‘Sin Money’: What Crime Fiction Dreams Are Made Of…

robert bonfils

I’m a softie for compromising photos as a mystery/crime fiction caper staple, enough so that they were the go-to starting point for my own Stiletto Gumshoe’s initial plotting. Just upgrade those B&W glossies to smartphone screens, JPG’s and some frillies that aren’t over fifty years old, and this could still be a sleazy scene from a savvy blackmailer’s or modern-day peeper P.I.’s playbook. But it’s a Robert Bonfils illustration for Don Elliott’s (Robert Silverberg) Passion Pair, a 1964 Leisure Books paperback: “The blackmailers are Jim and Lois MacIntyre, smooth and polished in all the tricks of the trade…and their trade is love…until the pictures are developed. Then the shame and degradation of their victims becomes reflected in a negotiable check…the only true sin money.”

Ahhh, ‘sin money’. It’s what steamy crime fiction dreams are made of.

robert bonfils 1964

Motel Affair

Motel Affair 1

Narrative fashion editorials tell stories, but only ‘sort-of’, so it can be amusing to fill in the blanks. Consider this 2011 Flair Austria editorial, “Motel Affair” shot by Uwe Duettmann with model Johanna Jonsson.

Motel Affair 2

So, what’s the story here? Merely some stylish neo-noir style motel infidelity, with model Jonsson waiting impatiently for her lover to arrive? But no, there seems to be more going on, evidenced by her hasty getaway, especially since it seems she left someone behind…and it’s unclear if he’s only asleep, or dead.

But then, I really read way too much into these things…

Motel Affair 4

Motel Affair 3Motel Affair 5Motel Affair 7

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