Archive for the ‘The Vengeful Virgin’ Category

The Vengeful Virgin is a Hard Case Crime Novel. Originally published in 1958, it has VengefulVirginvestiges of James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. The beautiful eighteen year old Shirley Angela has to take care of her aged, bed-ridden step father, Victor Spondell, primarily because she’s heir to his fortune and he has no one else. However, she’s lonely for a man and has devised a plan to meet one. On the pretext of putting an intercom throughout the house and purchase new TVs she decides TV repairman Jake Ruxton is the man (patsy) for her.

She tells Ruxton of the horrors of being at Victor’s beck and call. All her sexual frustrations come out after their first meeting and after having sex with her, he’s got it bad. Upon hearing how much money Shirley will inherit, he tells her that what she really wants, subconsciously, is to murder Victor and have the money to herself. He convinces her that that’s what they should do and she ultimately agrees. Ruxton, having no lack of ego, devises a plan, but, as with The Postman Always Rings Twice, things don’t necessarily go according to plan.

The Vengeful Virgin is caught between the old pulp mystery and the noir genres. Brewer’s career started with stories for the pulps in 1929 and continued through the early 1950s when he began writing crime novels. However, his stories never made it to Black Mask, the pinnacle of pulp mystery magazines and you can tell why. Although hard hitting and tough, the writing lacks something…finesse, location, I’m not sure what.  According to Twentieth Century Mystery and Crime Writers, most of his books reflect an average guy getting caught up with a beautiful, but evil and manipulative woman. So it is with The Vengeful Virgin, although, one can make a strong case that Ruxton was the evil and manipulative one. This was an OK read, but not one to make its way to my home library. (I do like the cover, though.)

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