Archive for Sheldon Lord

Sidney’s Wife by Sheldon Lord aka Milo Perichitich (Beacon, 1964)

Posted in Beacon Books, Lawrence Block, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags on December 30, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Boy had I hoped this would be a keen Lawrence Block Sheldon Lord in the vein of The Sex Shuffle or April North…but no, this one is not Block, it is Milo Perichitich, the lesser of the Sheldon Lords.  Possible, as was the case with Nighttstand, Block stopped being Lord and Andrew Shaw after 1963 as he persued his crime fiction career and was being Jill Emerson. (Being Jill Emerson would be a great title for something.)

This one is your typical corporate suit types who lust after each other’s wives and use one another’s wife to advance or get revenge. Been there done that in pulp sleazeland. Sidney’s Wife is almost unreadable.

69 Barrow Street – Sheldon Lord aka Lawrence Block (Midwood #24, 1959)

Posted in Lawrence Block, lesbian pulp fiction, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This Paul Rader cover is the first of his lesbian couples, which he did many more, most of them quite stunning.  Rader seemed to tackle the cover for most of the Sheldon Lords, but not always the reprints…

Another Lawrence Block tale set in Greenwich Village, his favorite setting for his sleaze books, and where he (still does?) live.  The building at 69 Barrow Street also appears in Passion Alley by Andrew Shaw.

This one is somewhat soap opera-esque about the love and sex woes of hipstes in the Village.  Ralph is a painter who lives with a somewhat wild and nutty lesbian, Stella.  Ralph sets his eyes on a new tenant, Susan Rivers, and so does Stella.

Ralph is looking for love but Stella just wants another woman to fuck, and she has a long list of them.  Susan, however is a recent lesbian the past two years, six lovers and no more interest in men.  So she fears Ralph’s interest, but she poses for him for a painting on the condition they are just friends. Of course, he slowly falls in love with her.

There’s a great reefer madness party Stella throws for 1 people where they all get high and have various sexual connections. One girl, Maria, keeps asking every man do do it “Greek style” with her but no one wants to. When Ralph asks her if it hurts she says she wants the pain.  Some BDSM and D/s comes into play here as Maria moves in and becomes Stella’s “bad girl.”  Maria calls Stella Mummy and Stella gets her kicks from punishing and spanking Maria.

Pretty bold  for a 1959 novel.  But like many lesbian themes books back then, the dykes had to be portrayed as deviant and disturbed, so Maria soon lapses into insanity with the D/s mommy/bad girl game, and Stella becomes homicidal-maniac jealous of Susan and Ralph.

There’s also rape in the book — a lesbian rape, and a drunken moment when Ralph attacks Stella when she taunts him about her making love to Susan, and he rapes his friend.

The novel falls into strange violence at the end like some of Block’s Andrew Shaw Nightstands tend to do.

Overall, a decent Sheldon Lord, but not in the same ball park of greatness like Candy, The Sex Shuffle, or  A Strange Kind of Love.

A Girl Called Honey – Sheldon Lord & Alan Marshall/aka Lawrence Block & Donald Westlake (Midwood #41, 1960)

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

We know that Donald Westlake sometimes contributed to an Andrew Shaw novel or three, and that the Sheldon Lord moniker was shared.  Here, we have Block and Westlake having their pen names collaborate — adding in a cute dedication:

this is for

DON WESTLAKE AND LARRY BLOCK

who introduced us

This is like K.M. O’Donnell once claiming that his pen name was Barry N. Malzberg!

Another little tidbit — a character in the story signs into a hotel under an alias: Andrew Shaw. “Call me Andy,” he says.

There aren’t any of the other clues such as references to Clifton College of The Sound of Distant Drums. It does start off in Ohio, where the fictional Clifton College, and major events happen in Albany, NY, where Block hails from.

This is an early work for both these writerly friends and co-workers in the Scott Meredith Agency fee department,and it shows. But it’s not a bad novel; it’s slow to start, but you get sucked in by the characters, and things get gradually bleak and the damn thing sticks in your head all night long…

Honour Mercy Bane–nickname “Honey”–is a small town girl from Kentucky who makes her way to Newport, Ohio, a town outside Cincinnati.

And Newport, fair city that it is, has everything that Cincinnati lacks. Cathouses by the dozens. Gambling dens by the score,  a pusher on every corner, and bootleg whiskey sold over the counter in every drugstore. (p. 10)

She was kicked out of her home by her religious parents, Abhraham and Prudence Bane, when they come one unexpected one day and ind her in the act of coitus with her lover, who happens to be one of her teachers at the high school.  “Go to Newport and be a bad girl,” they tell her, disowning her.

So she does.

Continue reading

The Bedroom Route by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block/Donald Westlake?), Beacon, 1963

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on December 7, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The Sheldon Lords are a mixed bag, depending on who penned them  — Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Milo Perichitich, or Hal Dresner.

This one is penned by Block, with perhaps some help by Westlake; I detect two styles from chapter to chapter.  It’s an unbanite story of Madison Avenue ad account junior exec, Mike Hart, and his wife Cheryl.  Cheryl, it seems has become frigid, much to the dismay of her hubby Mike.  But no fear, there are other women, lots of them: his secretary and the lover of one of his rivals at the ad company, sleeping with the woman as an act of revenge and one-upmanship.

Cheryl learns why she cannot enjoy sex with men anymore, when she is seduced by another woman and enters the world of the third sex on twilight street.

Unfortunately, this one is not as good as the Sheldon Lords like the excellent Candy and April North. It’s slow-moving and droll much like Orrie Hitt’s droll Mad Ad novel, Tell Them Anything. This could have been an assignment from Beacon: “Give us a Madison Avenue sex book,” since Beacon published a number of them set in ad world.

It’s okay, the writing is smooth, but it’s just that: okay. There are better Sheldon Lords out there…

Mona by Lawrence Block (Gold Medal, 1961)

Posted in crime noir, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Block - Mona2An early Block with quite a history. It’s been reprinted twice since its Gold Medal debut in 1961 — as Sweet Slow Death in 1986 from Jove, Mona in 1994 from Carroll & Graf,  and as Grifter’s Game as the the first offering from Hard Case Crime in 2005.  A lot of mileage for an old title that has now become somewhat a classic in 60s noir.

block-791579I read somewhere that Block had started this one as a Nightstand title, and $20 Lust as something for Gold Medal or Beacon, but things got switched around, and when his agent Henry Morrison at Scott Meredith read the manuscript, he concluded it was good enough for Gold Medal and under Block’s own name.  Thus, Mona became the first paperback Block had his name on the cover, instead of Lesley Evans, Sheldon Lord, or Andrew Shaw.

There’s a Mona, a dead ex-wife, in $20 Lust (aka Cinderella Sims), talked about earlier, and a number of Monas show up in Block’s Andrew Shaw books.  She’s like Harry Whittington’s Cora, popping up often in different, same soul.

Block’s many Monas are just no good…tramps, cheats, and liars all…

Continue reading

Candy by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block), Midwood #40 (1960)

Posted in crime noir, lesbian pulp fiction, Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lord - Candy

Early Lawrence Block is always a mixed bag of good and not-so-good, such as some of the very early Nightstands. Midwood published Block’s first book as a Sheldon Lord, Carla [Midwood #7, 1958]  (later reprinted as Puta), although his first sale was the Lesley Evans lesbian novel, Strange Are the Ways of Love, for Fawcett Crest, 1959.  Seems Midwood had less turnaround time from manuscript sale to publication.

Evans - Strang are the ways of love

Lord - CarlaBock excelled in the lesbian themed novels as Sheldon Lord, some Andrew Shaws, and as Jill Emerson, who went from sleaze paperbacks to several mainstream novels with Putnam in the 1970s.  Many critics were convinced that Jill Emerson was actually a woman, and has been included in some lesbian pulp fiction anthologies without a mention that Emerson is really a man.  Block was more convincing a female writer than Silverberg.

So Block continued to write more books for Midwood, most lesbian themed works, and one he collaborated with Donald Westlake, Of Shame and Joy.

Candy is considered a lesbian novel, or a novel with lesbian sex going on…an instance where the woman, Candy, leaves the narrator for what a wealthy Park Avenue lesbian has to offer a sexy girl from the backwoods of America.

Candy is also one of Block’s finest Sheldon Lord books and early works, better than April North, better than the Sheldon Lords that Hard Case published. His early Nightstands were about college kids and young sexuality, and then he started to move toward crime noir/erotica, like Shame Dame as John Dexter.

In one typical Block line, he has a character reading a book by Alan Marshall (Westlake), with one hand in his pocket…

Jeff Flanders is 34 and works at a finance company that gives personal loans with a high rate of interest.  They are basically legal loan sharks without the leg breakers.

One day a sexpot 19-year-old blonde from the sticks, now in the big city, wanders into the finance company looking to borrow $1000.  She has no job, is new in New York, and no credit or collateral, but she figures her looks and sexuality will get her the loan.  She suggests Jeff co-sign her loan and in exchange he can have sex with her….

Continue reading

Older Woman by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block or Donald Westlake), Beacon Books, 1962

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lord - Older Womam

Not sure who was the name behind this Sheldon Lord — some parts read like early Lawrence Block, some parts read like Westlake…it could be one of those books where they collaborated.

Older Woman is about the May/December thing, a coming-of-age novel for a young man with no experience and the married older woman in need of love, or sex….or attention.

The young man is Andy McNeil (Andrew Shaw?), who attends a small college the mid-west that is not unlike Antioch College in Ohio (where Block went to school, later to drop out and pursue the life of a writer in New York at age 19).

This was written/published around the same time as April North, but does not include the little in-jokes and clues found in April North and many of the Andrew Shaw books for Nightstand.

It’s a brisk and fun read, as are many Block and Westlake novels.  Andy is awkward among gils.  There is one he likes, but when he findsout she’s an easy tramp, he is hurt, especially when his dorm mate sleeps with her at a party.

Natalie Foster is 39 and married to a 50 year old professor she chased after when she was an undergraduate.  She chased him hard back when she was 19, and she got him; the 20 years of marriage have gone from good to bad. He’s too wrapped up in his research of 18th Century poetry and a monograph and his high brow career to pay attention to her needs…

She and Andy both get cast in a play at the off-campus theater.  She rents a motel room nearby, her excuse is to not disturb her husband when she comes in late, but her real motive is to have somewhere to take lovers — she has her sites on Andy, a good-looking freshman who seems virile.

Andy is terrified — he is attracted to Natalie, he’d like to have sex with her, but he’s a vrigin and doesn’t know what to do.  He goes into Springfield to a brothel to learn, but he’s so nervous he cannot get an erection.

Eventually he tells Natalie this.  She is touched, and says she will teach him all he needs to know.  For the next two months, during rehearsal and the run of the play, they go to the motel each night where he stays and learns to become an excellent cocksman of the campus.

I have had older women in my life, from age 16 to 29, so I identified with this story in certain ways, mainly knowing why it is, psychologically, some women will seek younger males when they know there is no future in it…and especially married woman, where danger lurks.

Her husband never finds out but he does realize he’s been a lousy husband, so he shows up on closing night with roses, and whisks his wife away, much to Andy’s chagrin.

Andy does have confidece in himself to take what he has learned and apply this knowledge to the girls on campus, so we know he will be just fine in the end.  Natalie was a necessary component in the sexual education of a young lad — she reminds him their affair was mutually beneficial: she needed sex and he needed to learn about sex.

Not the best of the Sheldon Lord novels, but not the worst either.

Hired Lover by Fred Martin (Orrie Hitt), Midwood #13

Posted in crime noir, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

midwood - hired lover

Accoridng to Lynn Munroe’s richly informative article on Midwood’s beginnings:

Amazingly, just 5 men wrote almost all of the first 40 numbered Midwoods. This hard-working group (Beauchamp, Lord, Marshall, Orrie Hitt and Don Holliday) carried and established Midwood until [Harry] Shorten was able to build his own stable of regulars –- names like March Hastings, Dallas Mayo, Kimberly Kemp, Joan Ellis, Jason Hytes and Sloane Britain.

Beauchamp was, of course, Robert Silverberg, Lord was Lawrence Block, Marshall was Donad Westlake, Holliday was Hal Drenser, and Orrie Hitt was himself.

Hired Lover is Midwood 13, published in 1959, although there are some early un-numbered Midwoods. Fred Martin was a one shot name for Midwood (and seems to have written one for the short-lived Magnet Books), and the style is easily identifiable: this is an Orrie Hitt book.  You can’t mistake Hitt for anyone else: the set-up, the dialogue, pacing, wrap-up.  Silverberg also did an early one shot, Immoral Wife by Gordon Mitchell (Midwod #11), that I discussed in this blog a while ago.

The question is: why these one-shot names?  Was it Midwood’s idea, to look like they had more than the same writers, or Scott Meredith’s, since the mauscripts came from the agency blinded as to the true writer’s identity. After all, Silverberg did an early Midwood, #7, Love Nest by Loren Beauchamp (see my review), and Beauchamp was his continued name for a dozen more titles from 1960-1963.

Munroe also notes:

Although nobody at Midwood knew it then, most of the books were by the same writers turning out the Nightstands. For example, Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg) would become Don Elliott a year later at Nightstand, Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) would become Andrew Shaw. Some of the writers, like Alan Marshall and Clyde Allison and Al James, used the same name for both.

Midwood - Call Me MistressI have another early, un-numbered Midwood, Call Me Mistress by Tomlin Rede, and I wonder who wrote this one.  I haven’t read it yet but on quick glance, the style seems like early Westlake/Alan Marshall.

Call Me Mistress is a crime noir set in Hollywood and among syndicate crime lords, wuth a dash of lesbiana tossed in.  I will be getting to this book soon after I do my reading stint of campus sex books and lesbian titles.

Back to Hired Lover — yes, one of many Orrie Hitt’s novels but the name is not listed among Hitt’s pen names (Nicky Weaver, Kay Addams).  I Feldspar - Squeeze Playhave two Kozy Books by one “Walter Feldspar” (Loose Women and Squeeze Play) that look like they may be Hitts (there’s also a Beacon Hitt book called Loose Women) — Feldspar only penned two books, and for Kozy, and Hitt wrote many for Kozy as himself, Weaver, and Roger Normandie…like Lawrence Block and Robert Silverberg and others, there are pen names used that are not always associated with these writers, either overlooked by bibliographers or not admitted to by the writer (or remembered).

Hitt - Loose Women

Hired Lover is a first-person tough guy story — Mike has left Los Angeles after a bad incident and is in Chicago, where he has ties.  He’s working as a driving instructor when one day a gorgeous dame in her mid-20s, Kitty, is his student…she takes him to her mansion, gives him booze and fucks him.  She’s married to a rich old man — short fat,bald and ugly — whom she met when she was a nurse and he was in the hospital in diabetic shock.

As luck would have it, the rich man’s chaueffer just quit and he needs a new driver. Kitty suggests her hubby hire Mike — he can live in the apartment above the garage, where she can visit him for illict sin and lust.

While Kitty and hubby are away on a trip, Mike looks up an old business buddy who runs a stripper club.  One of the strippers has her sister, Ruth, with her — new in town, fresh from Ohio farmland, 18, a virgin, and ignorant of the big bad ol’ world of strippers, whores, booze and crime that her sister is involved with.  Mike manages to talk her out of going down that road — he’s no hero, since he also gets her drunk and takes her virginity, being 10 years older than the girl.

Right off, we know that Mike will end up with Ruth as his wife in the end.  This is typical of Hitt’s novels, mostly for Beacon — similar to the set-up of The Promoter, that I talked about last week.

(An aside: Beacon and Softcover seemed to require, as with lesbian novels, that the hero or heroine redeem and depent tgheir sinful ways by book’s end, married and in the arms of someone good, man or woman.  This does not seem to be the case with Hitt’s titles for Sabre and Novel Books — in fact, Novel gave Hitt carte blance to “take the gloves off” and write what he wanted, free of market and genre constraints.  I will be talking about a few of those in the near future.)

The set-up for Hired Lover isn’t new in sleazecore: the wife convinces the lover that they have to murder the old rich husband so they can be together and get rich.  That never works out, of course, and the wayward wife gets hers in the end — in this case, she has set up Mike in cahoots with the head butler/valet of the mansion. And the hero repents and finds love in the arms of a younger, less gutter-drivem woman, in this and other Hitts.  Mike, on the run from the set-up murder, is aided by young Ruth.  The cops wind up arresting the wife and the valet, but Mike is still guilty for the murder, and had helped plan it.  He married Ruth, but is dying from tetnus due to a untreated gun-shot wound.  The novel ends with Mike on his deathbed, confessing the murder to a Catholic priest, and holding his young wife’s hand, whom he has impregnanted so she will have something of his left.  It’s a sad ending, in a way.

Hired Lover is a great read, however, and if you dig Orrie Hitt, you will dig this — and it’s too bad that Hitt fans may miss this one,  so this blog/review will serve as a pointer for anyone doing research on Hitt.

Now that I am an Orrie Hitt fan  (where was he all my life?), and have bought several dozen books now, expect much discussion of his work here.

I have also found another promising sleazecore writer, Brain Black, who wrote a handful of Beacons, pen names for Western pukp writer Robert Trimnell. The books look good on first glance:

Black --Passionate Prof

Beacon - Unfaithfuil

Black 0 Jeanie

The Sex Shuffle by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) Softcover Library, 1964

Posted in Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lord - Sex Shuffle

Sex Shuffle Small

LuckyAtCards

An early Lawrence Block writing as Shedon Lord, later republished under his name by Hard Case Crime as Lucky at Cards.

BlockBlock would work on a novel and depending on where it was going, would determine the market…for instance, he started Mona for Nightstand, but figured it was good enough for Gold Medal…he started $20 Lust for Gold Medal but decided it was for Nightstand as Andrew Shaw.  Ditto with books for Beacon/softcover as Sheldon Lord or for Midwood as Lord, Jill Emerson, or even Dr. Benjamin Morse for Monarch.

The Sex Shuffle doesn’t have enough sex for Nightstand, but enough nudity and sex for a Softcover Library sleazenoir.  Told in the first person by Bill Maynard, “The Wizard,” a former stage magician turned card shill.  He goes to Chicagio to get his teeth fixed after a bad betaing in New York, when some card players realized he was cheating.  Playing a friendly game at a lawyer’s house in Chicago, he is entranced by the fat old attorney’s young, busty wife…and she knows what he is, having been a grifter herself.

They have an affair and, like these stories go, she wants him to kill her husband, she’ll get the money, they’ll be rich and together. Sound familar?  Robert Carney’s Anything Goes, ames Cain’s The Postman and many other vintage noirs…Maynard has a better idea: to set the guy up for a murder of an imagianry person blackmailing him.

As with these noir tales, things turn against him in odd twists, but it does have a happy ending, oddly.

If you know Block’s work, this is obviously an early work, and has its plotting flaws.  As a 1964 Sheldon Lord, it’s a nifty sleaze title.

Block has allowed some of his old pen name books to reprint: $20 Lust as Cinderalla Sims, Pads Are for Passion as  Diet of Treacle, and Mona as Gifter’s Game…I will be talking about those later on.

April North by Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) Softcover Library, 1961

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Lord - April North

Like “Andrew Shaw,” Sheldon Lord was an early pen name shared by mystery/crime authors Lawrence Block and Donald Westlake, later used by others, for Beacon, Softcover Lib., and a couple Midwoods.

April North is Lawrence Block — his early style is easily identfiable, it’s set in midwest Antrim, Ohio, not far from his alma mater, Antioch College (featured in many Shaw Nightstands).  There’s also the mention of a film, The Sound of Distant Drums, some sort of in-joke connection found in all Shaw novels and others.

April North is 17, a senior in high school, and a good girl from a good, Christain family.  She has been “going steady” with a football/baseball jock, Duncan, and believes he loves her and intends to marry her — thus, one night, she “goes all the the way” and loses her virginity to the boy.  Like many a naive girl in these books, she thinks this is a contract for marriage.

Now that she has “done the dirty,” Duncan wants nothing to do with her.  She is not wife material and tells all his buddies she’s a tramp.  Within a week, all the boys in her class are calling up for dates, and Duncan breaks up with her.  She has sex with another boy in a field — as shown in the nifty splendor in the grass cover art — because she is dazed at her new reputation, and word gets “around” in the small town that se’s easy.

Knowing her rep is ruined forever, she withdraws her savings ($500) and decides to run away to New York City.

I thought this was going to be like Loren Beauchamp’s Connie — she would become a call girl in NY as a revenge against the men who hurt her.  April seems a lot like Silverberg’s Connie.  But before April can catch the NYC-bound bus, she crosses paths with Craig, a 27-year-old ladies man in a Mercedies 300-SL, who has inherited a fortune from his dead parents.  Craig convinces her to stay, to shun those who mock her, and he will teach her to be a sexually wise, wordly woman.

She falls in love, of course, and has visions of wedding bells with this lover-man, until she attends one of his orgies.  She ignores the rumors she has heard that he seduces young girls and degrades them — she believes she is different and that he loves her.  She discovers that all his rich, literary, and “world weary” friends are all alcoholics, drug addicts, and lost as anyone — and that Craig, despite his wealth and car and looks, is at heart empty and a loser.  To keep her from going home and to stay with him, Craig has mailed secret photos of her having sex with him, an a drunken lesbain encounter, so her parents will disown her.

Trying to escape Craig, she is picked up by her ex-, Duncan, in the rain.  She thinks he will help her get her to NY but leads her to a barn where he has arranged for 20 boys in town to come and have sex with her in a gang bang, $5 a piece.  “Work for the money you need for New York,” he tells her.

The second boy she had sex with, Bill, comes to her rescue and they run away and live happily ever after.

The book fell apart about 75% the way in, and rushed to a sappy romantic ending, as if Block was closing in on his reqyured 50K words and he needed to wrap up.  Otherwise, a fast-paced novel with good characters, and an interesting early-era Block novel.

Here is the cover for the UK editi0n:

Lord - April North UK