What is meant by Vintage Sleaze?

Cherry Delight #1: Italian Connection – Blog #017 of the 156 “Pretty Faces” book cover challenge and book review

This is book #083 on the list of 156 books that Gardner Francis Fox wrote from 1953 to 1986. This is the twenty-fourth book I scratched out a cover for.

Genre: Vintage Sleaze / Sex espionage / Sexpliotation

The Library categorizes Cherry Delight, Lady from L.U.S.T. and some of the historical fiction that centers around naughty women of history as Bad Girls.

The Cherry Delight series of books are also referred to as the Sexecutioner series.

Cherry Delight, world’s sexiest crime fighter, gives her whole to the destruction of the Mafia.

second edition book cover for gardner f fox glen chase Cherry Delight first sexecutioner novels

The Sexecutioner series called Cherry Delight started in 1972. This is the second of twenty-four novels written by Mr. Fox. He wrote under the pseudonym Glen Chase, a house-name for Leisure Books. There was a second series of five books that came out in 1977, but these books were not written solely by Mr. Fox. They were written with Leonard Levinson and Rochelle Larkin.

A complete up-to-date Checklist can be found at Mr. Fox’s official website.

What is meant by Vintage Sleaze?

Books written with a heavy sexual tone in the 1950s and 1960s are referred to as vintage sleaze. Mr. Fox’s entire writing career spanned the rise and fall of the paperback novel industry. This means that a lot of the books that Mr. Fox wrote are now considered vintage sleaze. 

The paperbacks came directly from the pulps of the 1930s and 1940s. These were cheap and rough bits of fiction that were turned out for profit. Sex and violence were always touched upon. The 1970s saw an advancement from vintage sleaze to softcore adult entertainment (pornography). Vintage sleaze fits in the middle as an era of making these naughty novels a little more mature.

When it comes down to defining vintage sleaze we’re really talking about how much we’re talking about male and female genitalia and the compromising situations they will find themselves in. 

The stories are always told as situational adventures. There is little spiritual and/or emotional growth in the characters. The characters and plot function is to primarily entertain us in imaginary scenarios we all might not ever find ourselves in, but wish sometimes we would. 

This is also referred to as escapist fiction.

The Cherry Delight series starts off with this short paragraph:

I lay naked in my coffin. However, I was very much alive. My big brown nipples were standing up so stiffly, they actually ached. And my genital folds were positively twitching in sexual excitement, to say nothing of my slightly over-sized clitoris which was poking up between those scarlet lips.

That’s one hell-of-a-way to start a series. 

This is how she describes herself in the back cover description:

My name is Cherry Delight. I am just what the name implies, a delightful redhead. I work for N.Y.M.P.H.O. (The New York Mafia Prosecution and Harassment Organization) N.Y.M.P.H.O. is the secret organization dedicated to the wiping out of crime in general and the Mafia in particular. Its most effective executioner is a gorgeous red-headed sexpot named CHERRY DELIGHT! Cherry is a crack-shot. A black belt in judo. A Sherlock Holmes in detection. But her most effective weapon is SEX. If she can’t blow out their brains, she can blow their minds.

She is one hell of a woman. The first chapter of Italian Connection goes on to describe how her current situation is a set up for her next assignment.

Now believe it or not, I was hard at work. Fact! But since I work for N.Y.M.P.H.O.—the New York Mafia Prosecution and Harassment Organization—some of my work takes me into the damnedest places. Like this expensive silver and mahogany coffin, for instance.

The handsome young man with the feather in his hand with which he had been tickling my rather large mammaries and my even more intimate private parts, drew a sobbing breath. Mark Condon is my contact man with N.Y.M.P.H.O., which means he brings me the orders which the boss-man of the organization, called The Controller, wants me to carry out.

The entire chapter one of Italian Connection is available on Mr. Fox’s official website.

Cherry’s mission is always to get her man or woman. The thing that makes one want to read these silly little pervy stories is to see how she gets in and out of her situations. The story for the Italian Connections sends Cherry to the motherland of the Mafia: Italy, to find and steal a secret weapon away from them. 

The way she kills her first contact with the Mafia in chapter one is quite arousing. 

The original front and back cover for glen chase's Italian Connection gardner f fox

Originally published in 1972 by Leisure books

The cover Artist: Uncredited

I digitally transcribed this book on my own in 2017. 

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter five of Italian Connection to give more insight to Cherry’s tactics for interrogating evil-doers:

Just the same, I did work for S.P.E.R.M.

He was slobbering over my nipples, his hands on my inner thighs and pushing them apart, when I finally got my tongue to working.

“How did you find out about the robbery, honey?” I asked.

He chuckled around my wet left nipple. “The comtesse told me. She hears everything, that one. Didn’t I tell you so at her villa?”

“Oh, yeah. The blackmail bit. You did mention it.”

I wanted to push him away, but he would not push. The man seemed to be made of iron, though to look at him you’d think he was the scrawniest, weakest male on the boat. He was between my legs in no time and driving forward, right on target. He went into me all the way and I must admit, his seesawing activity felt pretty good.

But I had one weapon in my arsenal, at least. My interior muscles tightened up on him, held his stiff penis as if in a vise. His hips went on jerking back and forth, but he didn’t slide inside me, I was holding him too tightly.

“How could the Countess know, lovey?”

“Wha—what? Ne me tormenta pas! You’re killing me. Let go, let go. I can’t move.”

“Tell me what I want to know, I wheedled, running fingernails down his back to his buttocks. I gave a little ripple with those constrictor cunnae muscles as he let out a moan of pleasure.

“Mamma can be nice,” I promised, “if you tell her what she wants to know.”

“I can’t, my darling. I just can’t.”

I got the feeling, staring up at his frustrated face above me, that my old goat could answer any question I had to ask about the Countess, about her methods of learning local scandals. And for some reason, I didn’t think he was afraid of Colette de Vaux.

Why wouldn’t he talk, then? I eased back, lying spread-eagled on the carpet, with my nipples pointing up at the ceiling, while he half-crouched, half-knelt above me. He was buried deep inside me. He couldn’t have gotten away from my constrictor cunnaes unless I wanted him to. So I started applying some pudendal pressure.

I began milking him with those interior muscles. He gasped like a gaffed fish, mouth open and his eyes rolling in his head as I worked on him. The sensations must have been terrific, because his body jerked and flopped around on me as though there were a clockwork mechanism inside him that had gone haywire.

Both my bare feet were propped on the carpeting, letting me use my legs and my hips in a levering movement that swung him up and around.

In seconds he was yelling.

“Sacre bleu! C’est coince! It’s stuck inside you! My God, woman! What are you doing to me?”

I let my behind sink to the carpet, dragging him down on me. I whispered, “Come on, give. Tell me how the Countess found out. Were those men with the binoculars keeping an eye on Bocca and Francesco and me to make sure we wouldn’t know about the robbery? Is that it? Does she have a private little army of spies who watch the guests she robs?”

His face was a contorted mask of frustration. I held him in my pudendal pincers, tight. He nodded, torn between his need for completion and his apparent fear of la comtesse. I twisted my loins and he damn near screamed. He was so hot, he was helpless in my genital grasp.

“Tell me, Etienne. Tell me.”

It was like a bit of humping hypnotism. His eyes glared down at me from his sun-browned face, his hair was up every which way, and his lips were grotesquely writhing.

“Does she—blackmail you, too?” I breathed.

He nodded. “Oui, Oui. She is very—powerful, that woman. She has—friends—all over. One never knows when one of her spies is—at the elbow. You understand?”

I eased up on him, letting him pump away. With a sob of pleasure, he did just that, slamming in and out of me as if his life depended on it. Maybe it did, because I think if I hadn’t given him that body-wrenching, hip-bucking sexual relief, he might have had a heart attack.

For a few seconds he rammed into me, his flesh dissolving in a wash of what the French call colle. He shook and quivered like a mad thing. Then he collapsed on me.

That’s one way to be interrogated. And she has 101 more ways to come.

Using sex as a weapon has me very interested. In America, we live in a culture of violence. Some say it’s a culture of Sex and Violence. But the sex part is very suppressed. Cherry Delight as an action character spends the majority of her adventure fighting with her mind and body as weapons, then the usual fists and pistols we see in action-adventure novels and films.

I have only read six of the twenty-four Cherry Delights and my interest in this type of action-adventure character has become more and more of an obsession. I don’t know if it’s my getting older (I’ll be the big five-O two days from this blog being posted) but I’m less interested in seeking out stories saturated in fighting and violence lately.

I also feel like action man violence is so over the top. I will admit, Keanu Reeves in The John Wick films are very captivating and as I mentioned in another blog, I really enjoyed Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron. But what if Atomic Blonde had less physical violence and more Cherry Delight style action? 

Well, I think the answer to my question would be: then it would be pornography.

I don’t want to set up a soapbox and preach anything in particular, but since I have twenty-four of these Cherry Delights to transcribe, illustrate, and review, as well as the twenty-five Lady from L.U.S.T., I better come up with a format to hang within when reviewing these particular books Mr. Fox wrote.

The two series make up one-third of his library and they will not be ignored. They will be discussed. The topic of sex with the feminine stereotype will be at the forefront of my reviews.

The major reason I’m writing this blog is to get to know Mr. Fox as a man and an artist. He had to make certain choices in order to stay creative and feed a family. It would be easy to judge and dismiss these two series as just vintage sleaze. Trash that should be dumped and forgotten, but I will stand to argue, if we want to truly understand something, we must let it be, We should leave it alone and admire it for what it is.

scratcboard art book cover illustration for glen chase italian connection kurt brugel gardner f fox

I create the cover illustrations to size. I work on 6 x 6 black Ampersand Scratchboard. The book covers are 6 x 9, which leaves 3 inches for text. I want a clean “Penguin Books” look and feel to the covers. I’m using the “Pretty Faces” motif to keep a unified look and feel to the whole library. The back cover has an image of the original cover, the date it was originally printed, and the original story description.

I used this photo reference of Veronica Zemanova to inspire the cover illustration I scratched out for Italian Connection.

internet babe model Veronica Zemanova

Veronica Zemanova has been around since the dawn of the public’s access to the internet. She is apart of the first wave of internet babes, also known as “downloadable babes”. Danni Ashe was the biggest of these beauties. Ms. Ashe at one time proclaimed to be the “Most Downloaded Woman” on the internet. I used Ms. Zemanova’s likeness to pay homage to another female character portraying sexuality for entertainment means.

The way Mr. Fox describes Cherry Delight always made me think of Ms. Zemanova’s body. As a real-life person with a few minor enhancements, she comes off as a bit cartoonish. Just like Ms. Delight.

Here’s a short video I put together of me working on the scratchboard process. 

I have had many positive comments about the new “Pretty Faces” covers. I feel pretty confident I will be able to do all 156 book covers, that I’ve challenged myself to do, as well as transcribe and review for The Library. 

I encourage you to join my Newsletter to get notifications of when I’ve posted a new blog entry. 

If you’d like to own a digital or a paperback copy of Italian Connection, you can order eBooks Here and Reprints Here.

I will not be working on books in the order as Mr. Fox wrote them. I am doing the book cover designs and reviews based on when the transcribers who are assisting me, finish one. As they complete a book, it will be the newest release, so it will get a new book cover design and review. I also have to go back and replace the photo-bashed covers I made when I first started the Gardner Francis Fox Library in 2017. Here’s the one I did for Italian Connection.

photo-bashed book cover for gardner f fox's italian connection written as glen chase
This is a little over the top, but not horrible.

Thank you for stopping by and finding out more about what I’m doing. You can also see all of the books that have been transcribed so far by visiting The Gardner Francis Fox Library’s official website.


Kurt Brugel

Custodian & Illustrator

I’d like to thank Paul Bishop for his two websites: Spy, Guys and Gals and Forgotten Books: Sex Espionage!

And Joe Kenney for his Glorious Trash blog.

They were both excellent resources for researching the vintage sleaze topic.