Celebrating a sizzling summer of beach blanket pulp!
Girl on the Beach is one of the many great Beacon Books we bibliophiles and literati hunt for with extraordinary zeal. Published in 1960, right at the tail end of the Beat Generation’s hip angst and at the cusp of the swinging Sixties groove, the cover blurb says it all: “From out of the sea she came to him, naked and unashamed.” Girl on the Beach is about a painter named Shad Crispin, a genius who specializes in painting beautiful nude women. One can easily imagine Crispin painting the cover for any Beacon or Monarch paperback from this era. Crispin can deftly capture the loveliness of the female form with his oils. Girl on the Beach attempts to answer the question you have when gazing upon such covers. Was she as lovely in real life as she is on the cover of this book? What is it like for an artist to be surrounded by naked women all day? How does he cope with such alluring females? Author Max Day answers those questions with 157 pages of melodramatic, steamy prose. Crispin contends with two women, Cynthia Greer, an uninhibited doll and the subjects of Crispin’s passionate painting; and Lissa Cloud, the nymph tossed his way one morning out of the sea and onto the beach. Lissa is a mysterious character, and her happenstance meeting on the beach with Crispin sets in motion the sometimes murky and sometimes clever plot. There is a subplot here involving the market for forgeries of Impressionist paintings, and it all ties together after the obligatory meaningful dialogue, sensuous temptations, and testosterone laced action. Girl on the Beach is a well-written potboiler, and one of my favorites of the early Sixties Beacon titles that I own. So many of the Beacon paperbacks that I’ve read share in the high quality of the prose that I’m no longer surprised when I encounter them. Beacon paperbacks still demand a loyal following, and for good reason. The stories are entertaining and for my money really defined the entertainment value that “pocket paperbacks” epitomized. Girl on the Beach by Max Day is worth tracking down.