Books: Fiction

In 1945 U.S. fiction writers laid one golden egg after another and sold them for golden prices. The public craved, and was given, gulps of cloak-&-dagger melodrama or sack-suit passion. Some of the year's novelists managed, with the help of book clubs and cinemagnates, to earn a life annuity with a single book. Among the bestsellers:

Cass Timberlane, the story of a middle-aging Midwesterner's love for an intermittently erotic bobbysoxer, grossed Novelist Sinclair Lewis well over a quarter-million dollars before publication. Once on the stands, the novel soared into second place on the best-seller...