The nation’s women are gripped by “Fifty Shades of Grey” fever. Huddles of women are whispering about it in corners and passing dog eared copies back and forth. Book shops are selling out and the author is breaking records all round with her tale of BDSM sex and raunch. It set me thinking about how a few of my friends and I experienced a similar phenomena with the books of James Lear.

A few years back I picked up a battered copy of “The Palace of Varieties” by James Lear and was instantly in my own pornographic literary frenzy. The book describes the passage (yes, that one too) of a young man called Paul Lemoyne through the theatrical underworld of 30s London. The novel is actually well plotted and funny in parts as well as being incredibly erotic. Paul lurches from sexual encounters in toilets, to romps with dandy gentleman to a very steamy group session in a pub back room. The book abounds with enormous tghrobbing genitalia and lithe bodies. I passed the book on to a gay colleague and we ended up starting a reading chain as it was passed from sticky hand to sticky hand. We’d blush and titter at the more purple passages but all agreed it was a great book which had kept us all very entertained.

James Lear has written a few others including a detective series (think Agatha Christie with more group anal). I’d recommend them all for a light and smutty read but would just add the warning that they must not be read on a crowded train unless you have a particularly baggy pair of trousers on.

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