I became acquainted with Spike Morelli’s pulp paperbacks because of the breathtaking Reginald Heade covers. Coffin for a Cutie is a prime example why pulp magazines and paperbacks have such a devoted audience. I’ve stated before that you can indeed judge a book by its cover. The next point is that, yes, the story is just as good as the cover. That’s not always the case, but it holds true for Reginald Heade’s covers of these Archer Press paperbacks. Spike Morelli wrote lurid, gritty tales. Coffin for a Cutie dates from 1950. I know nothing about Spike Morelli except that the Fantastic Fiction website lists his pseudonyms as Francis Donaldson, Gilroy Mitcham, Macdonald Newton and Gene Ross. As for Reginald Heade, his Archer Press titles are all prized by collectors, and best of all they are neither difficult to find nor especially expensive. You can expect to pay $15 to $30 for solid copies. Coffin for a Cutie is not great literature, but it’s great pulp fun. This fellow Sam Case was raised in a Georgia swamp and is about as dangerous as a rusty razorblade in the wrong hands. That means he’s lethal and nasty. Coffin for a Cutie is “politically incorrect” by today’s standards. This is a pulp paperback and not a treatise on race relations or women’s rights. Sam and his black friend Will steal some money from people swimming in a creek and then are forced to leave town, but not before Sam has his first experience with a girl named Sanny. They flee to Atlanta, where they meet various people, including a pornographer named Mitchin who likes taking photos of naked girls. Sam hooks up with a dame named Babs, and things get complicated and sleazy. There’s a place called the Voodoo Club where girls dance naked, some double-crosses, another dame named Inga, and more murder and duplicity. Sam treats women a little rough, as in using his fists on them to get what he wants. There are no heroes in Coffin for a Cutie. This book is one long list of bad choices leading to vice, theft and murder. Fun to read, but don’t go looking for a happy ending.