Monday, November 16, 2020

Sixties' sleaze twofer: Mark Clements's The Boss's Daughter & Ken Kane's Racket Babe

Hello again, it's been a while, huh? I got back to doing my book on American sleaze paperbacks translated in Finnish and read these two old paperbacks, both written in the mid-sixties and published in Finland in the early seventies. Neither one was very good, and not much is known about the authors, but here goes nevertheless. I realize both of the translations are possibly abridged, but I have no reasonable way to check it.  

Mark Clements's The Boss's Daughter (Midwood, 1965) is about Brad Kirby, a well-to-do newspaper man, whose wife is beautiful, but frigid at times. The wife also happens to be Kirby's employer, a wealthy and influential business tycoon. Kirby finds out his wife might possibly have an affair, and in a jealous rage he has sex with the neighbor's wife. After this his wife's good-looking bombshell of a little sister is coming to visit. She is a nymphomaniac and has decided to have sex with as many men as possible, so he starts immediately to hit on Kirby. The kid sister's own escapades are also described. The climax should be a thrilling foursome, but for some reason it all boils down to a short ending chapter, where it's just stated some of the folks were arrested. Brad Kirby's marriage also didn't cease. It's all somewhat interesting, but not very intriguing. The crime element of many other sleaze novels is missing completely. The description of class differences between Brad Kirby and his wife and father-in-law are dealt with, but not in detail. The scene between Kirby and his employer seems to be missing, so the book leaves much to be desired. 

Ken Kane's Racket Babe (Bell-Ringer 1965) is a less interesting book, though it has some merit as a lesbian prison novel. The episode which is mentioned in the original cover (see below) is very short, though. Racket Babe is like two different authors wrote it: the beginning and the ending are intolerably sweet and romantic, while the middle part is dark and relentless, with all its violent depictions  of swindles, the chaste system of the women's prison and the difficulties to get work while in parole. 

The racket babe of the title is Connie, who falls in love with a young soldier named Derek. They are separated (because of a stupid scheme to meet in three weeks' time) and Connie is running on empty. He falls in with a guy called Duke, who plays poker for money and sets up Connie with married men to strongarm them. Connie and Duke get arrested, and Connie is sent to prison, where she keeps company to a butch called Timmy and gets protection in return. After the prison, she's on parole, but the only job she gets is a lousy diner where she doesn't get enough pay and is told to lie about the money to the parole officer. Then she gets the proposition to become the diner's owner's paid lover. Connie flees, but notices soon she can't hold up on her own and is ready to become the lover, but - then she suddenly meets Derek again! Derek is now handsome and wealthy and bears absolutely no grudges. Happy end. You hear what I'm saying? No way this is a one-man job! 

One other thing that bothered me: there's a mention of the Korean war like it happened just some years ago. And yet this
was published in 1965, 12 years after the war! Is this really a reprint of a fifties' book that no one edited for its second edition? 

One thing that keeps me from blogging is how lousy Blogger's photo editor is nowadays! It was perfectly okay, but then they messed it up this Fall. I've uploaded some of the photos in this post for four or five times already, and now I just can't do it anymore, so let the chips fall where they may.