Mardi by Herbert Roberts (Robert Carney), Softcover Library, 1966


Mardi is written  by Herbert Roberts, pen name for Robert Carney, who wrote the wonderful Anyting Goes (1961), that I raved about and recommended to Black Mask Books to reprint.

I was expecting too much.  Mardi is hard-boiled and fast-paced, but essentually the same story as Anything Goes…instead set in the sleazy world of used car sales, it’s set in the sleazy world of television production. Both are set in Los Angeles.

Larry is a twenty-something exec assistant to fat, old rich Dave, the TV exec — Larry has had a past fling, now renewed, with Dave’s daughter, and is sleeping with Mardi, the new 19 year old wife of 50 year old Dave.  Carney seems to be obsessed with disgusting old rich men marrying young women.  Like Anything Goes, Mardi wants Larry to kill Dave so she will inherit the fortune and they can be together.

The cover says: “The fascinating story of a Lolita — several years later.”  She’s like the teenage sex slut in David Rabe’s Hurlyburly, with a little more finesse, but the same: using her body for older men in the entertianment biz.

I’m still not sure if Carney write any other novels under his name or Roberts. Sin-a-Rama lists him in the back with pen names, mainly because it reprinted the Anything cover for its cover.  I am keeping my eye out for any Carney/Roberts books — if anyone knows of any other books, do tell.

Snappy dialogue and depraved couplings but lacking the same character depth as Anything Goes — we don’t really know what makes Larry trick, and doesn’t go on a jorueny of self doscovery via his sexual antics.  Then again, this is a novel about the television content makers of the 1960s, so can there be depth to these soulless, disaffected people who live only for money and power?

This novel was published the year I was born…that is something to cook my noodle alone.

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