Dirt Farm – Orrie Hitt (Beacon, 1961)
This has all the usual Hitt themes and motifs: the hired hand on a farm, the slave-driving farmer, the young vixen who wants the farmer dead so she can get his land and money, the patsy protagonist who falls into her trap…
Butch Hagen is another typical Hitt hero:
He was a massive man, six inches over six feet, and weighing in at an even two hundred. In his twenty-five years he had been in any number of brawls but nobody ever licked him. (pp. 7-8)
We’ve seen the set-up in various books, like Violent Sinners, Two of a Kind, The Widow, Pleasure Ground, etc. This time, however, the vixen, 19 year old Candy Roberts, is not the younger wife of the farmer, but the niece of Clay Billings, the owner of Friendly Farms, and she wants her evil mean uncle done in with — she has tried to talk various hired hands into it, using her body and charms, and here comes big ol’ Butch, ready to fall for the scam and do the deed, owing much in homage to James M. Cain.
While this novel covers no new ground for Hitt, it is quite well-written — excellent prose with re-used material gives this a B-minus on the itt Scale.