Morals Charge by Paul Hunter (Midwood F101, 1961)
Like Jodie in The Disciplined Daughter below, Nancy in Morals Charge is a constant victim of circumstance and her own sexual appeal. The 18-year-old girl lives at home, a horrible home where her alcoholic, lazy mother steals the money she makes at a clerk job, even though she gives her mother half her pay; she’s been saving so she can leave home, maybe go to Hollywood or somewhere. And then there is her equally alcoholic, fat mother’s boyfriend Frank, who is convinced Nancy is a floozy on the side, the way she dreses sometimes.
One day Nancy crosses paths with an old high school friend, Candy, who has nice clothes and seems to be doing well in New York. Candy invites Nancy to a party her “boss” is throwing, and tells Nancy to dress sexy. Nancy meets the boss, Howie Mann, who runs illegal gambling parlors out of ritzy hotels — he’s a big powerful man connected to the mob and local politicians, and has girls on his crew…not exactly hookers, they are there as “shills” (playing tables with house money to lure men)…a girl in Howie’s crew can leave with a customer and make extra money, and it’s expected, Howie wants them to come back and blow their money. Sometimes Howie requires his girls to sleep with VIPs…
Howie seduces Nancy that night and takes her virginity. She thinks there could be a romance but he was testng her out, breaking her in. He also gives her $50. She gets home late and her mother and Frank yell at her. They find the $50 and figure she’s hooking, and Frank decides he will pimp her out. Frank knocks out the mother and rapes Nancy, just two hours from her having lost her cherry to Howie.
Nancy leaves home and moves in with Candy and works for Howie. At first she doesn’t like having to be nice and fuck ugly old men with money, and Howie lays down the law. He has a sadistic woman who runs the girls, Jane, and an equally sadistic goon named “Fingers” who knows torture techniques by just using his fingers. Nancy has a choice of the lesser two evils, at home being raped and pimped by Frank who takes her money, or in the city where she’s pimped out but makes money. She soon falls into the groove of being used for her body, but at least she’s making good money.
Frank tracks her down one day and breaks into her apartment and demands $1000, and that he will be her new pimp. She gets Howie and his goons to work Frank over. Sweet revenge on the drunk fat fuck.
One night she gets arrested in a hotel with one of Howie’s VIPs. Since she’s not being paid, it’s not an actual “morals charge” for hooking, but the cops frame her with a bogus $50 payment. Three of the four cops want to gang rape her but the third cop, a straight arrow, intervenes. This cop also tells her she’s just a pawn to get at someone bigger. Here the cops make her a victim by depriving her of her rights for a phone call and lawyer, by physically beating her up in interrogation. But Nancy knows they want Howie so she doesn’t talk. Later, a lawyer tells her that the D.A. is after one of Howie’s friends in political office, and if she keeps mum all is well although she will have to take the fall and do some time to appease the D.A. who is pissed her arrest was botched.
An interesting novel that, while trash pulp fiction, does reflect a time in America where the rights of women, even though prostitutes, were trampled on without repercussion, and where physical force was par for the course during third degree questioning (although some will claim that still goes on, just look at Abu Gahrib). Poor Nancy is just abused everywhere she goes — at home, at work, by the system. In jail and prison, she meets street hookers as young as nine, heroin addicts, thieves and lesbians.
A good read, and good to own for the cover alone. In the next week or two, we want to to focus on vintage books with Issac Paul Rader covers…