Gary Dexter

Surprising literary ventures | 16 August 2006

Cry Shame (1950)
by Katherine Everard

Cry Shame! is the torrid tale of a 13-year- old girl who leaves home to become a dancer: in her brief career she learns things she is too young to know, runs off with a man four times her age, assiduously breaks the seventh commandment, has an affair with an ‘ambisextrous’ Hollywood screen idol and ends her harlot’s progress in a seedy hotel room with sleeping pills and bourbon. ‘Definitely adult reading!’ bawled the Cincinnati Enquirer. ‘Frank and revealing!’ ululated the Dayton Daily News. What no one knew at the time was that Katherine Everard was a fresh-faced young man called Gore Vidal. Short of cash and facing an unofficial blacklisting from the press after publishing The City and the Pillar, Vidal wrote five pulp novels between 1950 and 1954, all of which sold well. Katherine’s surname came from The Everard, a gay bathhouse in New York. The story goes that Miss Everard was once invited, through her publishers, to speak at a women’s literary society — but instructed them to reply that she was too busy with other engagements.

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