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FIONA RICHMOND
From Here To Virginity


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Star, London, 1981
(price: 1.25; 152 pages)

dedication: To Charles Berman, for all the love and laughs...


The blurb on the back:

Lucinda Middleton was forty-five and finished. Her husband was into younger women and she was into bigger brandies. Even her best friend said she needed a face-lift. So when she caught her husband at her birthday party on top of yet another nymphet she did the only possible thing - Reeves the butler.
One divorce and two years later, Lucinda looks ten years younger. As Ms Wallace she starts a voyage of sexual conquest that gives her back not only her youth but also any other youth she can get her hands on. And as owner/editor of Sauce, the red-hot magazine for men, she can have anyone and anything, any way she wants it. She's the queen of high-gloss passion - as long as no one discovers her secret of eternal youth...
Faster and lustier than ever before, this is Fiona at her best!


opening lines:
Lucinda woke up in bed with the butler.


Judging by my web-stats, Fiona Richmond is a still major draw, the #1 search-string that brings people to this site: in the first 15 months of Trash Fiction being online, she out-stripped (as it were) her nearest rival by a margin of over 2:1. I'm not sure how flattered I am by this, but it does reflect the enormous fondness with which Ms Richmond is regarded by a section of the British public. Her pulling power remains undiminished. (I'm sorry, I'm finding it difficult to keep my double entendres under control.)

Back in the late-1970s and early-1980s, in her heyday when she was attempting a cross-over into the lightweight mainstream, she was considered so big that Star Books slapped her name on the covers of a series of soft-porn novels in an attempt to flog them to Men Only readers. (Incidentally, I apologise to Ms Richmond if she did actually write the books, but my assumption is that she was no more the author of these novels than Naomi Campbell was the author of Swan.) From Here To Virginity is a prime example of the series, and seems to have twin inspirations: firstly, there's a punning title; secondly, the recent success of Ken Russell's Altered States suggested a plot-line in which someone regresses through their life in a de-aging process.

So, the story is that a woman in her forties splits from her husband, feels sexually redundant and rejected and finds an experimental surgeon who has discovered the secret of eternal youth. She has the necessary operation and overnight regains her erotic appeal and appetite... I'm sure you don't really need me to tell you that the book's not very good: the sex scenes are occasional and not very exciting, and there's nothing else much to recommend it. Still that's pretty much what you expect from a paperback soft-porn novel designed to be sold in John Menzies and similar top stockists. In its favour, one could point out that the woman on the cover at least looks like a woman, which makes a sharp contrast to so many of the Black Lace-type products of more recent vintage.

Just in case you're interested in the science of rejuvenation, the technique here involves the implant of the testicles of a dog or a bull. I really wouldn't recommend you try this at home. You might do better to try Aldous Huxley's Time Must Have A Stop, where the longevity of carp - and the practical applications of using extracts from the fish on human beings - is given more serious consideration.

Also by Fiona Richmond in Star: Fiona, The Story of I, On The Road, The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful and Galactic Girl.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 1/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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