Press by H. D. Spalding (Newstand Library U-121, 1959)
The Censored Screen was the only one I had hoped to find. The other books were unknown to me. I wasn’t familiar with any of the authors either, largely (it turned out) because most of them hadn’t published much.
Just before I had to leave, I ran across a couple stacks of digest-sized paperbacks. They produced an unexpected bonus, two Florence Stonebraker novels, Stolen Love and Passion’s Harvest. And I discovered that the setting of two more of her books is not in California.
All in all, the trip was a big success. Kayo, in case you’re interested in checking it out, is at 814 Post Street. The store’s only open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I got there via BART. If you do the same, I would recommend walking from the Powell Street station. It’s about seven blocks.