Le noir sied aux blondes (Black Suits Blondes) is a fascinating glimpse into the French sexual and political scene in the late 1950s. The text is by one ‘Lyneczy-Stan’, which appears nowhere other than in connection with this book, but for the genre is well-told and intelligent, often using Paris street slang to colour the dialogue.

Two Guineans have opened a bar, the Mambo, in the down-at-heel Paris district of Barbès-Rochechouart, where ‘all the cuties of Paris come in search of dark-skinned men to play with’. The two ‘Norafs’ who run Mambo persuade some of the girls to join the local prostitutes, run by ‘a gang of Arab pimps’ connected with the Algerian FLN (Front de Libération Nationale), who are in the process of taking the business over from the previous ‘Corsican scum’. The moral is that novelty can be liberating if you’re a young woman prepared to expand your sexual experience, but it’s not always a good idea to hang out with known thugs.

No acknowledgement is given to the illustrator for Le noir sied aux blondes, but they are very similar to a companion volume, Les Imprudences de Monique (Monique’s Indiscretions), which gives the artist’s name as ‘Lyne Goginitault’, another name which appears nowhere else. The drawings are not unskilled, and this is one of the few times when black men are included in erotic illustration without any temptation to stereotype them as predators with ‘darkie’ faces and impossible penises.

Altogether a very mysterious production, with no publisher's name or place of publication given.

We are grateful to Steve Mullins of the Olympia Press website (www.parisolympiapress.com) for these illustrations.