I must track this down
For some reason I managed to stay up far too late last night searching for pulp fiction set in Montreal, which if I’m not careful could spin out of control into an entire post of its own. And while certain aficionados have done a masterful job rounding up what’s out there in the PI world, I can’t find too much about Al Palmer’s SUGAR-PUSS ON DORCHESTER STREET (1950) beyond the following tagline: “a naive young Francophone woman from the Laurentians enters into sexual maturity and night-club society as a result of her contact with an Anglophone criminal underworld.”
For a brief taste of what the book has to offer, here’s a quote:
Leaving her bitter-sweet memories she travels west, past Guy Street and slowly wends her way past Victorian mansions now reeking of shabby gentility until she reaches Atwater. Once west of the city limits she loses herself in middle-class squalor. This is Dorchester Street. For this Gisele Lepine traded the cool cleanliness of a Laurentian village.
Palmer was a real character, to say the least — he’d written a popular column in the 1950s for the Montreal Herald called “Cabaret Circuit” about Montreal’s seedy nightlife and burgeoning underworld, but when that paper folded in 1957, he floundered for a while before turning up at the Gazette as their senior police reporter. He had to tone down some of the irreverency in print (much of which can also be found in his non-fiction account of the city’s exploits, MONTREAL CONFIDENTIAL, which I also must read), but didn’t stop hobnobbing with some of the most notorious people in the city — including stripper Lili St. Cyr, whom he had an affair with (at some point in between her six marriages.)
So if anyone knows where I could find this book — or MONTREAL CONFIDENTIAL, for that matter — I’d greatly appreciate it.
UPDATE: A copy is headed my way in the next couple of weeks. Thanks to all (especially Bill) for helping out.