“Dammit — Don’t Touch My Broad!” by Hank Walters (Novel Books, 1960)
A book with such a title, and such a cool cover, how could I resist?
Plus, it’s from Novel Books, so I knew had to be tough-guy noir, and it is.
Ever since Chandler’s The Big Sleep, the nude photos of a drugged/drunk wayward young girl have often been the plot impetus for many a noir, including several Orrie Hitt books. Such is the case here.
The narrator of Dammit—Don’t Touch My Broad! is Pete, some kind of writer as he mentions writing and publishing books and other things. He is called in by Governor Joe Caldwell, an old friend — Joe is the G9vernor of some sort of New England state, never sad, perhaps Mass. or Delaware, it seems small. Joe has an out of control daughter in her mid-20s, Jean, that at one time Pete was engaged to marry, but she vanished one day and then called him to say the marriage is off (mentioned on the cover of the book).
Governor Joe has been sent some scandalous photos of his daughter — in one she is naked, looking stoned; in others, she is having sex with various men and women. Joe wants Pete to find out whose setting up a scandal and blackmail, so that Joe can take care of things quietly.
Pete goes to see Jean. They have not seen each other since she called off the wedding two yeras ago. He shows her the pictures. She is ashamed but won’t tell him what’s going on.
Pete, the writer playing tough guy private eye, starts asking around, getting entangled with hoods, heels, dirty state cops, and political foes of the Governor that want to make sure he never becomes a Senator.
In true tune with noir of the time, sometimes it’s hard to follow what the hell is going on, but the writing, the violence, and the tawdry sexual situations are enticing.
Who is Hank Walters? Have no idea. He’s done a few other books with Novel — Lucky Rape, Hey All Touch Me, Hood’s Mistress, and one from Merit, Take Me!
Why aren’t there publishers like Novel/Merit these days? Or for that matter — Midwood, Gold Medal, and Kozy…