Never Cheat Alone (Beacon, 1960)

One of Hitt’s suburban novels with desperate housewives and desperate husbands with big dreams.

Ricky is an ex-insurance salesman who has spent two years writing his “tell all” expose on the scams insurance agents and companies pull on unsuspecting people, and how not to get taken.  He believes if he publishes, distributes, and advertises the book himself, he will make a bundle of money.  He just needs to come up with $5K to print 10,000 copies, or even half of that…he believes within a year he’ll have “100 slaesmen working for me.”  No one believes in this book but him — not hus friends, not his wife, Beth, or even his city girlfriend, whose father is a printer and is getting him a deal on paper and ink.

His wife, Beth, when he’s gone, has been spending time with the widower next door, who sleeps with a lot of lonely housewives in the neighborhood.  There is also a rich divorcee, Dorothy Cain (for James Cain?), a vixen who not only seduces Ricky, but seduces Beth as well, so that she is secretly sleeping with both of them.

Ricky is pathetic, showing how low he’ll go to beg for the investment money.  He works for $200 a week at a grave stone company, and there’s always customers because people always die.

This isn’t one of Hitt’s best. It’s somber, but also boring — we don’t care about these people or their problems.

On the Hitt Scale, a 6.

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