“It was just another Thursday, the kind that comes around, oh, about once every week. I was working the graveyard shift for Max, a private dick I owed a favor to. I had an hour left to go and it had just started to rain. As I pulled my black, Auburn V-8 onto Dempsey Street, I saw her. There, under the street lamp, she was lighting a cigarette—wearing red stiletto heels and a Burberry trench coat. This was a dame with an eye for trouble, I thought. I stopped the car just feet from her. She paid no attention.”

“Get in!” I said.

Now what happens? Hank Janson would know (real name: Stephen D. Frances). Hank was the pulp fiction writer extraordinaire back in the 50s and early 60s. He lived and wrote in Britain and was revered in the paperback novel world. However, Hank was the victim of severe censorship by Britain’s “Home Office” when, in January of 1954, twelve jurors found him and his publisher/distributor guilty of obscenity. Janson was incredibly popular, having sold five million copies of his books in six years. Yet, the Home Office in Britain managed to burn or destroy over 350,000 books and novels, of which Janson’s paperbacks were prime examples. Respected researcher and pulp fiction historian Steve Holland gives a remarkable account of Janson’s life in his book: The Trials of Hank Janson. Available on Amazon. [ Janson novels now © Telos Publishing. ]

Reposted from 2008.

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