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Elaine Duillo Checklist

The evolution from old school Gothic covers to the popular romance covers of the current day appears earlier and more remarkably in the work of Elaine than in that of most of her contemporaries. First there was the classic Gothic formula for NIGHTMARE IN EDEN (1974) and THE GUARDIAN OF WILLOW HOUSE (1975), both for Pocket Books. Just three years later, Elaine Duillo was pushing the envelope with a series of covers for Warner Books. GLENDRACO (1978) was sold as “fiction” but the story is reminiscent of Gothic romance. The cover art however begins to point us to the changes coming. There's still a beautiful heroine and a castle, but something new has been added: a man. The lusty heartthrob hero is always touching her, embracing her, promising passion. One of the books that next marked this change came from a most unexpected and ironic publisher: Playboy. Elaine's seemingly innocuous cover for BRIDE OF FURY (copyright 1979, published February 1980) by Rachel Cosgrove Payes, can now be recognized as a visible pivotal point in the changing face of paperback cover art. Along with a 1979 Jove called GOLDEN GALATEA, these covers show where we are going to go in the 80s. The Gothic heroine and house are still evident, but the house is diminished now, and soon will disappear. Romantic covers will never be the same again. The men on the covers of GLENDRACO and BRIDE OF FURY are dressed. The art for two covers that chronologically fall outside our parameters here, DEFY NOT THE HEART (1989) and UNTIL FOREVER (1995), both by Johanna Lindsey, illustrate where Elaine then took the romance cover. The first features Elaine's discovery, the long-haired male model Fabio, who seemed to personify his readers' dreams and usually was half-naked. And by UNTIL FOREVER, both the man and the woman are just about completely naked. Elaine has reversed the old order used on hundreds of paperbacks, where fully clothed men eyed nude or near-nude women like playthings. Check out the romance paperback covers of today at the grocery store or bookstore. They all look like Elaines. Elaine has the original cover painting for UNTIL FOREVER, framed and under glass, for sale at $2,700.00.



Elaine covers confirmed by Elaine Duillo

1960 ?

OBSESSION – Kim Darien. Ace D-526, 1961. PBO.

A taste of OBSESSION:
“Her warm, sweet, moist mouth opened and worked and melted in his. His hand, swiftly active, pulled aside the thin satin barrier and the warm rich firm breast lay in it, an ivory weight. …When he came to her, to the feast of her, her arms opened like the petals of a carnivorous flower and swallowed him.”

DANCE OF LUST – Arrow Young, Tuxedo 105, nd, 1 st PB.
“She moved on the settee and her thighs suddenly came into view…Bare, fleshy, full, with the black garters against the white skin. This vision seemed to change the professor's attitude….The dress was soon off, then he went after her slip. Now she was down to her bra, her panties, and that black garter belt. He was kissing her; the soft palms of his hands moved like a little boy asking for a milk shake. “Gimme”, his hands said. She gave, both of them, the full roundness bulging in his little hands.”

“Adult” paperbacks have a tendency to exist under different titles and author names. This is the PB edition of a 1953 Woodford press hardcover called ELEANOR by Colin Ross.


THE QUEER FRENZY – Oscar Bessie, Tuxedo 123, PBO.

“She stood naked before me in all her flowering magnificence. Her high breasts had the eternal firmness of Greek statue, her protruding belly was universally feminine, her thighs were strong young guideposts to pleasure. Her mouth demanded to be filled.”

The last page says “The End – “Lover Boy” by Oscar Bessie”. It seems that the editors at Tuxedo slapped the much more outrageous title on the book as an afterthought. Rising rock'n roll star Hank Slater drives the girls wild with his gyrating hips and the twist, but what he really wants is to sing folk songs like “Railroad Bill”.

I'M FOR HIRE – Ben Stone, Crescent 103, PBO.

“Color me son of a bitch. But you know, we're birds of a feather, you and I – with my brains and your talent, we could milk the horny tourists dry!”

Many of the Crescent covers were by Gene Bilbrew, but Elaine did a couple and they are unforgettable


THE HUNGRY ONES – Craig Douglas, Crescent 108, PBO.

“As always, the crowd was on hand for the Uncle Googie Cartoon Show, sponsored by a local ice cream company. There was never a shortage of kids on hand to accept the free samples Uncle Googie handed out during the show. Uncle Googie was really a staff announcer named Barney Nesbitt….Barney was a jerk.”

This was the first Elaine cover many vintage paperback collectors noticed because her distinctive “Elaine” signature is so bold and clear. . This is the one shown in the book SEX-A-RAMA: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties. (A friend of ours who runs a website you want to look at called http://www.vintagesleaze.com turned up the book Crescent published right before this one, NEVER TOO YOUNG, Crescent 107, and noticed the artist's signature “John”. We ran this by Elaine and she confirmed that cover was by her husband, John Duillo, who normally signed his covers “Duillo”. )

I'LL BE GOOD – TOMORROW – Amy Harris, Midwood 34-680, 2 nd pr.

“I wanted to call you so bad,” he said.
“Badly, badly, badly, not bad, I thought. I didn't want him to go on anymore, but I was afraid he'd stop holding me…I wondered why his grammar was suddenly so important.”

This is the retitled second edition of the 1963 Midwood original HORIZONTAL SECRETARY, which had a cover by Paul Rader.


TEENAGED SEDUCTRESSES – Barbara Hoffman, Charger 802, PBO.

“American society, zooming into the second half of the 20 th century, can smile with pride for its affluence, its productivity and its accomplishments. We can nod intelligently at the advances in science, medicine and mass media. We can grin at birth control pills and can reflect introspectively about the new broad-mindedness in literature, the arts, and the women's apparel industry. And if we sometimes pucker a frown for accounts of promiscuity among our youth, we can quickly remind ourselves that this is both a symptom and a product of our times, a new alluring seductress - the early teenaged girl.”

SENIOR PROM –Larry Douglas, Chevron 120, PBO

“Polly was all over him when he finally joined her in the parking lot. She had been waiting in the car, but when she spotted him as he emerged from beneath the stadium she charged toward him like a miniature halfback.”

LUST CANDIDATE – Russell Trainer, Chevron 121, PBO. Cover by Elaine and another, unknown, artist.

“He held her at arm's length and let his eyes roam over her from the top of her short-cut bright blonde hair to the ends of her toes that fit so snugly and smoothly in the high-heeled shoes. Slowly, Roger shook his head, did it not negatively but in appreciation for all that he saw.”


I showed a whole bunch of other 60s Chevrons to Elaine, all of them long attributed to her, and she told me she didn't paint any of them, but she did have a story about this one:

“(Of all the covers you sent) the only art that is mine is half (the big blonde on the right) of LUST CANDIDATE. The publisher didn't like the original figure that the artist did and asked me to paint the blonde again. Then they ‘stripped it in' and paid me well to do this for them.”

THE BABY PROS – Barbara Hoffman, Classics Library CL-10, PBO.

The much revered American teenager, the frugging, affluent subject of the Pepsi Generation has gone into prostitution.”

These “documented clinical case histories” were pure fiction from the imaginations of the writers. A check of copyright records shows that “Barbara Hoffman” was one of the pen names of Russell Trainer.


THE ADULTERESS – Barbara Hoffman, Classics Library CL-11, PBO.

“It is enough to say that the nymphomaniac, driven by insatiable drives for sex with any man, and every man, cannot expect marriage to work the magic of her cure. Therefore, she fills her sick need by voluminous cohabitation.”

Case histories of neurotic, impulsive, cheating wives.

WOMAN LOVES BOY – Barbara Hoffman, Classics Library CL-17, PBO.

“Youthful, sex-oriented America is feeling the impact of a new influence ….boy lovers of mature woman are abounding in greater and greater numbers within our midst. And the incidence of adult women seeking adolescents as sexual lovers is becoming so frequent that the professionals feel that such cases are beyond any numerical estimate.“

Charger and Chevron and Crescent and Classics Library were all published by the same outfit in Cleveland .



THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE – Lois Paxton, Ace 51903, 1 st PB.

“Too late, Charlotte realized that asking for a massage which she certainly did not need had been a mistake.”

Lois Paxton was a pseudonym of Lois Dorothea Low.


NANA – Emile Zola, Airmont CL202, 1 st thus.

“His great nose sniffed with entirely sensual content: his goat face, with its quaint monstrous ugliness, positively glowed in the sunlight of devoted adoration lavished upon him by that superb woman, who was so fair and so plump of limb.”

After the sexy novels of the 60s, Elaine turned to classic literature with two covers for Airmont Classics Series “from the immortal literature of the world.” The irony here is that NANA was published in 1880 to “a storm of protest, and was banned in England .” Elaine captures Zola's sensual heroine with an elegant nude portrait.


MARTIN EDEN – Jack London, Airmont CL209, 1 st thus.

“He was surprised at his weariness when he got into his room, forgetful of the fact that he had been on his feet and working without let up for fourteen hours. He set the alarm at six, and measured back five hours to one o'clock. He could read until then.”

Elaine's brilliant cover for London 's 1909 autobiographical novel captures the two loves of Martin Eden's life – the sea, and books.

CLOVIS – Walter Harris, Berkley S1916, 1st PB.

The room is small, or perhaps only seems so because of the size of the bed.

“Have you made love with many people in here, Molly?”

“Not a great many. Don't forget there are seven other bedrooms. ””

The unsigned cover art reminded me of a Chip Harrison cover (compare with next book), so I asked Elaine, and she confirmed this is one of hers.


NO SCORE – Chip Harrison, Fawcett Gold Medal T2285, PBO.

“I didn't think Francine had any faults. I ran my hands over her legs. Until that moment I don't think I ever realized just how important legs are. Girl's legs, I mean…And I realized the importance of the legs….a sudden burst of insight, which is how most great discoveries come about. They come in flashes. Newton and the apple, for instance. Paul on the road to Damascus . Archimedes in the bathtub. Chip Harrison in bed with Francine.”

This book is dedicated to Lawrence Block. Chip Harrison is a pen name of Lawrence Block. Elaine's cover captures the whole thing in one perfect image, and you can't ask anything more of a cover painting.

THE BIG DREAM – Steve Fisher, Lancer 75164, 1 st PB.

“Face tight, grim, Bo Kelly was behind the wheel of the Jaguar, barreling along Sunset on his way to the studio. Foot jammed on the accelerator, again taking curves fast, tires squealing in protest, he felt defiant, and wholly masculine.”

Hardboiled author Steve Fisher spent many years as a Hollywood scriptwriter, and the city is the backdrop for some of his books like I WAKE UP SCREAMING and THE BIG DREAM. The Lancer white cover led some collectors to speculate that all those bright Ted Mark Lancer covers were also Elaine. She says no, she didn't do any of them.



IF DYING WAS ALL – Ron Goulart, Ace 36300, PBO.

““You'd like to see me stay a cocktail waitress at the Tin Guru forever,” she said.
“I thought you've been working at the Downhome Soul Shack.”
“The Panthers blew up the Soul Shack three weeks ago”, said the naked girl. “You've been too busy hiding under beds and taking poor people's cars to pay attention to me.”
“Not cars. I don't do repo work.” Easy asked, “What kind of place is the Tin Guru?”
“An eastern food automat…on Santa Monica Boulevard .”
“You mean you can put in a quarter and chutney comes out a slot?”
“Fifty cents””.

CHIP HARRISON SCORES AGAIN – Chip Harrison, Gold Medal T2421, PBO.

“At first I didn't pay very much attention to the guy. I was washing my hands in the men's room of a movie theatre on Forty-second Street, and in a place like that it's not an especially good idea to pay too much attention to anybody or you could wind up getting more involved than you might want to.”

Chip finds work in a Southern brothel in this sequel to NO SCORE.


VOICE FROM THE GRAVE – Clarissa Ross, Lancer 74754, PBO.

“She'd been prepared to have him tell her almost anything except what he had just said so calmly: that he was a murderer.”

Although you might miss it at first glance, look again. This is the classic Gothic romance cover in a modern urban setting.


TOO SWEET TO DIE – Ron Goulart, Ace 40590, PBO.

“Easy waited until the naked girl was in the bathroom with the water running. He made a collect call to his office. Nan Alonzo answered, accepted and asked, “How's Carmel ?”

“There is quite a fad among the locals for bashing visiting detectives over the skull, but outside of that everyone is very friendly.””

The second of Goulart's series about a wise-cracking Hollywood dick.


ASSIGNMENT TO DISASTER – Edward S. Aarons, Gold Medal T2640, nd.

“It came to Durrell at CIA this way: Calvin Padgett had disappeared. Find him. Get him! Stop him, gag him. If necessary, kill him!”

Reprint from the Sam Durell series with new Elaine cover art. Compare model and fabric with THE BIG DREAM above and THE SAME LIE TWICE below.

PROMISE OF LOVE – Mary Renault, Pyramid V2732 (not shown)


THE SAME LIE TWICE – Ron Goulart, Ace 75945, PBO.

“The slim naked girl was floating several feet above him. John Easy rose up through the bright blue water. He ran one hand along her smooth stomach as he neared light and air… “Skinny dipping at dawn. That's a step in the right direction.””

There were three books in Ace's John Easy Mystery series and Elaine did the covers for all of them.


THE SPICE ROUTE CONTRACT – Phillip Atlee, Gold Medal T2697, PBO.

“He tossed me a bundle of the qat branches, and I stripped one and began munching.

“Your friend Badr's a hostage now. In the al Qahari citadel outside Taiz. Old Yemeni custom; they grab kids from the tribes that might give them trouble.”

Joe Gall series adventure. Fawcett wanted this ugly mug on each cover, so there was not a whole lot the cover artists could do.

THE SCARLET RUSE – John D. MacDonald, Gold Medal P2744, PBO.

“I liked the neat little creases at the corners of her mouth. I liked that tricky blue shade of her iris. I liked the genuine big-girl hunger with which she stashed away the medium-adequate meal.”

Most of the Travis McGee books have covers by Robert McGinnis or Ron Lesser, but I've always liked the scarlet blush of this Elaine cover art.



FIND THE DON'S DAUGHTER – Jeff Jacks, Gold Medal M2912, PBO.

“I ran to the window. The front of the car was a smoking hole. Angie was crumpled over the wheel. I thought I saw him moving. Danny the Dummy and Silent One were rushing to him. A second explosion tore apart the car. Something struck Silent and sent him sprawling. Dummy helped him into the limousine. They got the hell out of there. I hadn't realized Joan had followed me to the window. “That was your car. That was meant for you. It could have been us in there.””

After the huge success of THE GODFATHER, anything about the Mafia sold, and Fawcett used the Godfather-style lettering on many paperbacks like this one. Ex-cop private eye Shep Stone is hired to find Don Damon's missing daughter Melinda. Elaine's cover reminds us of John Easy.

MAKE OUT WITH MURDER – Chip Harrison, Gold Medal M3029, PBO.

“End of Chapter Twelve : So I headed back to my rooming house. That was my first mistake. My second mistake happened when (three guys) came out and asked me if I was Harrison , and I said I was.

Chapter Thirteen: They kicked the shit out of me .

Start of Chapter Fourteen: I'm going to leave it at that. Haig …wants me to handle it like Dick Francis and describe the beating they gave me, a blow at a time. With the proper discipline, he maintains, I can run the scene to ten or twelve pages instead of getting it over and done with in seven words. The thing is, I don't want to spend that much time remembering it.”

In the third Chip Harrison book, Chip becomes an assistant to rotund detective Leo Haig in a send-up of the Nero Wolfe mysteries of Rex Stout.


THE CONSERVATORY – Phyllis Hastings, Pocket 77739, 1ST PB. (not shown)

NIGHTMARE IN EDEN – Miriam Asher, Pocket 77751, PBO.

“Sheila stared at the painting in the book again. It was impossible. Dizziness swelled inside her head. The painting showed a nude girl surrounded by shrouded figures, a candle at her head, a skull on her abdomen. The devil was naked at her feet. He was about to mount her. “Oh my God!” Sheila stood up, swayed. She was the girl on the altar.”

I know that Elaine continued to paint many uncredited gothic romance covers throughout the 60s and early 70s, and hopefully in time more of those can be listed. But with their Ravenswood Gothic series, Pocket Books started crediting their cover artists on the copyright page, so we can be sure these are Elaine.

THE TWO WORLDS OF PEGGY SCOTT – Dorothy Daniels, Pocket Books 77768. (not shown)

GHOST SONG – Dorothy Daniels, Pocket 77777, PBO. (not shown)


TALONS OF THE HAWK – Jeanne Hines, Dell 6131, PBO.

“He confessed to me he's actually a novelist, writes paperbacks, you know the sort – ‘SEX, LUST, GUNS, GORE' – and he's engaged to a girl who just cringes at the idea, so he's down here trying to write a significant novel with lots of history, so he can change his image.”

“Have you ever known a novelist to work without a typewriter?”


THE TOPLESS TULIP CAPER – Chip Harrison, Gold Medal P3274, PBO.

“He want you velly soon, chop chop,” Wong said.“Oh come off it, Wong,” I said. “Nobody talks like that. Not even you…Tell him I'll be down in a minute, will you?”
“Ah, so.”
“And Wong? Tell him he's a plick.”

The fourth and final Chip Harrison thriller is also a satire on Rex Stout, with Chip playing Archie Goodwin to Haig's Nero Wolfe. This time they solve the murder of beautiful topless dancer Cherry Bounce.

THE GUARDIAN OF WILLOW HOUSE – Dorothy Daniels, Pocket 68008, PBO.

“I suddenly made up my mind. It required more courage than I knew I possessed, but I had to do something other than sit here worrying about what had happened and fearing the footsteps that advanced and then died out, with nobody ever seen to cause them.”

Dorothy Daniels was a Gothic romance mainstay. Elaine captured the style as required, but also made it her own.




“Mary slipped easily into Louis's arms. He moved gracefully and was so strong. Mary leaned forward until she could feel Louis's breath on her forehead, his lips touching her hair lightly. She pressed against him and knew she didn't want this evening to end – ever.”

Gothic covers were all the same, with nowhere to go, and by 1977 Pocket was even reducing the artwork to a bare minimum like this cover. And then Elaine started something new at Warner Books.

I, CLEOPATRA - William Bostock, Warner 81-379, PBO.

“Caesar stood up and undressed, his toga falling to the floor, and then he climbed onto the bed beside me…my heart throbbed like a bird's.”

With this wraparound cover art Elaine Duillo started a long and fruitful association with Warner Books, first with novels and historicals but then increasingly more and more romance covers. On this first Warner only, her name on the copyright page is misspelled Elaine Duilla. (There are many Warner covers of the 80's and 90's that are outside our scope here.) A sprawling 750 pages.


THE FEBRUARY PLAN – Robert Duncan writing as James Hall Roberts, Ballantine 27170, 1 st thus.

“The general had mentioned a Tokyo contact, and he could very well be attached to the Embassy….Corman would have to get to Tokyo with the tape. But how to do it – that was the problem…he put the gun in his belt and slid back the door.”


GLENDRACO – Laura Black, Warner Books 81-528, 1 st PB.

“The library was as large as an Edinburgh kirk, and quite as solemn in atmosphere. Although there was no one close by, the Reverend Lancelot Barrow and I always talked in hushed tones, as though the ghosts of antique scholars would otherwise be distracted. Most of the books had been collected in the eighteenth century…. Inside all the books, book-plates were pasted, with a different coat of arms; this one involved chevrons and half-moons, with unicorns each side, and an Earl's coronet above. These were the arms of the Stewarts of Glendraco, Earls of Draco.”

GLENDRACO is set in Victorian Scotland, and the words “Gothic” and “romance” appear nowhere on its covers, although there is this blurb inside from Gothic Queen Dorothy Eden : “a very promising debut”. GLENDRACO was the first book from a new writer, Laura Black. Elaine would do several romance covers for Laura Black.

A LOVE SO BOLD – Kamada, Warner 81-638 (not shown)

BONDMASTER BREED – Richard Tresillian, Warner 81-890, PBO.

“Milly was unwilling to believe that what had happened with Hayes had actually taken place. Yet she was overjoyed that it had. She wanted to hear in her mind every laugh and every cry, to sense every caress and every clasp and to recall his unabashed grin and his resplendent nakedness.”


There are six books in this UK series of inter-racial romance between slave owners and slaves in the 18 th century. Warner Books published the first three as a trilogy in the US . Elaine did the cover for this, the third book in the series.

DUCHESS – Josephine Edgar, Warner Books 82-423, 1 st PB. (not shown)

SUMMERBLOOD – Anne Rudeen, Warner Books 82-535, PBO.

“She boarded her flight at O'Hare airport, at eight-thirty the airplane touched the runway of Charleston airport. Mab thought the very air seemed different… A departing flight was announced in a decidedly South Carolinian voice. Mab grinned. She felt like saying y'all herself. She was home.”


Detail of back cover shows more of Elaine's original cover painting.

SAVAGE IN SILK – Donna Comeaux Zide, Warner 82-702 (not shown)


THE GOLDEN GALATEA – Florence Stevenson, Jove 4338, PBO.

This cover is chronologically the earliest to appear on such websites as romancebookcovers.com. Most covers there are from the 80s, 90s and 00s. As such we count it as one of the cover paintings that rewrote the history of romance books. Elaine has the orginal wraparound cover art for THE GOLDEN GALATEA for sale for $2,200.00.


ACTS OF LOVE – Elia Kazan, Warner 85-553, 1 st PB.

From Elia Kazan: “To my readers, You know better than I how flooded the market is with love stories, increasingly explicit but essentially not different. I believed I had a story to tell which had not been told before…Ethel is a woman who, in her sex relations, actually does behave LIKE A MAN. She goes from lover to lover WITHOUT GUILT.”

THE ERRAND – Francis Casey Kerns, Warner 90-175, PBO.

“Inside the cabin Gene moved the gun uneasily from Brig to Chris and back again. Chris looked meaningfully at the skillet of grease she had put on to heat for frying chicken. He caught the look and moved his head almost imperceptibly.”


CARESS & CONQUER – Donna Comeaux Zide, Warner 82-949, PBO. (not shown)


SABRINA – Madeleine A. Polland, Dell 17633, 1 st PB.

“By the time Mary Rose and Dermot drove away into the limpid evening among a shower of tears and rose petals, Brin had taken off her wreath and the careful curls created by Teresa in the morning fell in a tawny tangle round her shoulders.”

Romantic historical fiction set in revolutionary Ireland .

BRIDE OF FURY – Rachel Cosgrove Payes, Playboy Press 16592, PBO.

““Where is your hat, Derek?”, Harry said. Kate caught up Derek's bowler and gave it to him. “Oh, you're not wearing your deerstalker hat? Tired of imitating Conan Doyle's hero? Now there's an idea for the penny dreadful paper…get that fictional detective – Holmes? – to find the mad killer of Whitechapel.””

Copyright by Rachel Cosgrove Payes and Ron Goulart. Cover illustration copyright 1979 by Elaine Duillo. Dedicated to Jack the Bodice Ripper. Our wild and passionate Kate Kingsley wants Harry but is forced to marry his older brother, a doctor she begins to suspect is also known as Jack the Ripper.


CARVER'S KINGDOM – Frederick Nolan, Warner 81-201, 1 st revised ed.

“Ward introduced him to a dour young Scot named Carnegie who had worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad until the end of the war….”And you're putting all your money into steel?” Ezra asked, “You don't consider that risky?”

“Aye, it's a risk”, Andrew Carnegie said, stroking his whiskers, “but it's a calculated one. You see, Mr. Carver, I believe a man can safely put all his eggs into one basket – as long as he keeps a damned close eye on the basket!””

Just before she became “the Queen of Romance”, Elaine was the Queen of historicals.

Other 1980 Warner Books not shown here include:
NO GENTLE LOVE - Brandewyne

From here on out the romance publishers kept her very busy, but that's another story….

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