In 1963, Harry Whittington sold a book titled “To Find Cora” to a sleaze publishing house after the novel had been rejected by Fawcett Gold Medal. The book was later released under the salacious title - “Cora Is A Nympho.” Three years later, the plot was slightly revised and re-sold as “Flesh Snare” by J.X. Williams published with a tawdry - and misleading -S&M cover.
In 2009, Stark House reprinted “To Find Cora” in a three-book compilation along with two other Whittington rarities and a fascinating introduction by David Laurence Wilson detailing Whittington’s foray in the 1960s porno book market. By today’s standards, the sex in “To Find Cora” is extremely tame, but it remains a damn fine noir novel that modern readers will no doubt enjoy.
“To Find Cora” is narrated by Joe who is searching for his estranged wife after she left him following a domestic dispute. We quickly learn that fights between Joe and Cora were not unusual occurrences, so nobody takes Joe seriously as he’s trying to find his bride following her disappearing act. The other issue is that Cora is quite a looker, and the working theory is that she’s found another man. This doesn’t dissuade Joe who is certain he can win Cora back if he can just speak to her for a few minutes.
Joe’s obsessive hunt for Cora brings him to a desolate Oklahoma farmhouse on a hot tip. Instead of Cora, Joe finds a young couple named Hall and Vy who are hiding out from the law. Vy is a lusty vixen fully disillusioned by her man while turning her eyes on Joe. Meanwhile, Hall is a savage paranoiac who won’t let Joe leave for fear that he’ll notify the police. As such, Joe finds himself taken prisoner in the couple’s farmhouse hideaway.
I can only imagine that readers looking for a cheap porno novel after purchasing “Cora Is A Nympho” or “Flesh Snare” were super confused as they were thrust into this suspenseful noir - almost horror - novel. Overall, “To Find Cora” is in the upper echelon of Whittington’s paperbacks. There’s a central mystery, a duplicitous and alluring femme fatale, a psychotic adversary, and an unstable tinderbox of violence waiting to explode. It’s both a hard novel to put down and an easy recommendation for you.
Buy a copy of this book HERE