A sultry mixed medium paperback cover illustration by Lou Marchetti, this first appeared in 1951 as the paperback cover of Shadow Of The Mafia, aka Horns of the Devil by Louis Malley. The provocative and hard-boiled image shows an “easy loving” blonde beauty flirtatiously eying the streetwise tough Don Alberto, who lays on the bed, his enforcers gun within arms reach. With its danger and sensuality, the artwork is an enduring example of Marchetti’s talent for capturing the sexy underbelly of American life. The story of Sicilian Mafia crime families and political corruption is a forgotten classic pulp fiction page turner, and also a footnote in the legend of Marilyn Monroe. During Monroe’s marriage to Joe Dimaggio, he was given a copy of the hardcover edition of the book, published under the title Horns for the Devil. So taken was he by the fast-paced and gritty story, that he convinced Monroe to buy the film rights for the novel and adapt it to the screen. She spent $5000 dollars on the rights, and $20,000 to pay for the adaptation. Rather than produce the film however, Monroe insisted that if they wanted to renew her contract, Twentieth Century Fox would have to buy the film rights from her for $150,000, making the film one of the more profitable never-made pictures.
Painting is handsomely framed and published copies of both the American Monarch edition and British Digit Books paperback are included in the sale.