Dirk Wallace

Created by James Hadley Chase
Pseudonym of Rene Brabazon Raymond
Other pseudonyms include Raymond Marshall, Ambrose Grant, James L. Doherty

“My name is Dirk Wallace:  unmarried, pushing 40 years of age, tall, dark, with a face that, so far, doesn’t frighten the kiddies.”
— beginning lines of Hit Them Where It Hurts

When a frog farmer’s grandson goes missing, or a mother wants someone to find out who is blackmailing her daughter, who do they call?

Why,  DIRK WALLACE of The Parnell Detective Agency, of course.  In his first adventure, Hand Me a Fig Leaf (1981) by James Hadley Chase, Dirk heads to Searle to find the aforementioned grandchild, only to get caught up in an drug trafficking ring.

And things get even dicier in the 1984 follow-up,  Hit Them Where It Hurts, when Dirk finds himself way out of his depth when a simple blackmail case brings him and his assistant into a dangerous conflict with the Mafia.

But Hand Me a Fig Leaf and Hit Them Where it Hurts are actually the second and third of Chase’s books involving the detective agency owned by Colonel Parnell, a Vietnam veteran. It’s apparently a going concern, one of the most respected agencies on the Atlantic Coast, headquartered on the top floor of the Trueman Building on Paradise Avenue on Paradise City in Florida. Although in some of the books, it’s referred to as the Acme Detective Agency, for some reason.

But I digress…

In the first of the “Parnell” series, A Can of Worms (1979), another Parnell man, Bart Anderson, takes the lead, as he uncovers a wanted felon while doing a routine tail job for a rich author who just wants to research his next book.

But if private eye Dirk (or Bart) don’t strike your fancy, don’t sweat it. During his long career, Chase offered a wide assortment of PI’s, including Dave Fenner, Vic Mallory, Nelson Ryan or Floyd Jackson.


Respectfully submitted by Dale Stoyer, with a little interference by Kevin Burton Smith.

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