Tag Archives: Flat 4 Kings Cross

Pulp Friday: Outback Heiress

Outback Heiress Horwitz 1963

“Her past was a secret but she couldn’t hide her feelings for this daredevil cropduster!”

It wasn’t just men who wrote for Australia’s burgeoning pulp publishing industry in the fifties, sixties and seventies, many women did, too.

One of these was Irena Dickman AKA Rena Cross, the author of today’s Pulp Friday contribution, Outback Heiress, published by Sydney company Horwitz in 1963.

Biographical details for Dickman, like many local pulp authors, are thin on the ground. She was born in England and arrived in Australia in 1950. She appears to have been one of the stable of local writers put together by Horwitz in the early sixties.

The Austlit site credits her with twenty books. Her subjects included nurse and doctor yarns and torrid tales set in Sydney’s Kings Cross. The latter include Model School (publishing in 1963 under the pseudonym Christine James) and Flat 4 Kings Cross (three editions of which were published, in 1963, 1965 and 1966, under the name Geoffrey Tolhurst).

The Keys of Corruption another of her books (written as Rena Crane), was an Australian take on one of pulp’s favourite obsessions in the sixties – wife swapping.

If this post has piqued your interest about Australian pulp, join me on August 30 at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, for an illustrated talk about the hidden history of Australian pulp publishing in the fifties, sixties and seventies, part of the Melbourne Writers Festival.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Key of Corruption

Keys of Corruption“She wanted her man to be sophisticated and successful – but there was a price to pay.”

Life is busy at the moment, but not so busy I don’t have time to post a little Pulp Friday offering for your enjoyment.

Key of Corruption was published by Horwitz Publications in 1963. Rene Crane was one of several pseudonyms for Rena Cross, a regular Horwitz author.

Cross featured in a previous Pulp Friday post as the author of Flat  4 Kings Cross. Flat 4 Kings Cross originally appeared in 1963 under the name Geoffrey Tolhurst, and was was republished twice by Horwitz.

Key of Corruption is of interest because it’s a local book that gives an Australian take on one of pulp’s favourite obsessions in the sixties – wife swapping.

Here’s what the back cover says about the story:

“The key of corruption is a dangerous game and the stakes are high. Meet the players…

Marilyn and Keith – unsophisticated young newlyweds, fresh from the country, anxious to get ahead and be accepted by the city;

Jo-Anne – Marilyn’s pretty teenage sister, brimming over with youthful enthusiasm, ready to dare anything for a thrill;

Grant – the too-experienced older man whose charm Marilyn accepted at face value;

Greda – fabulous, sophisticated, beautiful divorcee, leader of a fast set… who organised the game for kicks… “

Pulp Friday: Flat 4 Kings Cross

“A raw and revealing novel of abandoned passions in Sydney’s twilight zone.”

Today’s Pulp Friday book is Flat 4 Kings Cross, by Geoffrey Tolhurst, published by Horwitz Publications in 1963.

As I’ve previously written on this site, the early to mid-sixties was the transition point during which the Australian pulp publishing industry stopped relying completely on reprints of overseas titles and stories and characters set in the US, and started to pump out stories set locally.

As was the case in the UK and America, much of this was kitchen sink and exploitation fiction, often dressed up as lurid exposés of drug use and sexual promiscuity. These fed off mainstream society’s fears of youth rebellion and changing sexual standards. The setting for much of this work was Sydney’s Kings Cross, which during the sixties, seventies and eighties was Australia best-known center of drug use and prostitution.

Prostitutes, beatniks, con men, drug dealers, bent cops, organized crime lords, innocent tourists and American servicemen on leave all rubbed shoulders in  ‘the Cross’ as it is referred to locally. To this, local pulp authors added Chinese Triad gangs enslaving white women, witches and warlocks and a host of other less believable characters.

Flat 4 Kings Cross is a great example of this sub-genre of Australian pulp. … Read more