Completing our tribute to Donald Westlake, the Book of the Week is All My Lovers (1959), from notorious sleaze publisher Midwood Books. This book is believed to have been written by Donald Westlake under his pseudonym Alan Marshall, which he used for dozens of soft-core pornographic novels.
There is a significant collectors' market for sleaze paperbacks published in the 1950's and 1960's. These books were created purely for titillation and are devoid of literary merit, yet part of their charm today is how innocent most of them are by current standards -- the sex is less explicit (sometimes thanks to hilariously creative euphemisms for body parts) than in many of today's romance novels. Few modern readers would be offended by the sex in these novels, although they would be disturbed by the misogynistic attitudes in many of them.
One of the reasons these sleaze novels have become collectors' items is that so many of them were writen for a quick paycheck by very talented authors who went on to successful careers, including Donald Westlake. Westlake admitted to writing 28 of these smut books under the Alan Marshall name, although some believe his count was over 40. It is all but impossible to determine for certain which Alan Marshall books were really written by Westlake, since he often lent the pseudonym to friends in need of a writing gig; however, multiple sources have listed All My Lovers as one of the Alan Marshall books Westlake wrote himself. Sometimes Alan Marshall wrote in collaboration with the pseudonym of another famous mystery writer, as we will see in a couple weeks -- but first we must determine if John Updike could ever be accused of writing science fiction or fantasy.