Jim Haley

Created by Ron Goulart

Ron Goulart’s fiction transcends genre — or even easy explanation — being a general mish-mash of detective, fantasy, satire, straight sci-fi, parody and just plain silliness, reflecting the author’s passion for the detective and science fiction pulps and comics of yesteryear. He’s a serious scholar, and has published several key works of non-fiction on most of his interests, while his fiction tends to also reflect those interests.

He may also be mentally deranged.

After Things Fell Apart (1970) is an early example of Goulart’s style, and still one of his most well-known books, a sort of a giddy, helium-sucking state-of-the-union address for 1970. It revolves around JIM HALEY, a gumshoe who works for The Private Inquiry Office in San Francisco in the not-too-distant future, “after things fell apart.”

It’s a world that features the Richard Nixon Institute (for balding rock stars), the Amateur Mafia (no Italians allowed), the Monterey Mechanical Jazz Festival and a California that has been divided into two separate political entities. The Republic of Southern California is controlled by the Chinese Commandos, while Northern California is still up for grabs. When a group of militant feminists begin bumping off prominent men, Haley is dispatched to put an end to the killings. Goulart’s sense of humour is an acquired taste, to be sure, and Lord knows some of the jokes wouldn’t fly today, but the Mystery Writers of America at the time liked this one enough to bestow an Edgar upon it, the only science fiction novel to ever be awarded an Edgar.

Goulart is responsible for a long string of sci-fi/P.I. hybrids, featuring such gumshoes as Jake and Hildy Pace, Ben Jolson, Max Kearney and even Jake Cardigan, supposedly written by William “T. J. Hambone” Shatner, as well as an excellent series featuring “straight”‘ P.I. John Easy.

Goulart’s latest “detective” series features the fictional, crime-busting exploits of Groucho Marx. And how he got that gum on his shoes we’ll never know….



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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