The Peeper (Beacon Books, 1959)

Hitt -- Peeper

Hitt has written a lot of books about the urge to peep into windows — The Peeper, Lust Prowl, I Prowl at Night, Peeping Tom, Unnatural Urge, with guys peeking into windows on the covers of Ellie’s Shack and Frustrated Women, and peepers in the storyline of Warped Woman. I have a feeling peepers show up in other books.

Hitt must have had his own peeper urges. He understood the desire and need of voyeurism.  This is why amateur porn is often more popular than professional porn — it doesn’t seem contrived, but real, as if peeking in on people…

What is the reader of lurid books, but a textual voyeur?  When cars stop on the freeway to peep an accident; when reality shows in people’s home attract an audience of voyeurs.

Which peeper Hitt book to start with?  Decided on the first one, The Peeper.

The narrator: Larry, reporter for the newspaper of a small town of 10,000.  He covers city council meetings, the police beat, does editorials now and then.  The paper is run by Janet, who inherited it from the publisher she was married to.

Larry is dating a fellow reporter, Nan.  He eventually asks her to marry him.  They get married and he moves out of his rooming house digs and they find an apartment.

No one knows he is a peeping tom. The town is a stir about a peeping tom looking at woman at night gazing into windows, breaking in and stealing bras and panties.  Larry covers the story about himself, keeping track of what clues the cops have.

He hates that he’s a peeper but he can’t help himself.  He knows he needs help. He gets urges and he cannot sleep, so he prowls at night looking for open windows, for lights, for women.  He finds the act of peeping more sexually satisfying than sex itself.

Aside from his wife Nan, he gets sex from two other women: a young girl at the rooming house and an old flame of his, the first girl he had sex with, no a waitress, mother of three, and part time hooker.  She was 16 at the time and he was 12. She showed him the way.

Seems his mother was a prostitute as well, and he was sent to the country to live with his grandmother and aunt.  His aunt kept her bedroom door and windows open all the time, and he would see her, this boy, and he would watch her, and this seems to be the impetus for his peeping tom fetish.

In one incident, he goes to see his boss at her house but peeps her window instead, discovering she is having a lesbian affair with the newspaper’s receptionist.

Larry thinks that if he gets married and has regular sex, a woman in his bed, his peeping needs will subside. They don’t.  He gets up at midnight and prowls till 4 am, and the comes home.

He crosses the line when he breaks into a woman’s house and rapes her.  He has no idea why he did that but it happened, and he was dumb enough to leave fingerprints behind, plus a lighter from a Maine resort where he had his honeymoon.

His acocount is written from prison.  He is waiting as he does his time, and his wife says she will be there for him when he gets out, because she knows he is sick and needs help.

A good book but a lot of padding to get in the 60K words. This is really a novella and the padding makes it very repetitive and at times just boring.

Not Hitt’s best, but not his worst, either.  I am curious now how his other peeping novels are…

Plus his suburban cheating novels, which I have not gotten to yet, or his summer resort novels, or his union boss novels, or his stripper novels.

Hitt - Subruban Sin

hitt - summer hotel

Hitt - Libby Sin

3 Responses to “The Peeper (Beacon Books, 1959)”

  1. […] The Peeper by Orrie Hitt Reviewed here. […]

  2. […] novels and similar, somewhat, in approach to his first, The Peeper, that I talked about eariler — the peeper in that one was a small town newspaper reporter; in this one, he, Jimmy Stone, […]

  3. […] one of Hitt’s peeping tom books; this one is written with much more confidence and grace than The Peeper and Peeping Tom. The prose is so smooth that I have a feeling the editorial hand was involved here […]

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