His life could be taken as that of an affectionate lampoon of that of Dennis Wheatley. Those unfamiliar with his work could be directed towards Franklin Marsh's possibly forthcoming tome 'Black Sorcery' (if the lazy git would get his finger out and do the cover) in which more of the psychic investigator's adventures (and uneasy relationship with his nephew) shall be revealed. But don't hold your breath. The Flamebabe is 106.
I believe somewhere on the internet there's a scan of a small shot of this author which was found in a file folder salvaged from a bin somewhere near a block of publishing offices in London. He's smoking a pipe, has a beard and is squinting rather ominously. It is presumed that the photo was to have been used on the back cover of one of his books but the title was banned before it was even published.
I must confess the only novel-length work of Gregory Pendennis that I’ve read was his BOOK OF LIES which I found heavy going in places; so much so, I ended up scanning through the final hundred odd pages and highlighting the depraved and filthy bits for later consumption.
Little detail is known of Mr Pendennis’ life. An early career in journalism was unremarkable, and his time spent in the Paris of expatriates, between the world wars, the time of Joyce, Pound and Hemingway along with a million other would-be bohemians (predominantly Americans), some of whom remember Pendennis as a silent presence with an air of shy superiority. Although I believe it was Fitzgerald in his later memoir of Paris described Pendennis as a pervert!
Hemingway one-time challenged Pendennis to a boxing match (according to Gertrude Stein), but Pendennis declined the invitation due to a prior engagement with a notorious Parisian prostitute.
It was the Olympia Press publication in 1953/54 of JOHN SILVER’S MEMBER that launched Pendennis’ controversial writing career afresh.
Back in London Pendennis continued frequenting prostitutes (an expense he offset as book research against taxes), and providing little supper parties for his four or five close friends which usually consisted of toasted cheese sandwiches and opium. It was while in London he wrote THE THIEVES OF PLEASURE which was banned in England soon after publication. This was quickly followed by THE SEX LIFE OF DONALD, HARRY AND JANE, which was also banned after publication.
Undeterred, Mr Pendennis continued to write until the end of his long, lascivious life, turning out another eighty titles, most of which are now, sadly, forgotten.
Welcome (back) Peedeel, and thank you for shedding further light on the seemingly multiple lives of Mr. Pendennis. That Fantastic Fiction, Locus, ISFDB et al have studiously overlooked the voluminous output of "the monarch of derring-do" (Daily Sketch) is one of the great mysteries of the technological age. One hesitates to use the words "sinister" and "conspiracy," but is it mere coincidence that a legal challenge mounted by the so called "Illuminati" halted publication of Pendennis tour de force, Did the Monster of Glamis sink the Titanic & Other Mysteries, for over three decades?
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.