The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer (Crest Book #238, 1958)
Gil Brewer – another self-destructive writer of interesting crime and sleaze novels that, like William Knoles, Elaine Williams, and countless others, drank himself to death, and is nearly forgotten except by crime noir, vintage paperback, and paperback history buffs.
Brewer, like Harry Whittington, lived in Florida and set most of his novels there. The Veneful Virgin is another one of those “let’s kill the ruch old man and take his money and I’ll fuck you forever, darling” novels with a wayward beauty and a dizzy heel. This one has a twist, of sorts — the girl is the step-daughter of the rich old dying man, instead of the wife.
Jack is a TV repairman in his 20s. He may be too good-looking for his own good, as women flock to him — an ex-girlfriend, Grace, he can’t get rid of, an 18-year-old girl desperate for a new life, Shirley, and her lonely married neighbor.
Jack pays a visit for TV and intercom installations to a house and is set by auburn-haired bombshell Shirley, who takes care of her nearly invalid step-father, who has nearly $400,000 in the bank. Shirley seduces Jack and tells him how much she wants out, needs out, and there’s money…Jack has no idea she’s a virgin when he takes her.
The two immediately plot the murder. To make things complicated, the woman next door has the hots for him and won’t leave him alone; her husband has been away to Alaska and she’s lonely. And Jack’s possessive ex-, Grace, keeps showing up at the wrong place, wrong times.
The neighbor gets wind of the plot and Shirley kills the woman, and then they kill the step-father. Jack disposes of the woman’s body into a bass lake.
All along, it’s hard to think how stupid Jack is, easily whipped by teen pussy into doing this. That’s all that’s on his mind: her hot young body, plus the money she’s worth, and the new life both will give him…but many of these stories end up in a double-cross, right? Even Jack wonders if she’s playing him. But she’s not…she really is in love with Jack, until she wonders if he loves the money more than her.
People suspect, the cops come around…Jack and Shirley skip town with a bag full of cash, followed by his crazy ex and — yep, things just go to shit for poor Jack. Our noir guys just never get away with the cash, the girl, and murder — they always have to meet tragic ends…
This is a fast-paced read — Brewe wrote it in a matter of days, like he did many of his best, and the writing doesn’t suffer, and we feel that dizzy sense of craziness.
I look forward to readng more Brewer books.
Hard Case Crime has also reprinted this.