The Virgin Huntress (1951) – Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

The Virgin Huntress (1951) – Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
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Raymond Chandler once called her “the top suspense writer of them all.” Born in Brooklyn in 1889, Holding married British diplomat George E. Holding in 1913 and together they traveled widely in South America and the Caribbean before settling in Bermuda for awhile. She published 25 novels in her lifetime—19 of them mysteries—and a wide variety of short stories. She died in 1955. — [Oct 2006]

Max Ophüls directed her story The Blank Wall as The Reckless Moment. The 2001 American film The Deep End (by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, who were also behind Suture) is based upon the same text. Many of her works were published by Ace Books. Ace Books is famous for publishing William Burroughs’s Junkie in 1953:

Ace Books primarily catered to New York City subway riders, and competed in the same market as comic book, real crime and detective fiction publishers. Ace published no hardcover books, only cheap paperbacks, which sold for very little; Burroughs earned less than a cent royalty on each purchase.

Most libraries at the time did not buy Ace books, considering them trivial and without literary merit, and Ace paperbacks were never reviewed by literary critics. At the time of its publication, the novel was in a two-book (“dos-à-dos”) omnibus edition (known as an “Ace Double”) alongside a previously published 1941 novel called Narcotic Agent by Maurice Helbrant. Burroughs chose to use the pseudonym “William Lee”, Lee being his mother’s maiden name, for the writing credit. The subtitle of the work was Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict: An Ace Original. This edition is a highly desired collectible and even below-average condition copies have been known to cost hundreds of dollars. The United States Library of Congress purchased a copy in 1992 for its Rare Book/Special Collections. — [Oct 2006]

See also: crime fictionAmerican literature1951