Archive for Monarch Books

The Lesbian – Dr. Benjamin Morse aka Lawrence Block (Monarch Books, 1962)

Posted in Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The sleaze book era of the 1960s gave rise to the fictional medical case study book, after the bestselling status of Masters and Johnson and The Kisney Report.   Publishers wanted to cash in on this genre so hired writers out of Scott Meredith to pen bogus academic studies — Lawrence Block was Benjamin Morse, Robert Silverberg was L.T. Woodward. I know Art Plotnik did one of fetsihes.

I have wondered how many people picked these books up back then and thought they were real, and if students or researchers cited them in papers.  And what’s the danger of such for academic accuracy and scholarly evidence in research, something that has been an issue lately with global warming and other research. Indeed, the notion of “the politics of evidence” in academics has been a point of heated debate the past two years.

Today, of course, these books would never pass muster; what they really are: collections of short stories linked by a fake sexologist, much like the recent studies by Dr. Garth Mundinger-Klow.  Entertainment, no less!

This book was published when “homosexuality is illegal. Yet common sense tells us that it should not be” (p. 136).  Men and women could be, and were, arrested if caught in the act, even in the privacy of their homes, and often in hotels when management would turn them in.  “Queer friendly” motels were common.

Block/Morse goes through the gambit of “types”  of lesbians that he interviews, from the college girl, the office girl, the career gal a literary agent in this case), the prostitute, the matron, the man hater, the bohemian, the frigid wife, the “unsuccessful heterosexual” and the dull dyke.  Some he deems are not true lesbians but just girls experiemnting, or who are bi-sexual; others he deems are born lesbians.

But how accurate is this book, knowing it is fiction and written by a man?  Block knew the gay community well, writing about lesbians as Leslie Evans, Jill Emerson, and Sheldon Lord. A more authentic typology would be Ann Aldridge’s We Walk Alone.

In the Andrew Shaw book, Butch, a woman reads Morese’s The Lesbian and it changes her  life — she becomes a gay hooker.

In conclusion, Morese write:

There is no way to sum up a book such as this one. It is not a novel or a biography.  It is not even a single complete argument… (p. 140)

What is it then?

Pulp sleaze written for a quick buck.

Edwin West — Who Was He?

Posted in noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on January 24, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Edwin West was another one of Donald E. Westlake many pen names, for a handful of books published by Monarch Books with lesbian, collegiate, and  incest themes.  They are all pricey to get, as many old Westlakes now are.

Wild to Possess by Gil Brewer (Monarch Books #107, 1959)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on December 4, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Gil Brewer started off with hits for Gold Medal, but all was not milk and honey for the noir author, as Bill Pronzini notes at The Mystery FIle:

His success had begun to wane.  Overexposure, a slowly changing market, the darkening nature of his fiction. . . these and intangibles had led to a steady decline in sales of his Gold Medal and Crest originals after the high-water mark of 13 French Street, to the point where Fawcett decided to drop him from its list.  In his world-by-the-tail decade, he published twenty-three mostly first-rate novels under his own name, fifteen of those with Fawcett; between 1961 and 1967, he published a total of seven mostly mediocre novels – one last failure with Gold Medal (The Hungry One, 1966) and the other six with second-line paperback houses (Monarch, Berkley, Lancer, Banner).

Wild To Possess is one of those titles from Monarch. The protagonist, Lew Brookbank, has been bouncing around Florida for six months, running away from the craziness of his life — his wife, Janice, had been having an affair with a boat bum they knew, Deke Clarkson, and when he went to the guy’s boat to catch and confront them, he found both their dead bodies, shot up.

Freaked out, he took the boat out, dumped their bodies in the ocean, and let the boat drift off.  He had a Luger and figured the cops might try to pin the murders on him. He then started to wander, planted himself in Gulfville, a small Florida town, got a girlfriend, Rita, and tried to forget…only, he drinks more and more trying…

And one day, while posting real estate signs along the road, deep in the flora and fauna, by the swamps,  he overhears a man and a woman talking about a kidnap for ransom plot.  He follows them to the woman’s house and, like an Orrie Hitt peeper, he watches them from the window and listens to their scheme: they are going to kidnap his wife, whose mother is rich, and demand $250,000 in ransom. They are Isobel and Ralph; his wife is Florence. But they don’t plan to release Flo, they can’t; they are going to murder her and run off with the loot…always the loot, the payday, easy money, ill-gained cash, the greenbacks that drive many a noir and Brewer character…

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