By Robert Moore (Ophelia Press; 1971)
Reading this delirious relic from the glory days of erotic fiction, it occurred to me that there exist very few fictional treatments of the horrors of castration. The only serious contenders I can think of are Jim Thompson’s THE NOTHING MAN and EAT THEM ALIVE by Pierce Nace, and MADAM SEX THIEF outdoes both in grossness and outrage.
The narrator is a young stud named Ray who’s possessed with a massive cock, which is apparently both a gift and a curse: “It’s rather annoying to strip in front of a woman and have her notice only that one little–well, not little, I guess, but that one item.” It’s this “item” that helps attract the gorgeous Deirdre, a filthy rich bitch Ray meets while searching for his long-lost brother. Following a tryst in a Texas hotel Ray is ensnared in a whirlwind marriage to Deirdre and whisked away to her family “ranch,” actually a silver mine run by Deirdre’s brother Paul, whose employees include an ex-Nazi doctor who performs unholy experiments.
Author Robert Moore is careful to layer in plenty of minutely described fucking. For the first hundred or so pages, in fact, the sex appears to be the book’s sole reason for being. But then the story’s true spark becomes apparent: it turns out Deirdre and her brother share an incestuous relationship, and that their silver mine is manned by lobotomized slaves. The latter are victims of clandestine penis transplants, performed by the Nazi doctor in an effort to replace Paul’s member, which was burned off years earlier in a car accident. The only problem is that the transplanted penises degenerate after a few months, requiring a steady stream of new donors–with the well endowed Ray being the latest candidate.
The book’s latter sections, after Ray undergoes his enforced castration, are when things really pick up. The sexual content remains extremely copious, though far more resonant, with passages, such as the one in which Deirdre forces the castrated Ray to watch as she has sex with Paul (with Ray’s own transplanted penis!), that work on multiple levels. In other words, the proceedings go far beyond the simple-minded stroke fodder of most erotic fiction.
Mind you, I’m not suggesting this novel is some kind of undiscovered masterpiece, as for all its demented invention MADAM SEX THIEF is still very much a tawdry fuck book, being trashy, implausible and misogynistic in the extreme. It is, however, definitely above average for its type, and indeed, with a little spit and polish (i.e. the sex toned down and the narrative beefed up) it could stand as a credible piece of pulp fiction worthy of taking up shelf space alongside the work of pervy pulpmeisters like Charles Platt and Michael Perkins.