Three Strange Women by Kay Addams (Beacon Books, 1960)

Three Strange Women

Hitt as dyke author again, and another one of those morality tales about the evils of Lesbos…and toss in bra models and nudie pics and young women desperate for money, love, and dreams oflife beyond a small town.

This one is a bit soap operaish; it’s also rather short, with big type and wide margins to get past page 150, but really is only around 30K words split into three 10K sections. So it’s a quick read about three women caught up in the cheap modeling business, which also means prostitution, nude photos and stag reels.

Norma is a young woman with a 36 inch bust so is good for bra modeling. Gail has a 40 inch bust and 40 inch waist so is good for girdles and panty modeling, but she also doubles as a call girl. She happens to hate men, so makes them pay as she has expensive tastes in clothes. She desires women for sex and doesn’t keep it a secret.

Susan is a 19 year old girl in love with Norma’s sort of boyfriend, Sam, whom she eventually romances. She works as a cashier at a supermarket and lives with her cantankerous aunt who constantly calls her a slut and a tramp. She hates both, so goes into modeling to make more money and move away from her aunt. But she’s not willing to do nude modeling or sleep with clients — until she is down to her last dollar.

Norma and Gail get an apartment together. They drink a lot. All three of these women drink in excess because they are miserable and lost. Gail seduces Norma.

Norma is afraid of men. She was raped when she was young by a boarder in her parents’ house, a Harry Evans (the same name as the hero of Barry Malzberg’s BEYOND APOLLO [Random House, 1972] and my novel A BED FULL OF MONEY [Blue Moon, 2005], but neither of these are middle aged child rapists like Hitt’s)…it was a terrifying experience, which is why she won’t sleep with Sam. She only dates him and half-heatedly accepts his diamond ring because he’s in a high management position at the mail order catalogue company she models for, and she wants the new job of model manager that he can help her get — she’s basically using him and doesn’t care, as long as she can move up and stop modeling herself.

She finds sex with Gail tender and nice…but she is also conflicted about being a lesbian. She is not comfortable with the label as Gail is.

When Norma leaves Gail, finally, and moves into a hotel, Gail loses it. She has had a string of young girl lovers who always burn her and she thought it was love with Norma. She confronts Norma in her room and attacks her — similar to the ending of QUEER PATTERNS, we have a psycho dyke who slashes up the women who rejects her.

Gail goes to jail, but the judge thinks she’s “sick” and wants her to get help. It’s a somewhat strange and pro-lesbian ending, with Gail laughing at the judge’s contention that she can be “cured.” Gail may be a tormented lesbian, but she’s not conflicted about her desires. Plus, there are plenty of women for her to play with behind bars, right?

Not a bad Kay Addams novel, just repetitive of QUEER PATTERNS, but different in that this one revolves around three women — if a Hitt hero doesn’t have three lovers, Hitt has three female protagonists. What is it with “three” that Orrie Hitt is drawn to?

LUCY is by far the best of the Kay Addams novels, and I will read the Novel Books “autobio” next week or so. There’s a few more under this pen name I have to get still.

4 Responses to “Three Strange Women by Kay Addams (Beacon Books, 1960)”

  1. Brian Ritt Says:

    I think your Hitt-count might be higher than mine now, haha. (I snobbishly refuse to use internet acronyms–such as the one that starts and ends with the letter “L”–if at all possible. Again, haha, look at how much space I wasted with my stupid snobbishness, when I could have ended the whole matter with just three little letters.)
    I’ve got two questions:
    1.)How many Hitt’s do you now own, written both under his own name and under pseudonyms? Not including doubles or reprints, counting a hardback book and it’s paperback version as one book, etc.?
    2.)How many Hitt’s have you read? Same guidelines as question #1.

  2. orriehittfan Says:

    1) about 90 on the shelves and 10 coming in the mail…seems I still have 45-50 more to get.

    2) I haven’t kept count on what I have read, but whatever the number is on this blog is how many I have read, although I still have to write reviews of FEMALE DOCTOR (okay) and THE CHEATERS (excellent crime noir).

  3. Brian Ritt Says:

    So is your goal to buy every Orrie Hitt book? After reading them all, will you sell some and keep some, sell them all, keep them all, or have no idea and just want me to shut up with the questions, haha (snob factor–there it goes again).

  4. orriehittfan Says:

    I like to get complete collections of certain writers — e.g., I have almost all Barry Malzberg except for his hard to locate Mel Johnson books for Midwood; all Harlan Ellison, Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish, Don DeLillo, Bret Elis, Scott Sommer, Robert Solverberg’s SF, have all of Silverberg’s pen names except for a few, etc…

    Obviously I will probably not get the Vest-Pockets as they are far too expensive or Pandra Bear Passion unless I find one cheap.

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