Created by G. T. Fleming-Roberts
Pseudonym of George Thomas Roberts
Magician-detective JEFFREY WREN is one P.I. who knows his hocus-pocus. He appeared in a series of enjoyably light-hearted detective short stories in Dime Detective in the mid-forties. Although there was no fantasy in this series Wren, a former vaudeville magician who owned a novelty and magic shop in the Brill Building on West Ohio Street in Indianapolis and hired out to do detective work on the side, found that his cases frequently involved “seemingly occult” events.
Aiding him in his investigations are his shop clerk, Horace, a grumpy, “lean, bloodless-looking” man who mans the joke counter, chomping on an unlit cigar and is occasionally dispatched to do leg work, and Zoe Osbourn, a policewoman assigned to the fraud squad who’s frequently drawn into Wren’s capers.
G. T. Fleming-Roberts was a prolific writer of pulp fiction, and magician/sleuths were pretty much his speciality. He had previously written about Diamondstone (1937-1939) and The Ghost/Green Ghost (1940-1944) before creating Jeffery Wren for Popular Publications’ Dime Detective. There were only seven stories, but they must have had a following — several were featured on the covers.
Flemings-Robert never quite managed to sell Wren to the movies, but he certainly gave it a shot, right up to casting the lead role, frequently mentioning that Wren looked like very much like actor Edward Arnold.
- “No Haunting Allowed” (April 1944, Dime Detective)
- “The Spirit Was Willing” (August 1944, Dime Detective)
- “A Sleight Case of Murder” (October 1944, Dime Detective)
- “Scare a Man to Death” (January 1945, Dime Detective)
- “He Couldn’t Stay Dead” (May 1945, Dime Detective)
- “Medium Dead” (November 1945, Dime Detective)
- “Feather Your Own Coffin” (October 1946, Dime Detective)
- The Complete Cases of Jeffery Wren, Volume 1 (2015) | Buy this book