Archive for Arnold Marmor

Sweet Smell of Lust – Arnold Marmor (Intimate Books/Art Enterprises, 1962)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on February 4, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one is from Art Enterprises, a shady Hollywood outfit that published some cheap little books under a variety of imprints, later investigated by the feds for money laundering and mob connections with a corpoate board made up of people who were dead or retirement homes and had no idea they were officers of some questionable southern California sleaze publisher.  (Apparently, Art Enterprises took over Midwood in the late 60s/70s in leiu of the debt Harry Shorten had incurred with mob types.)

Fittingly, this Marmor is set in Hollywood and has a similar feel to McCoy’s I Should Have Stayed Home: the petty rich and poor players of the movie industry, women using sex to get ahead, jealousies, games, strategies, art as commercial commodity.

This is a multi-character story and the problem, with Marmor’s short, snappy chapters, is you got lost in who is who, who is doing who, and what is going on.  But the basic story is: Nancy Pulver, a one-time famous 38 year old actress, is vying for the lead role in a ne film based on a bestseller, only the lead calls for a woman in her early 20s…Kitty is the young starlet up for the part, and she has been sleeping her way up the ladder…Gertie is the screenwriter and a die hard lesbian after any girl flesh in Hollywood…but before Kitty can get the part, she has to do a strip show at the director’s wild Hollywood party, plus sleep with Gertie…Kitty feels like a whore but she will do what it takes to get what she wants, but not if Nancy does something to destroy her.

There are other characters and other games, like taking down the studio head by framing his wife in a sex scandal, but the other storyline is the main meat.

Not bad, nothing great…another fun read…three of the chapters include sexy illustrations, something a little different.

Boudoir Treachery – Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 30, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I sat down to enjoy another Marmor crime novel and from the first page, I thought, Why does this sound so familiar? Well, because Boudoir Treachery is the same novel as Torrid Wenches…or, it seems, Torrid Wenches is a re-titled reprint of Boudoir Treachery.  Although both books have 1960 copyright dates, Boudoir has a cover price of 35 cents and Torrid is 60 cents…so Torrid probably came out in 1963-4.

Camerarts was notorious for doing this with their Novel and Merit lines, re-issuing books 2, 3, sometimes 4 times with new titles, often only a year apart. Orrie Hitt hated this, because he knew his fans were buying what they thought was a new book from him, only to get a book published a year or two beforehand.

I think I only paid $7 for this one, so no big deal. The cover fits the storyline better than Torrid, although the latter is more enticing.

Torrid Wenches – Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on January 24, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Another swift and nifty crime tale from Arnold Marmor with the typical Camerarts/Merit title and cover.

Karl is a real estate developer come into New York City over the death of his brother, a freelance investigative journalist. It was made to look like his brother committed suicide but Karl knew his brother well, and he was not the suicida; type.  Karl goes on his own investiagtion, racking up a list of possible suspects: the shady lawyer who stole ten grand from his brother’s estate; his brother’s floozy lover/call girl, Lola Knight; a magazine editor; a rich party throewe who makes his money from blackmail; and his brother’s jilted ex-girlfriend, Janice, a TV actress who soon becomes Karl’s lover…

Th wrap-up is a bit implausible, but reading Marmor’s prose is fun: fast and witty, a lot of snappy dialogue and wise-cracking a la Chandler or Robert Parker’s Spencer.

Hell Cat by Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 1961)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on September 7, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

As noted before, Arnold Marmor — not a pen name — was a regular guy in the detective, crime, and SF pulps in the 40s and 50s, then turned to, as many hacks did, the sleaze houses that marketed fine genre literature as smut.

Hell Cat opens in a strip club with a new dancer on stage — she calls herself El Gato, wears a cat suit she strips off, keeps a cat mask on the whole time. The men go wild for her.  But it seems she may be a jewel thief.

The book is narrated by a guy whose a friend of the club photographer that El Gato punches backstage, in a hurry.  He wants to know what happened, which leads him to an insurance investigator looking into the theft of a pretty pricey necklace made of rare South African diamonds (there’s a chapter set in South Africa about the origins of those diamonds).  Seems a security guard was punched out by a woman similar to the El Gato incident. The neclace heist happened an hour after El Gato’s set — two and two: El Gato is the culprit.

Marmor didn’t write the best of these kind of books, but he was a competent professional genre author and we’ve found his work so far, like Hell Cat, entertaining reads.

Case of the Eager Nymphs – Arnold Marmor (Boudoir #1044, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on April 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The title of this Marmor is a take on the Perry Mason books, and the hero is  a lawyer, but he’s nothing like Mason and the title has little to do with the plotline.

Previously reviewed Marmor’s Love Addiction and found out that Marmor used his real name and was a veteran of the crime and SF pulp days of the 1950s, and a good read.

Case of the Eager Nymphs is a good read and reads more like a novella for, say, Mike Shayne’s Mystery Mag than a “sleaze” book.  It’s short, about 25-30,000 words, and moves briskly.  It’s narrated by a lawyer hired by a woman who is supposedly dead from a car crash and buried…the woman wants to find out whose body was substituted for hers, and who tried to have her killed — her ex-husbands (she has four) or her brother, all for wealthy inheritance.

There’s a lot of gum-shoeing around, petty and curious characters, a bit of sex, and some confusion about what’s going on, but it’s still worth a read.

Love Addiction by Arnold Marmor (Merit Books, 196?)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on January 5, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

There’s no publication date on this Merit title, but is most likely 1962 based on the typeface…in 1961, Merit published Love Addict by Arnold Marmor, and it may be the same book, as Merit/Novel was known to do…

Who was Arnold Marmor?  He seems to be one of those forgotten, obscure pulp guys of the early and mid 50s, who wrote often for Hamling’s Imagination, Amazing, the crime ones like Manhunt, Trapped, Pursued, and second and third tier men’s mags like Dude, Pleasure, Rogue, etc.

Project Gutenberg recently put up his short SF novel Spies Die Hard! from Hamling’s Imagination…which might make one wonder if Marmor was a Robert Silverberg pen name, but he wasn’t. He seemed to be a UK writer who specialized in spy-type fiction — Spies Die Hard! is about earth and Martian spies…he also ghosted a Nick Carter or two…and when the pulp market dried up in the late 50s, like many others, he started to write books for the sex market, though they were still spy and crime thrillers packaged with lurid covers and suggestive titles…such is the case with Love Addiction.

Marmor (1927-1978) published a number of sleaze-styled books for Merit, Saber, Playtime, Intimate, Boudoir, Twilight, and other short-lived imprints, but never the bigger ones like Nightstand, Midwood, Kozy or Beacon…

Love Addiction introduces Nick Sparta, former British Secret Service ex-patriot living a low-rent life in a New York fleabag hotel with an American woman.  He’s been called to a meeting by the head of British-Lion btea Limited, a front for MI-5.  They want to locate another former agent, Major Walter Waldron, who, supposedly, has written a memoir about his spy days and contains information that could compromise Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  While Nick’s vice for gambling and women got him kicked out of the spy force, the Major Waldon’s is heroin — he’s an addict, so the back cover blurb states:

Nick Sparta always left the babes asking for more.  The major might be a dope addict, he thought to himself.  But, ‘m a love addict, and I’m sure getting a lot more kocks from my addiction than he is from his!

Does he get the dames?  His Nick Sparta a B-grade James Bond?  Yes and no.

The writing is spare, minimal, 34 short chapters in 128 pages.  The tone is laid bad and smooth, less action-oriented, more clever dialoague and incidents between old spies from the O.S.S. and World War II days, Germans and Russians, Americans and Brits — in fact it reminded me a lot of Le Carre and Trevenian spy books.

Sex?  There’s some sex, the kind expected in a spy or sleaze book.

Not bad. I will seek more Marmor.