Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Celestial Bed - by Irving Wallace

As in Wallace's The Seven Minutes this work explores a modern day witch hunt involving sex and an over zealous district attorney (Hoyt Lewis). Aided and abetted by a phony televangelist (Rev. Josh Scrafield), and an aspiring newspaper reporter suffering from premature ejaculation (Chet Hunter), Lewis sets out to investigate and arrest the renowned sex therapist Dr. Arnold Freeburg, and one of the sex surrogates he employs, the lovely Gayle Miller.

Ironically, it is Hunter's girlfriend Suzy Edwards, who is also Freeburg's secretary, who provides the lead that gets her employer arrested. In referring her boyfriend to the sex therapist she also unwittingly opens the door to the investigation.

Hunter and Edwards first meet at the Hillsdale Main Public Library, where Hunter is doing some research for hire:
This fellow, probably in his thirties, surely no more than five years older than she, was carrying some books from the shelves, and the only spot open was the chair next to hers. Apologetically, he eased into the chair tight against her own. She had been taken by him at once. He was of medium build, receding neat brown hair, high forehead, soulful brown eyes highlighted by steel-framed spectacles set near the tip of his pug nose, his manner reserved but obviously an intellectual type.
It is also clear, however, that his work at the Acme Research Bureau "digging up facts from countless sources for free-lance writers graduate students, magazines, newspapers" is no job for a real man, as it barely pays subsistence wages, and at least one of his clients, the Revered Josh Scrafield had always looked at the researcher with "mild contempt [and as] something of a frail grub and intellectual nerd, sallow and frightened of life".

Ultimately, Hunter sees the error of his ways (once he experiences a successful coupling with Edwards), and refuses to cooperate with the DA, and of course, is rewarded with the real job at the newspaper he always dreamed of. A true fairy tale ending in which good sex conquers all.

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