First released in 1958, primo pulp fiction starring knockout private eye-ful Honey West. Pour a martini, light up a Lucky, relax and enjoy.
Written by the husband-and-wife team of Gloria and Forest E. Fickling, this tale introduced an eventual 11 Honey West potboilers and a follow-up TV series. Our improbable sleuth is a Jayne Mansfield with va-va-voom measurements and a snubnose .32. She’s dogging a bestial wise guy who’s reduced a man’s mug to ground chuck: Herb Nelson, smarmy icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age and a star in kids’ flicks, has been crowned with his own Oscar. It hasn’t been Howdy Doody Time for Herb for years; he’s been strung out on heroin. When more corpses pile up, Honey wrinkles her cute brow to suss it all out. Such as it is, the plot’s a corker. But the main kick is the cool-jazz kitsch: stock charmers like tough/tender cop Mark Storm, hunky novelist Rod Caine, a pimple-faced junkie dubbed Danny Marbles. Not to mention a Playboy magazine fixation on high-priced hi-fis, Venus-shaped swimming pools and tres hip home furnishings. And talk about Hefneresque—it’s amazing how often Honey “loses” her bra or “tears” her swimsuit.
Fictional fluff that reminds us why Gloria Steinem was necessary.