THE PEDDLER by William Stevens
Kirkus Star


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Art Fuller is the hustler, striver, comer with the glad hand, the wink, the dirty joke and the ""crimped soul."" He's a music man who didn't make it and gave up his piano to sell. Valves. He lives in a development house with his wife, Marie, whom he loves, really, and except for Jessica, a pro (""a grand diddle""), this part of his life is pretty straight. Now, under Roscoe, who has worked-- gouged-- his way up in the firm, Art is being used to crack an account they've wanted for twenty years. Art has Frank Kletter, a subordinate, over for one of those sodden suburban barbecues; and before he's through he has taken Kletter's superior out on the town and fixed him up with Jessica. The peddler--well he's a pimp. The piece of the action here takes place in reception rooms, offices, men's clubs, bars, at a Convention, and a little fiesta for the industry called The Vaseline Rub. But Stevens (a first novel?) is not pushing cheap merchandise: his Life of a Salesman with ""nothing better to offer than prospects"" has quite a hook, some strong scenes, occupational savvy and a vernacular which not only separates the men from the boys but the natural writer from the hack. Sold.

Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.