Thursday, January 14, 2021

Tokey Wedge #01 - Nympho Lodge

Jack Lynn was a pen name for a writer named Max Van DerVeer who authored 22 books starring a diminutive private eye named Tokey Wedge between the years 1959 and 1965. A new reprint house called Grizzly Pulp is reprinting the Tokey Wedge books as mass-market paperbacks printed on wood pulp paper beginning with the first installment, Nympho Lodge - originally published in 1959 by Novel Books.

The Tokey Wedge paperbacks are light-hearted - yet hardboiled - private detective stories that don’t take themselves too seriously. Tokey himself is 5’6” and 140 pounds. His narration and the plotting reminds me of Richard Prather’s Shell Scott books. In this case, Tokey is hired as a bodyguard for a wealthy woman named Janice going through an ugly divorce and receiving cryptic threatening letters. The splitting couple both live at a resort they co-own called The Wagon Wheel. Tokey moves into the resort, so he can be closer to his client and determine who, if anyone, is trying to kill her.

At the lodge, we quickly meet the Nymphos. To be fair, it not clear that any of them have been clinically diagnosed with nymphomania, but every woman Tokey encounters at the lodge is beautiful, stacked, and hot to trot. By 2020 standards, the novel has some retrograde attitudes toward women as sex objects. However, the book is pure escapist fiction from 1959, so no actual women were objectified in it’s creation. You should know by now if this is your thing or not. The paperback is sexier than most 1959 crime novels but nowhere close to graphic or explicit by today’s standards.

Amid the flirty hijinks and sexual innuendos, there is a decent mystery to be solved at Nympho Lodge, and Tokey proves himself to be a competent, funny, and tough private detective. At times, it felt like a dirty Agatha Christie book with a finite number of people in a lodge getting killed off one by one while our intrepid investigator gets laid and solves the mystery. For comparison purposes, I enjoyed spending 174 big-font pages with Tokey Wedge far more than I’ve ever liked a Shell Scott paperback. Nympho Lodge isn’t a mystery masterpiece, but it’s definitely a lot of sexy fun.

Grizzly Pulp did a marvelous job packaging the physical product of this paperback. The pulp paper is soft and readable. The novel comes with a removable black cover masking the lusty sleaze art, so you can read on a crowded city bus without inviting the side-eye from squares. My only criticism is that there were lots of line-break errors in the text and several other typos. It was nothing that stopped me from enjoying the story, but the Grizzly Pulp proofreader shouldn’t rely on optical character recognition programs to do all the work.

Mostly, I’m thrilled that an enterprising, grassroots publisher has brought Tokey Wedge back to life. This is a fun series that deserves a second chance at building a readership. Recommended.

Buy a copy HERE

1 comment:

  1. I ordered my copy and quickly received it from Grizzly, plus lots of extra goodies. A fun surprise! But the best thing was how fun the actual story was. Unlike you, I am a big Shell Scott fan (own them all, as a matter of fact). I'm not sure I agree that Lynn is better than Prather, but it was a fun, quick read that I enjoyed tremendously!

    Definitely a book written in the late fifties/early sixties. Maybe not politically correct now-a-days, but still fun and enjoyable! Well worth ordering a copy for yourselves, if you haven't already discovered Tokey Wedge. I'll be on the look out for others in the series!

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