The Girl with the Sweet Plump KneesBy: Dewey, Thomas B. (male)
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 836: PS3507 .E883 G574 1963
Contributor: K. Swiatek
GeneralEra: 1960s Author as on Cover: Thomas B. Dewey Geographic Locale: Las Vegas, Nevada; Palm Springs, California; Hibbard, California (fictional) Date of Publication: 1963 | Original Date: 1963 Setting: wealthy suburbs and urban and small towns; some parts of the story occur in larger or smaller communities. For example, Las Vegas, Palm Springs and the beach area of Los Angeles are wealthy, but Hibbard is a "gravel town" built to house laborers in the town's gravel pit. Most of the characters are wealthy upper middle class or gangsters. Their occupations are in professional sports, journalism, and nightclubs or strip joints. Motives: disappearance of Patricia Coe, presumably by kidnapping; murder; rigging a prizefight; gambling on sporting events
Pete Schofield is a private detective who is approached by his friend, Bucky Farrell, to protect his girlfriend, Patricia. Bucky is a professional boxer, but he still worries that Pat, or Doll Baby, as he calls her, might be in danger from threats she has received. Pete accompanies Pat as she drives from Las Vegas to Palm Springs, and they are followed the entire time by two men in another car. The other car runs them off the road and after putting up a fight, Pete gets knocked out and Pat has disappeared when he regains consciousness. When Bucky finds out that she is missing, he breaks the training he's in for an important upcoming bout in order to locate the missing Pat. Pete convinces Bucky to leave the detective work to him and return to his training, but Bucky's concern for Pat causes his training to suffer, which results in the bookmakers lowering the odds on Bucky for the upcoming fight. During the investigation, Pete discovers Pat's secret past as a stripper when one of her co-workers is found murdered. Pete finds himself in a race to locate Pat and restore Bucky to full fighting form before he loses the big fight.
Pete Schofield adult male, probably in his late 20s or 30s, private detective
Jean Schofield adult female, red hair, freckles, wife and co-worker of Pete Schofield
Bucky Farrell adult male, 30s, Irish ancestry, "big, happy-go-lucky, deep-chested heavyweight slob" with huge biceps, boxer
Danny Prado adult male with "ears like clam shells," retired boxer and now Bucky's trainer
Bronk adult male, burly, bald, with " a mouth like the inside of a meat grinder and a built-in persecution complex," Bucky's manager
Patricia Coe "Pat," "Doll Baby," adult female, early 20s, elegant, with hair "like whipped cream," black eyes, retired cocktail waitress and stripper, ex-wife of Jasper Coe and Bucky's current girlfriend
Jaspar Coe adult male, about 35 years old, graying temples and a trained voice, rugged, good-looking, talent agent
Vince Ball adult male, shaggy and sleepy-looking, sports writer for a Los Angeles newspaper
Josephine Becker "Jo," adult female, early 20s, long black hair, high-pitched voice, stripper
Frank Caratti "The Gimp," adult male, lean, walks with a limp, 60 years old, thinning silver hair, nightclub/strip joint owner and mobster
Linda Darby adolescent female, wide-spaced, deep-set green eyes, black hair, ranch hand
Veronica Darby adult female, 40 years old, large, hearty, ranch and training facility owner and mother of Linda Darby
Harold Fanning adult male, about 40 years old, "greasy-looking," paunchy, hotel detective
Level of Violence
there is a fistfight where two men beat up one man. A woman is bound, strangled, and drowned in a bathtub. Three more fistfights involve groups of three to five males. A man kicks in a door to break into a private home.
most activities involve strippers but they stop short of the actual sex act. There is a moderate amount of description involving unclothed females and brief mention of a naked man. A husband and wife play a seduction game at the office, before the reader learns that they are married. Descriptions are specific, but not graphic, presumably targeted at a male heterosexual audience. All the unclothed women are young and above average in attractiveness.
the female characters are all seen as sex objects to some degree. About half of the females are strippers; two of them are unscrupulous and one is good-hearted. Half of the men are morally vague, while the heroes are virtuous (if vacuous) and the villains contemptible. The prevailing attitude is that females are objects.
all of the characters are white, most of whose ethnicity is not discusses. One of the major villains is a gangster with an Italian name. Bucky refers to "colored fighters" (p.52).
little drinking and no drug use. Most of the drinking is social and accepted.
the local police appear only twice; they are depicted as semi-competent and generally honest.
California - Palm Springs/Nevada - Las Vegas/ Detectives, Private/ Murder
the characters are relatively normal, particularly the heroes. There is a constant undercurrent of sexual innuendo, but no actual sex occurs in the book. Major characters have an agenda, and they seem Machiavellian in their pursuit of it. Strippers are either depicted as unscrupulous manipulators or as decent "kids." The writing style has a campy, humorous tone that that keeps the book entertaining and lightens the gravity of the situations.