Nude Model by Orrie Hitt (McFadden-Bartell, 1970)
This is the last original novel Orrie Hitt published before he passed away. He once again goes to the pet theme of an attractive, uneducated young woman who can only earn money with her good looks. Meg, the model, is a bit of a dupe — she was making good money as a fashion model but she has gained a few pounds in the wrong places, she is not rail thin as the agencies need. So she turns to modeling for magazines and doing stag films, all the while supporting her heel boyfriend who is supposedly going to college and constantly needs money, she thinks for school but he has a gambling problem and debts to settle.
Hitt doesn’t explore anything new or unique here, repeating a number of past books, but, unlike his later 1960s titles, it is cohesive and straight forward — books he published after 1964 all seemed to be uneven and sloppy.
So, with this last book, we reflect on the career of Mr. Hitt: starting off with a handful of well-written novels in 1953-54, a good number of excellent novels from 1958-1960, tapering off into repetition and sloppiness from 1951-64, and a handful of badly written books from 1965-1967.
Failing health could have attributed to the decline of quality, as well as being burnt out and the demands of his publishers for trash, rather the political commentary his books from Novel and a few from Beacon had.
We wonder if there were any unpublished books left around when he died, and which books out there were stolen manuscripts published by fly-by-night companies that he got duped into, for the need of a check.