Thursday, May 28, 2009

Like Mink, Like Murder -- Harry Whittington

I've had a copy of Harry Whittington's Mink for 30 years or so, but I've never read it because it's in French.  David Laurence Wilson discovered that it was rewritten and published in English by Leisure as one of Whittington's "unknown" novels in 1965.  It was titled Passion Hangover, and the pseudonym used was J. X. Williams.  Wilson was asked to restore the novel, to find the orignal tale encased in the rewrite.  A daunting task, no doubt about it, but Wilson was up to it, and the result is a 36,000 word tale that lives up to Whittington's reputation as one of the best '50s paperbackers.

Sam Baynard was a college student until he fell for a woman named Elva, who introduced him to Collie Cohzak.  Collie was Sam's downfall, and Sam soon found himself in prison for the robberies he committed with Collie.  Now Sam's out and going straight.  He delivers milk, and he's doing well at the job.  But in a Whittington story, you can't escape your past that easily.  Elva and Collie show up with a plan that involves Sam, and he can't refuse them.  There's mink involved, too, and sex, and a good woman who loves Sam.  Whittington and Laurence tighten the screws, and the story zips along so fast that you hardly have time to blink.

It's hard to say why no American publisher wanted this book in its original form, whatever that was, but it's great that we have it now.  You have to wait to July to read it, but it'll be worth it, especially considering the two other novels included under the same cover from Stark House.  Save your pennies so you won't miss this one.

1 comment:

Mack said...

Thanks a lot Bill, as if my TBR stack wasn't high enough already. I love Stark House and $20 for three titles in one volume is a good deal.