Archive for obscene

The Many Faces of John Dexter #6: Passion Bride (Midnight Reader #415, 1961)

Posted in Lawrence Block, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Not sure who wrote this Dexter, but I suspect that Lawrence Block penned part of it — the first few chapters seem to be his style; perhaps toss in some Westlake or Hal Dresner with other chapters.

It would be fitting if Block penned part of this book because Passion Bride, along with Crossroads to Lust to Lust Campus were deemed obscene in the court case People v. Sikora, 32 Ill. 2d 260, 267-268, 204 N. E. 2d 768, 772-773 (1965), and later footnoted in a 1977 Supreme Court Case, Ward v. Illinois, appealing a conviction for selling obscene materials.  Justice Brennan noted in footnote 3 of his dissent:

`Passion Bride’ by John Dexter described curricular and extracurricular sexual episodes that take place during a honeymoon on the French Riviera. The book describes masturbation; intercourse; a party between an old man and three prostitutes; attempted intercourse in a bath; lesbian foreplay; flagellation; rape ending in the death of the female from a broken back and intercourse ending in the broken back of the male participant. “`

Passion Bride tells a strange and surreal story that borders on early horror with a sense of the supernatural.  It opens with Mike and Tammy Hale, a young couple on their honeymoon on the French Riviera. Tammy is an innocent virgin, but once Mike shows her the ways of marital coitus, she becomes an insatiable hellcat; spent, Mike can give her no more and she screams at him to finish what he started. Mike gets freaked out and runs out of the room, the hotel, and into the French night of sin and shame.

First he has a sexual encounter with a beautiful “negress” who works for The Woman — an exotic wealthy and gorgeous lady by the name of Lorelei, who entrances men and women all around her, and does as she pleases, including murder.

Never in his most exotic dreams had he imagined a creature like this. Although Mike himself was tall, she towered over him,her gold hair cloujd-like on her nude shoulders.  He was driven wild as his eyes crept down the pristine ivory of her neck to those fantastic, gigantic firm breasts thrusting at him unsupported for all their hugeness… (pp. 106-7)

“Her name is Lorelei. No one knows where she comes from, who she really is. She’s rich, but not so rich that she doesn’t crave more […] It may sound unbelievable to you…that’s because the Riveria is a different world […] This is another universe. Ruled by the money of the few people who really run the world.” (pp. 143)

She is vampire-like, sucking the life and sex out of people, driving men mad and women to serve her.  Mike is of interest because he is an engineer on a secret U.S. governemnt project, and his knowledge can be sold. So there is some political intrigue here.  Yet the narrative tends to all apart with too many characters, maybe too many writers working on this book.

As Justice Brennan noted, there is plenty of kinky stuff going on — I pictured Brennan’s law clerks combing through this little Cornith and reporting back the offensive passages.

Not to fear — it does have a happy ending.

Strange Three by Louise Sherman (Saber Books, 1958)

Posted in lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Saber - Strange ThreeThe first Saber Book Sanford Aday published, after the success of his Fabian Books line.  Along with the Fabians, this little novel was on trial for being indecent, but the jury did not find it so (they’d get Aday later as they did to Hamling, for sending obscene material through the mail).

This is also an early lesbian pulp. I have no idea if Louise Sherman is a real person, pen name, a mask for Aday…

It’s a bit of a goofy book, and sometimes hard to follow, but worth reading as a history of sleaze paperbacks and lesbian pulp fiction.

It opens with Floyd and Stella Langley getting ready to go out for the evening. They seem to be upper class in Burlington(VT?).  Then suddenly Floyd dies.  Seems he’s the third husband of hers to die mysteriously for no apparent reason.  The cops think she’s murdering them and want to find out; the coroner, a family friend, does not think she is a killer.

The coroner’s son, Johnny Radford, is in love with Stella and always has been. e’s home from college. Stella loves him to but if he marries her, he may die too.

Johnny’s sister, Marcene, is a sexy vixen who never leaves the house.  Johnny sees her sitting with her skirt up, no panties; he tells her and she flashes him her hoo-hoo, laughing.  It’s too much. He goes to her bed that night. They make love.

Okay, it’s incest, but Marcene knows no other men but her brother and father. In fact she tells her father she’ll marry him or Johnny.  She doesn’t seem to be playing with a full deck.

Stella is sexually attracted to Marcene. Stella is bi-sexual.  She seduces Marcene just as she seduces Johnny and soon the three are having sex together — threesome incest!

Three strange people, indeed.

Funny at times, yes.  But what the hell is going on?

The bad thing, as with all Saber/Fabian/Vega Books, is the cheap production value — the cheapest possible thin paper badly glued into a flimsy spine.  All vintage books need care when reading them, but with a Saber of Fabian, extra extra care is required, and sometimes, as in the case of Orrie Hitt’s Love Princess, the type is too damn small.