Archive for the Loren Beauchamp Category

Nurse Carolyn by Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg), Midwood #65, 1960, 1963

Posted in Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Beauchamp - Nurse

The last of Robert Silverberg’s Loren Beauchamp books here, I have read and reviewed them all; all were for Midwood except one, The Wife Traders, which was for Boudoir Books and was a truncated version of David Challon’s Suburban Sin Club, discussed here.

Nurse Carolyn is a somewhat dark tale of a naive young nurse in white, Carolyn Wright, taken down the dark path of wealth and S/M.  The first edition, above, has one of Paul Rader’s best art; Rader also did the cover for the second edition, which is less striking but still Rader.

Beauchamp - Nurse CarolynWe first meet Carolyn as a quasi-sexually liberated nurse at Netherlands Hospital, engaged to a young go-getter intern named Dick. (“I love Dick” obviously double-entendre when she says it.)

For two days she took care of a diabetic and multi-millionaire, Cornelias Baird.  He has requested her to be his private nurse at his Long Island estate, at $125 week and free room and board.  For the late 50s, which this is set, that was pretty good wages for an R.N.  The hospital hates to see her go — they have a nurse shortage — but Baird is on the Board of Directors, his family has given gifts to the hospital since its inception, and Baird has suggested he would build a new wing for taking Carolyn away.

To Carolyn, this is only a five-month job where she can save the  money to help with her eventual wedding to Dick.  She does not suspect anything nefarious–Mr. Baird is in his late 50s, and although handsome and tall, he is also sickly and very thin (six-foot-five and 160 lbs).  He seems very old-world and gentlemanly, but behind that mask is a perverted sadist at heart.

He has 12 house staff, several pretty young women in their late teens-20s as “maids.”  One pulls her aside and tells Carolyn to run away fast before it’s too late, before she becomes a sexual slave of depravity like they all are.  Carolyn doesn’t believe it…

The weird thing, Baird looks like an older version of her first love, four years ago when she started out as a nurse, a young rich boy who won her heart and virginity, only to find out he was using her for sex as he was engaged to a high society debutante, marrying her:  Carolyn discovered this truth in the paper.  For Baird, Carolyn is the spitting image of his long dead first wife from the roaring 20s — Carolyn herself is shocked to see how much she resembles the portraits on the wall of his old wife.

One day, Baird talks her into stripping into her undies to play hand ball; one night, he talks her into drinking champagne on the 30th anniversary of his wedding; she gets drunk and he pretends she is his long dead wife and she pretends he is the young man who broke her heart…in a dark and sad moment, they have drunken sex, caught in their own depraved sin fantasies…

There is something seductive about Baird…as much as she tries to tell him no, or quit, his soothing voice hypnotizes her, as it does to the other women on staff, so they all do his bidding to please his sexual needs, such as putting on S/M shows (“carnivals” he calls them) with the maids being whipped then fucked by the limo driver/aide  (a big black guy) and the butler (a genteel man).

Soon, Carolyn forgets Dick and falls in love with Baird, despite his age and health.  Is it his millions, the diamonds and pearls he lavishes on her, the promise of inheriting  his vast fortune if she marries him?  She can put up with his sex shows, a voyeur fetish  he picked up from France in the 1920s; she can watch, but she does not want to participate.  When he demands she put on a lesbian show for him, with one of the other staff women, she refuses, and he gets mad and threatens to fire her — forget his love, he has to have what he demands, and he is not used to being told no.

Is this an erotic play on the nurse genre?  I haven’t read any nurse books. I remember my grandmother had a few Avalon hardback nurse novels on her shelf and looking at them when I was a teenager and finding them sappy and romantically silly, books for girls and women with nurse fantasies in the General Hospital sense.  There was a time when nurse novels were a big thing (1940s-70s) — writers like Peggy Gaddis wrote scores of them, like  Nurse Ellen, as well as more racier Beacon titles like Dr. Prescott’s Secret.

nurse ellenGaddis - Dr. Prescott's Secret

The nurse genre may have a recent infusion of life on TV, with the success of Nurse Jackie on Showtime and Mercy on NBC, about a group of nurses and their loves and woes (perhaps akin to The Young Nurses by Harry Whittington?).

Whittington - Young Nurses

The ending to Nurse Carolyn is probably far more darker than the typical nurse and doctor novels. This one ends in tragedy and blood and depraved emotions.

A fairly good read, on a scale of 1-10 of all Silverberg’s Beauchamps, I would give it an 8.  The best of the Loren Beauchamp novels are, by far, Connie and Meg (both bestsellers for Midwood), then Love Nest (a dark tale of womanizing), Wayward Wife (reprint of Thirst for Love by Mark Ryan), Unwilling Sinner (reprint of Twisted Love by Ryan) — two books Slverberg said he was not paid for by Bedstand, so re-sold to Midwood with slight changes in character names, which was also the case with Campus Sex Club, reprint of Campus Love Club by David Challon (in a few days, I will talk about Lawrence Block/Andrew Shaw’s plagaraism of that book with College for Sinners). A Fire Within was okay; And When She was Bad somewhat typical…

While Sin on Wheels has another great cover by Rader, and is hard to find, I thought the story was disappointing, as reviewed here.

Nurse Carolyn was also reprinted, with minor changes, in 1967 by Cornith/Greenleaf’s Companion  series, as Registered Nympho, under the Don Elliott pen name, with a cover that might be closer to the story than the two Midwoods, although Carolyn is not exactly a “nympho” per se.

Elliott - Registered Nympho

Pulp Nurses! Sleazecore Nurses! Nympho and naughty nurses! Nurses in lust and love and sin!

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Beauchamp - Nurse CarolynBeauchamp - Nurse

Johnson -  Nympho Nurse

nurse dude ranch

nurse ellen

Nympho Nurse

Whittington - Young Nurses

Hitt - Man's Nurse

nurse - palm beach

Nurse Luxury

Nurse Pirate

Robert Silverberg’s Lesbian Novels: Sin Girls by Marlene Longman, Diary of a Dyke by Don Elliott, and Twilight Women by L.T. Woodward, M.D.

Posted in Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sin Girls

Sin Girls is Nightstand #1514, the 13th book William Hamling published in early 1960, written by Robert Silbverberg. Seems Hamling wanted a female pen name.  The second Marlene Longman, however, Lesbian Love, was penned by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and tends to be pricey among colletors, up to $200 as seen here.

Lesbian Love - Longman

Harlan Ellison wrote the purple prose cover copy, and I am sure he had a laugh when composing this:

This is the most powerful novel you will ever read on the subject [lesbian desire], written by a woman who is, hersefl, A TORMENTED LESBIAN!

Robert Silverberg: tormented lesbian!! At the Silverberg Yahoo Fan Group,  Silverberg himself commented: “That blrub is incorrect…I was the happiest of lesbians.”

Sin Girls is the story of Leslie — nice pun there, and one woman says, “Hey, that’s a man’s name!”  It opens with Leslie awakened by a nightmare she has every night, remembering the man who raped her when she was a teenager, taking her virginity violently.  She is in bed with a one-night stand in a hotel that caters to lesbians looking for intimate encounters.  In the morning, the other woman says how much fun she had and hopes they will hook up again, but Leslie informs her that she only has one-nighters: no emotional entanglements, no names if she can help it.

Leslie is cold-hearted, seeking only physical relief. It’s a front.  We find out she was not always that way; she has become distant and aloof  from a scarred heart broken too many times.  First, there was the rape, and her boyfriend’s not wanting anything to do with her after (similar to the set-up of Connie by Silverberg’s Loren Beachamp). The rape left her afraid of men, so she turns to women — the common lesbian element (along with a bad loveless marriage and incest) in lesbian pulp fiction by men, sometimes women (March Hastings).

Her first serious lesbian affair is with Laura, a woman 10 years her senior. They live together in what seems like dyke bliss.  Then Leslie has an affair with another young lesbian in Laura’s gay social cirle (with a lot of bull dykes and beanik queers), they get caught, and Leslie gets tossed out on the street.

She later moves in with three teenage girls who dress in leather jackets and jeans.  They have orgies every night, doing round-robin pussy eating, etc. (although not decribed as crudely, of course).  She finds the girls too cruel and sadistic to other people and leaves.  She has a series of short flings, the crosses paths with an older woman who runs an escort agency that caters to rich lesbian women.  Leslie is a gay call for a year, traveling all over the world with herisess and widowed dykes.

While in the Caribbean with a woman who likes to be whipped and flogged before sex, Leslie meets a young college football hero on vacation and falls in love.  She is “weary” of lesbian sex and wants something different.  She denounces her gayness and goes straight, intending on marriage, ending thus:

All that mattered was that the long nightmare was over, that she lay with a man and that with each move of his body he brought her closer to fulfillment, and that she was forgiven and that the bright sun  now rising overthe Caribbean heralded a bright new day, a brand new life just beginning… (p. 191)

This was typical of lesbian fiction — in order to not face obscenity charges, lesbianism was treated as a deviant disease, and the lesbian could not find happiness in the end with a same-sex partner — she had to either come to a horrible conclusion for her unnatural sins or repent her evil ways and find truth and beauty in the arms of an Alpha Male with a nivce big hard dick that provides “fulfillment.”  The nightmare here is Leslie’s years of lesbiana, and she is “forgiven” of such horrors by going to a man for salvation.

This also happens in Silverberg’s other lesbian novel from 1959, Twisted Loves by Mark Ryan, that I previously discussed.

Let us not cry homophobia today — this was a market demand and condition of the times, when being gay was “strange” (hence “queer” later on), referred to as “twilight women” and “the third sex” engaging in “the third theme” or walking down “the 3rd street.”

There were some other Silverberg lesbiana tales from Cornith/Greenleaf, like Flesh Boarder and The Initiates, with lesbian encounters in many other books, like Party Girl, Fires Within, Wayward Widow, etc.  Silverberg’s lesbians always look the same: mannish,smal breasts, short dark hair.  In two books, the same dyke shows up who writes children’s books as a profession.

Flesh Boarder

There is also Diary of a Dyke, a 1966 title from Cornith’s Pleasure Reader series, from Phenix Publications, one of the many shell companies Hamling used to keep the feds scrambling. (Sorry, no cover scan).  Diary of a Dyke is a journal over 3 months as a woman who likes sex with girls tries to denounce her gayness by sleeping with a lot of men, but she still prefers girls.  It’s a funny book, and at first I did not think Silverberg wrote it — in “My Life as a Pornographer,” he states he stopped writing softcore sleaze in 1964-5, yet there are many 1966-7 Don Elliots, either books that were in a pipeline or Silverberg just stopped his two-novels a month output but still penned the cccasional smut book for money or a need to whip one out.  Silberberg says no other writer used the Don Elliott name the way others did with J.X. Williams, Andrew Shaw, and Don Holliday.

Woodward - twilight WomenThere is also the bogus case study “non-fiction” book Twilight Women by L.T. Woodward, M.D., a pseudonym Silverberg used for a dozen books from Monarch Books, Lancer, and Belmont.  This one, like the other Woowards, is really a collection of short stories made to look like a doctr’s case histories of patients he has treated — in this case, women who are lesbians and need to be cured.  Each story delves into the why and how each woman went gay, or is bi.

I plan to devote a long blog, and a whole acadmeic essay, on the many faux sexology books published in the 60s, riding the tail of the success of the Kisney and Masters and Johnsons Reports, quetsioning the ethics of such, and whether or not such presentations of fiction as fact was “dangerous” or irresponsible — but hey, where there is a market…

…plus, I have done the same with my Dr. Mundinger-Klow titles for Olympia Press, so, er. um…..!

I have a huge stack of lesbian sleaze here that I will blog about over the next two months — Lawrence Block published a lot of lesbiana as Sheldon Lord, Dr. Benjamin Morse, Lesley Evams and Jill Emerson (his first sale was a lesbian book to Beacon in 1958, and many of his Midwoods had lesbian themes).  And I have lez books by real gay women like Randy Salem, March Hastings, Vin Packer, as well as William Coons’ pen name, Barbara Brooks.

Rader - Gay Scene

Warm and Willing

BUTCH

Hastings - 3rd Theme

Hastings - Heat of the Day

Ellis - 3 of a Kind

Hastings - Three Women

SATAN LESBIAN

Hired Lover by Fred Martin (Orrie Hitt), Midwood #13

Posted in crime noir, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

midwood - hired lover

Accoridng to Lynn Munroe’s richly informative article on Midwood’s beginnings:

Amazingly, just 5 men wrote almost all of the first 40 numbered Midwoods. This hard-working group (Beauchamp, Lord, Marshall, Orrie Hitt and Don Holliday) carried and established Midwood until [Harry] Shorten was able to build his own stable of regulars –- names like March Hastings, Dallas Mayo, Kimberly Kemp, Joan Ellis, Jason Hytes and Sloane Britain.

Beauchamp was, of course, Robert Silverberg, Lord was Lawrence Block, Marshall was Donad Westlake, Holliday was Hal Drenser, and Orrie Hitt was himself.

Hired Lover is Midwood 13, published in 1959, although there are some early un-numbered Midwoods. Fred Martin was a one shot name for Midwood (and seems to have written one for the short-lived Magnet Books), and the style is easily identifiable: this is an Orrie Hitt book.  You can’t mistake Hitt for anyone else: the set-up, the dialogue, pacing, wrap-up.  Silverberg also did an early one shot, Immoral Wife by Gordon Mitchell (Midwod #11), that I discussed in this blog a while ago.

The question is: why these one-shot names?  Was it Midwood’s idea, to look like they had more than the same writers, or Scott Meredith’s, since the mauscripts came from the agency blinded as to the true writer’s identity. After all, Silverberg did an early Midwood, #7, Love Nest by Loren Beauchamp (see my review), and Beauchamp was his continued name for a dozen more titles from 1960-1963.

Munroe also notes:

Although nobody at Midwood knew it then, most of the books were by the same writers turning out the Nightstands. For example, Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg) would become Don Elliott a year later at Nightstand, Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) would become Andrew Shaw. Some of the writers, like Alan Marshall and Clyde Allison and Al James, used the same name for both.

Midwood - Call Me MistressI have another early, un-numbered Midwood, Call Me Mistress by Tomlin Rede, and I wonder who wrote this one.  I haven’t read it yet but on quick glance, the style seems like early Westlake/Alan Marshall.

Call Me Mistress is a crime noir set in Hollywood and among syndicate crime lords, wuth a dash of lesbiana tossed in.  I will be getting to this book soon after I do my reading stint of campus sex books and lesbian titles.

Back to Hired Lover — yes, one of many Orrie Hitt’s novels but the name is not listed among Hitt’s pen names (Nicky Weaver, Kay Addams).  I Feldspar - Squeeze Playhave two Kozy Books by one “Walter Feldspar” (Loose Women and Squeeze Play) that look like they may be Hitts (there’s also a Beacon Hitt book called Loose Women) — Feldspar only penned two books, and for Kozy, and Hitt wrote many for Kozy as himself, Weaver, and Roger Normandie…like Lawrence Block and Robert Silverberg and others, there are pen names used that are not always associated with these writers, either overlooked by bibliographers or not admitted to by the writer (or remembered).

Hitt - Loose Women

Hired Lover is a first-person tough guy story — Mike has left Los Angeles after a bad incident and is in Chicago, where he has ties.  He’s working as a driving instructor when one day a gorgeous dame in her mid-20s, Kitty, is his student…she takes him to her mansion, gives him booze and fucks him.  She’s married to a rich old man — short fat,bald and ugly — whom she met when she was a nurse and he was in the hospital in diabetic shock.

As luck would have it, the rich man’s chaueffer just quit and he needs a new driver. Kitty suggests her hubby hire Mike — he can live in the apartment above the garage, where she can visit him for illict sin and lust.

While Kitty and hubby are away on a trip, Mike looks up an old business buddy who runs a stripper club.  One of the strippers has her sister, Ruth, with her — new in town, fresh from Ohio farmland, 18, a virgin, and ignorant of the big bad ol’ world of strippers, whores, booze and crime that her sister is involved with.  Mike manages to talk her out of going down that road — he’s no hero, since he also gets her drunk and takes her virginity, being 10 years older than the girl.

Right off, we know that Mike will end up with Ruth as his wife in the end.  This is typical of Hitt’s novels, mostly for Beacon — similar to the set-up of The Promoter, that I talked about last week.

(An aside: Beacon and Softcover seemed to require, as with lesbian novels, that the hero or heroine redeem and depent tgheir sinful ways by book’s end, married and in the arms of someone good, man or woman.  This does not seem to be the case with Hitt’s titles for Sabre and Novel Books — in fact, Novel gave Hitt carte blance to “take the gloves off” and write what he wanted, free of market and genre constraints.  I will be talking about a few of those in the near future.)

The set-up for Hired Lover isn’t new in sleazecore: the wife convinces the lover that they have to murder the old rich husband so they can be together and get rich.  That never works out, of course, and the wayward wife gets hers in the end — in this case, she has set up Mike in cahoots with the head butler/valet of the mansion. And the hero repents and finds love in the arms of a younger, less gutter-drivem woman, in this and other Hitts.  Mike, on the run from the set-up murder, is aided by young Ruth.  The cops wind up arresting the wife and the valet, but Mike is still guilty for the murder, and had helped plan it.  He married Ruth, but is dying from tetnus due to a untreated gun-shot wound.  The novel ends with Mike on his deathbed, confessing the murder to a Catholic priest, and holding his young wife’s hand, whom he has impregnanted so she will have something of his left.  It’s a sad ending, in a way.

Hired Lover is a great read, however, and if you dig Orrie Hitt, you will dig this — and it’s too bad that Hitt fans may miss this one,  so this blog/review will serve as a pointer for anyone doing research on Hitt.

Now that I am an Orrie Hitt fan  (where was he all my life?), and have bought several dozen books now, expect much discussion of his work here.

I have also found another promising sleazecore writer, Brain Black, who wrote a handful of Beacons, pen names for Western pukp writer Robert Trimnell. The books look good on first glance:

Black --Passionate Prof

Beacon - Unfaithfuil

Black 0 Jeanie

April North by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) Softcover Library, 1961

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lord - April North

Like “Andrew Shaw,” Sheldon Lord was an early pen name shared by mystery/crime authors Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake, later used by others, for Beacon, Softcover Lib., and a couple Midwoods.

April North is Lawrence Block — his early style is easily identfiable, it’s set in midwest Antrim, Ohio, not far from his alma mater, Antioch College (featured in many Shaw Nightstands).  There’s also the mention of a film, The Sound of Distant Drums, some sort of in-joke connection found in all Shaw novels and others.

April North is 17, a senior in high school, and a good girl from a good, Christain family.  She has been “going steady” with a football/baseball jock, Duncan, and believes he loves her and intends to marry her — thus, one night, she “goes all the the way” and loses her virginity to the boy.  Like many a naive girl in these books, she thinks this is a contract for marriage.

Now that she has “done the dirty,” Duncan wants nothing to do with her.  She is not wife material and tells all his buddies she’s a tramp.  Within a week, all the boys in her class are calling up for dates, and Duncan breaks up with her.  She has sex with another boy in a field — as shown in the nifty splendor in the grass cover art — because she is dazed at her new reputation, and word gets “around” in the small town that se’s easy.

Knowing her rep is ruined forever, she withdraws her savings ($500) and decides to run away to New York City.

I thought this was going to be like Loren Beauchamp’s Connie — she would become a call girl in NY as a revenge against the men who hurt her.  April seems a lot like Silverberg’s Connie.  But before April can catch the NYC-bound bus, she crosses paths with Craig, a 27-year-old ladies man in a Mercedies 300-SL, who has inherited a fortune from his dead parents.  Craig convinces her to stay, to shun those who mock her, and he will teach her to be a sexually wise, wordly woman.

She falls in love, of course, and has visions of wedding bells with this lover-man, until she attends one of his orgies.  She ignores the rumors she has heard that he seduces young girls and degrades them — she believes she is different and that he loves her.  She discovers that all his rich, literary, and “world weary” friends are all alcoholics, drug addicts, and lost as anyone — and that Craig, despite his wealth and car and looks, is at heart empty and a loser.  To keep her from going home and to stay with him, Craig has mailed secret photos of her having sex with him, an a drunken lesbain encounter, so her parents will disown her.

Trying to escape Craig, she is picked up by her ex-, Duncan, in the rain.  She thinks he will help her get her to NY but leads her to a barn where he has arranged for 20 boys in town to come and have sex with her in a gang bang, $5 a piece.  “Work for the money you need for New York,” he tells her.

The second boy she had sex with, Bill, comes to her rescue and they run away and live happily ever after.

The book fell apart about 75% the way in, and rushed to a sappy romantic ending, as if Block was closing in on his reqyured 50K words and he needed to wrap up.  Otherwise, a fast-paced novel with good characters, and an interesting early-era Block novel.

Here is the cover for the UK editi0n:

Lord - April North UK

Suburban Sin Club by David Challon and The Wife Traders by Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg)

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Challon - Suburban Sin Club

Beauchamp - Wife Traders

Suburban Sin Club by Silverberg pen name David Challon was published in 1959 by Bedside Books, and reprinted in truncated form as The Wife Traders in 1962 by Boudoir Books, as a Loren Beauchamp novel.

Suburban Sin Club is 192 pages and Wife Traders 160, in a smaller digest form and larger type, with about 15,000 words edited out.  The edit seems to be have done for budget reasons, to get the book down to 160 pages.

The other Boudoirs I have seen are 144-160 pages, small trim in Nightstand-like digests.  Boudoir was a short lived imprint (1962-64) from Imperial Publishing, in Los Angeles, from American Art Enterprises, a company that issued out thousands of books in the 60s under many imprints, most of them reprints from a decade earlier.

The edits in Wife Traders mostly removes 2-3 pages from the end of chapters in Suburban, and taking out a lot of banter that is really padding for Silverberg to meet his page quota.

Raplh and Betty Holland are in their early 30s and have moved to the Long Island suburbs to get out of Manhattan.  Ralph works in publishing. They have two boys.  They move into an apartment/condo complex, Court K.  Seems Court K is a swingers haven, where each Saturday the denizens engage in the pick-a-key, get-that-wife game.

The two go for it.  They seem to be a little too easy in trying out the swinger lifestyle…and then Betty gets pregnant, and the father could be any one of eight men she has been sleeping with.

A morality tales — as with 1950s wages of sin, it all culminates in murder, suicide, tragedy, morals charges, and scandal.

A fun read.

Immoral Wife/Henry’s Wife by Gordon Mitchell (Robert Silverberg Midwood Books)

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Midbook Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Rader - Immoral Wife

Mitchell -- Henry's Wife

This novel was originally published as Immoral Wife (Midwood 11) and then Henry’s Wife reprinted — keeping the same Paul Rader Cover.

Robert Silverberg only used the Gordon Mitchell pen name once, for this one, and it’s unknown why.  Perhaps because he had not yet established the Loren Beauchamp pen name there, with Love Nest, which was an unnumbered early Midwood.  At the time, Midwood was getting its books from the Scott Meredith Agency and had no idea that Loren Beauchamp and Gordon Mitchell were the same person, or that the same person was also Don Elliott at Nightsand and David Challon/Mark Ryan at Bedstand/Bedtime.

This is more a crime noir/suspense yarn than a sex book — there’s sex, but less so than other Midwoods or Beauchamps/Elliotts; there is more sexual tension, calling to mind a good James M. Cain novel, like Postman Always Rings Twice or Sinful Woman.

The setting is a small New Engalnd town, so small everyone knows everyone’s busienss and phone oprators listen to calls for giossip — any gossipy news is spread fast.  Hollister has returned to the small town after inheriting his parents’ home; he has been living in New York with his wife, Katherine, and their two children.  He met Katherine the day he came back from Korea, while in New York.

All the married women in town are ex-girlfriends of his, or he dated them…except for Jean, who is ten years younger (27) and lives nextdoor, married to Henry, a man twice her age.

Jean has been teasing and flaunting Hollister with her body, un til he can take it no more and cheats on his wife.  They have an affair all summer. Katherine finds out. He tries to call it off with Jean but Jean does not want to it to end — in fact, she wants him to leave his wife, she’ll leave Henry, and they can move to Los Angeles and have babies.  She wants children — he older husband is shooting blanks, and Hollister is obviously virile since he has sired two kids.

Hollister realizes that Jean is a nut-case and wants nothing of her. To get back at him, she claims he raped her, and Hollister becomes persona non grata in the small town community.

Henry finds out the truth: that his wife in an unfaithful floozy.  In front iof Hollister’s eyes, he shoots her with a .22 several times, then kills himself.

This was a good page turner, another worthy of reprinting, and I could see it as a good movie (maybe I will adapt some day). It is far better than some of the disappointing Beauchamps.

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