Like many people on the borderlines of society, with borderline incomes and borderline personalities, I like to browse junk shops. No-one who is well adjusted patronises or works in junk shops. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when the proprietor of one such establishment beckoned me over, presented me with a lurid, crumbling paperback and said “You can have this. It’s really sexist.”
The book in question was by a G. G. Fickling, and was titled Honey West: This Girl for Hire. It was published by Mayflower in 1966. I mention all of these details merely to illustrate that this is an actual book, and that all of this actually happened. Like everything else on this blog. But in case my word isn’t good enough, follow this link and see for yourself.
Upon perusing the novel, I was disgusted and horrified by what I discovered. Fickling was evidently a man who related to his family members as one would relate to a coat or blouse. Insofar as he probably fashioned garments out of their skin. Everything about the book was utterly nauseating. Naturally I bought it then and there.
Shortly after purchasing the book, I died. Whether this was a result of the toxic glue that seeped out of the paperback’s spine, the belief-defying content, the purple prose or some other, unrelated incident (e.g. another dog-tuba mishap), I really couldn’t say. In any case, I have reproduced some of the original text from the book. To reiterate: this is all genuine material that appeared in the novel:
To Tina and Richard Prather. Ongalabongay! And to Shell Scott who can play house with Honey any old time!
With a deadly .32 and a lively 38-22-36 , HONEY WEST is on the prowl for a murderer. From peeling down to rescue a ‘drowning’ man, to playing strip poker with four murder suspects, Honey’s hunting a killer – and she doesn’t mind hunting bare!
SELECTED EXCERPTS [note that the novel is written in the first person from the perspective of Honey West. Note also that the second sentence in the following paragraph is probably the best sentence I have ever read – JLB]
(1) Swanson switched on his hi-fi and the throbbing rhythm of Tamboo filled the house. As casually as possible, I mamboed into the modern kitchen area. The all-electric stove, oven, roaster and charcoal broiler were housed in a long, low-slung, orange-colored case. The sink faced a floor-to-ceiling window that looked out into a green landscape. Glancing over at Golden Boy, who was bent over a bar built low enough to serve kids at grammar school, I silently cursed his idea of no walls. You couldn’t do a thing around this place unnoticed. I reached quickly down and tried to pull open a cabinet drawer. It wouldn’t budge. A try for another drawer yielded the same results. The next instant, he was breathing down my back.
“Wha’cha doing?” he asked curiously. (p.26)
(2) I studied the big-bellied emperor of television. He was in a tight spot, and he knew it. If Sam Aces turned up with a stomach full of that powder, not all the TV in Chinatown could save the lord of WBS. But, for a moment, there was no corpse. That made a big difference. (p.73)
(3) Arch, a runt with a gutsy-looking face, arched his back. I could see we were going to have trouble. Real trouble. Danny’s three friends were feeling no pain, but aching to create a little. It suddenly struck me that there were neither glasses, liquor bottles nor the smell of alcohol in the small room. These kids were high, but from what? They all wore long-sleeve shirts. If there was any possibility they were on heroin, I had to bare their arms to check for needle marks.
“How about a game of strip poker?” I suggested quickly. (p.114)
(4) After a few minutes I went on deck. The storm still slashed at the darkness, ripping it intermittently with crooked orange daggers. Hell’s Light rolled and pitched with new vigor. It was difficult making my way to the bow and I fell several times, once nearly going over the side, and almost losing the oversize dungarees Rod had loaned me. (p.67)
(5) Ann was dancing on top of the bar and her wiggle was a smash hit. All she wore was a blue denim yachting cap. The headdress looked familiar. It had the word CAPTAIN sewn across the front. (p.57)