Saturday, 5 May 2012
A Sunset Touch
Author: Howard Spring
Year of publication: 1953, Fontana edition 1971
Back cover blurb: 'A moment of madness...
Suddenly, there on the moonlit cliff, I came face to face with Kitty. I longed to talk to her, but could only ask stupidly: "Where have you been?" She answered coldly: "I've been walking - Good night."
Before she could move, I threw myself upon her. I kissed her violently, such kisses as she had never before had from me. Though she resisted, my strength slowly overwhelmed her until she cried out in pain. With a singing in my ears I let her goa nd she struck me a blow in the face that left me dazzled and sick.
"You learned your lessons in the wrong shop. You musn't try them out on me." She turned and went quickly away.'
Quick flick reveals: Nothing screams 'Lost Book' than a novel by a man packaged like it's for the Mills & Boon market. Going by the cover, I was prepared for some seventies ridiculousness, so was quite surprised to find that the book is originally from the early fifties. Howard Spring was an esteemed and successful author in his day, whose work was adapted for a number of British and Hollywood films and was the source material for TV series right up into the eighties. As the century progressed, however, he has gently slipped into obscurity.
This book looks a perfectly solid piece of work, and seems to be a would-be bawdy picaresque in which the randy hero isn't allowed to get bawdy. I hope it turns out to be good. Maybe it is time for a Howard Spring Spring.
Random paragraph: 'She wasn't young, and I said to myself, "Thank God for that!" I was not happy with young women: I was happy with Kitty. Indeed, I had never been happy with a woman before, young or old. But she wasn't old. I wouldn't have that. She wasn't young, but she wasn't old. I thought of her as a flower, not a bud; but a flower that had not shed a petal.'