Archive for the Orrie Hitt Category
I know I have nbeen posting as regularly as I used to. Some personal and professional matters (having a baby, father’s death, book deadlines, etc) have kept me busy, but I hope to get back t the vintage swing of tings soon.
For instance, I have recently found and purchased two “holy grails” of difficul-to-find and priecey books if you do: Gutter Girl by Andrew SHaw (yes, it is Block) and Panda Bear Passion by Orrie Hitt. These will be the new postings soon…
This one, like many other Hitt books (Dirt Farm, Two of a Kind, Violent Sinners, Naked Flesh) is set on a big farm run by a sadistic old man married to a younger woman.
The usual Hitt motifs are present — a big and tall hero jumbling three women and a plot to murder the owner of the farm to get his wife and daughter. Eddie, the hero, works mostly as a trapper, getting all the pests that run rampant on the land: snapping turtles, foxes, badgers, racoons…he actually feels bad for killing these creatures, but he needs the job.
The three women are:
Joan, the domestic, who is an old girlfriend and he’s still sleeping with her. She is in the process of divorcing her husband whose in prison and then wants to marry Eddie.
Kitty, or Mrs. Jennings, married to an old man in a wheelchair and hot to trot.
Carole, Kitty’s teenage daughter, who likes to hang out at nudist camps.
Carole seduces Eddie into seducing her mom so Eddie will testify in court that Kitty was unfaithful, on grounds for divorce; Carole will pay Eddie $5K for this.
Kitty wants Eddie to set a trap that her husband will accidentally stumble into and die. She promises a good chunk of the land and bank accounts, worth millions.
He only agrees because both women say they will claim he raped them and he’ll lose his job.
Despite these repeats material from other books, and the James Cain territory, Untamed Lust is well-written and a speedy, good read.
This a fairly rare, hard-to-locate Hitt. Like Panda Bear Passion and Cabin Fever, we have looked high and low for this title; the unstoppable kind Lynn Munroe found one for us, and we were delighted with the tawdry cover.
Torrid Cheat is a curiously uneven novel from Hitt, and obviously there were deep editorial cuts: the book is a slender 128 pages, maybe 40,000 words. It has 11 chapters, unlike Hitt’s usual 13-14 chapters and 50-60,000 words. About 3/4th into the story, we can tell there was a 10-15K word chunk sliced out by the red pen, making the jump uneven.
Rare, but alas not a remarkable story from Hitt, with a lot of his usual tropes: the younger woman marrying an older man with some money and property, and her scheme to kill him and get her hands on it. Usually, these Hitt femme fatales find a guy to be the patsy; in this case, she’s the killer and the guy figures out her murder plot.
The protagonist is Frenchie, a 19-year-old regular guy who works in a bottle factory during the work week and on the weekends, a p/t job at a gas station owned by a 50-year-old ,man, Pops. He dates Pop’s 18-year-old daughter, Betty. Betty gets pregnant and they marry.
Pop’s recently re-married to a sultry redhead who is 28 named Bertha. On his wedding day, Frenchie gets seduced by Bertha and they carry on the affair for months.
One day Bertha and Pops go to the lake for a swim and he drowns. The whole thing seems suspicious. Yeah, his wife killed him, that much is obvious.
An okay read.
A good book for any collection as a rare item and a cool GGA cover.
All of the prolific softcore writers have a “suburban sins” type book, probably at the direction of the publisher since the dirty infidelities of those suburbanites, ever since Payton Place, was (and still is, look at Desperate Housewives) a hot topic.
Orrie Hitt wrote half a dozen with suburban in the title, and has a few others that are suburban-esque, like his Kay Addams’ novel, Lucy, and Twisted Sinners.
The first in line: Suburban Wife, and early 1958 title with a nifty Beacon template cover. This tale tells the yarn of Millicent Ford, a young desperate housewife whose husband, Andy, works in Manhattan long hours, sometimes weekends, and there are business trips. A neighbor, Bill Ramsey, is married to Grace, a career woman who is also away a lot. Bill and Millicent often take the same train and get to talking. They are both drinkers. They get together and drink. They start having an affair.
Millicent feels quite a bit of guilt until she discovers that Andy and Grace are often on business trips in the same cities, in the same motels…Bill has known all along that Grace has been unfaithful. So what they are doing ins’t so “sinful” after all. When Andy catches them, doing the hypocritical yelling, he’s cut down when Millicent informs him that she knows about Grace–so where the hell does he get off?
The story is also about alcoholism, as Millicent sinks deeper and deepers into needing a bottle of rye or whuskey for comfort, drinking recklessly all day and going into bars, which often leads to trysts, like one she has with an insurance agent who gets possessive of her after a one-nighter.
To stave off suburban boredom, Millicent often heads charity drives; she just did a successful one for the Red Cross, “borrowing” some of the collected money when she needs to, always putting it back though. She is approached by a local wealthy philanthropist who asks her to exec man a drive to build a rec center for the local youth, a place to keep them from joining gangs, doing robberies and rapes and other juvie crimes. It’ll be a lot of money to handle, plus she will be paid a salary, rather than this being a volunteer effort.
The first problem is that money, mixed with her drinking, mixed with the impending divorce and the end of Andy’s money for her lax time, like drinking, It is inevitable that she will embezzle or misuse the funds, a common set-up in Hitt’s books.
She tries asking for money from guys she sleeps with but that doesn’t pan out the way she hoped.
Enter the crime element and a murder, makes for a good read.
An excellent Hitt novel from early in his career — in 1958, he published, with Beacon,a number of sleazecore gams: Pushover, Sucker, Sheba, The Promoters, Wayward Girl, and this one. (Others, like Hot Cargo, which seemed to be composed with a co-writer, were not as good.)
Unfaithful Wives is a multi-character story. At first, we wondered if this was an actual Hitt-penned book, perhaps a collaboration, because it has 26 short chapters rather than Hitt’s usual 13-14 5,000-word chapters. The writing style is pure Hitt, however.
The tone reminded us of a famous book about the same era and problems, Revolution Road — the failure of the American Dream in the 1950s, the ruse that marriage leads to happiness, that mundane work trumps chasing your dream. All the characters in this dark novel are sour, depressed, lost and in pain for dreams never realized.
Fred is a regional grocery sales rep who hates the woman he’s married to, Rita. He has affairs. One woman, Sharon, that he just left is later murdered and the police finger him for it. Rita wants to run away with the man she is having an affair with, Norman, a penniless jazz musician. Rita takes out the $8,000 from the bank her husband was saving and talks Norman into running away with her, but he dupes her and takes the eight grand to run away with the woman he’s in love with, June, and June has her own agenda. An angry young man, pissed that the world never works in his favor, killed Sharon, because he sees her as a worthless slut. Two other women come into Fred’s sphere: Della, a sexy act singer in a hotel bar that gets duped by a man who claims he can take her to Hollywood and be on TV, and June, the widow of an old army friend of Fred’s…meanwhile, Rita finds a way to get him pinned for the murder and get back at Norman for deserting her, only to meet her own karmic end…
The back cover states: “One slut deserves another.” A bit misleading, or all the characters sluts? There’s only one unfaithful wife here.
Like all multi-character narratives, we never spend enough time with any one character to get to know them or care for them, or hate them, so the story relies on choices made by one that can affect all.
A bit different from Hitt’s usual type of books, this makes for a refreshing read of the dead pulp author.