Anthony Martin

Created by William Francis
Pseudonym of William Francis Urell; other pseuds. include Curtis Lucas

ANTHONY MARTIN, your typical tough-talking, good-looking P. I. “with a file of unpaid bills, a vulnerable but well-cushioned conscience, and a profitable proposition,” according to the blurb at the front of 1942 debut Rough on Rats. He appeared in three novels back in the forties. Those unpaid bills are the result, no doubt, of his “well-cushioned conscience.”

Rough on Rats (1942) is also interesting because of its take on the stag film industry, and Bury Me Not (1943) at times recalls a Jonathan Latimer Bill Crane novel.

They were all narrated in the first person by Martin, in your expected hard-boiled manner, full of snarls and wisecracks, although he plays it closer to the chest than most of his contemporaries, keeping things from the reader until the conclusion. He also displays a little more humour than most.

Francis (actually the pen name of William Francis Urell) was an American writer who began his career submitting stories to magazines such as Collier’s and The Novel Magazine, and later turned to writing crime fiction. Rough On Rats was his first novel, and was soon followed by two sequels. From June 1948 to October 1950, he published nearly a dozen mystery stories in Esquire. He also wrote about private eye Steve Cash, who decides to clean up the corrupt little burg of Coastview, California single-handedly in Dig Me Deeper (1953).


  • The title of Rough on Rats (1942) was a spin on a then-popular brand of rat poison, and ithe publisher, William Morrow, actually thanked the manufacturer on the copyright page for allowing them to use to use product’s name as the title.


  • Rough on Rats (1942, aka “I. O. U. Murder”) Buy this book
  • Kill or Cure (1942)
  • Bury Me Not (1943)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply