Mavis Seidlitz

Created by Carter Brown
Pseudonym of Alan Geoffrey Yates; other pseudonyms include Peter Carter Brown, Peter Carter-Brown, Raymond Glenning, Sinclair MacKellar, Dennis Sinclair and Paul Valdez
(1923-85)

“Ravishingly beautiful” MAVIS SEIDLITZ is “the torrid blonde private eye who plays hard and fast with men…money…and murder.”

“… a curvy blonde who’s heavy on sex, light on sense and sure-fire in a clinch.”

“… the dizzy darling of the detective set.”

“… top notch in the numbers game (38-23-37)”

And it wasn’t just the blurb writers who had fun with poor Mavis. One critic called her “a cross between Gracie Allen and (Terry Southern’s) Candy Christian (whose) pulchritudinous assets far outweigh her mental equipment.”

Me? She makes Honey West look like a Mensa candidate. She may be built like a brick shit house, but she’s got the brains of a gnat. Although she knows what boys want.

Mavis started out wanting to be a star in Hollywood, and when that didn’t exactly pan out, she took a job as a secretary for the Rio Detective Agency of Los Angeles, gradually working her way up to partner. She narrates most of the books, although sometimes Johnny Rio is the main protagonist, while Mavis appears only briefly. And other times, Mavis is the really star of the show, going undercover as a pop singer, an heir’s wife, a stripper, or some other silliness. It doesn’t really matter — the whole point is for Mavis to get into some situations where Johnny must rescue her, suffer a wardrobe malfunction or two, and possibly accidentally solve the case, while Johnny (whom she has the mad hots for) berates her. Toss in some attempted rapes, and maybe some potential torture or sadism, and you’ve got a typical Mavis yarn.

Fun, huh? (Suffice it to say that these books have not aged well.

Mavis (and some of her body parts) popped up in a dozen or so allegedly humorous short novels (130 pages or so) by the ubiquitous publishing sensation Carter Brown, who was also responsible for the adventures of private eyes Rick Holman and Danny Boyd, as well as over-boiled Al Wheeler, a homicide cop with the sheriff’s department of Pine City, near Los Angeles. All in all, Brown must have written hundreds of slim, trashy paperbacks; raunchy, spicy little romps about as nutritious as potato chips.

And just as hard to resist. Brown’s other pseudonyms include Peter Carter Brown, Peter Carter-Brown, Raymond Glenning, Sinclair MacKellar, Dennis Sinclair and Paul Valdez, and his books flooded the market, particularly in the Commonwealth and France. I certainly saw a ton of them in Canada. The books haven’t aged well, though, and nowadays I think they’re mostly known (and highly prized by collectors) for their Robert McGinnis covers (he did almost 100 Carter Brown covers).

Just for the record, though, I know the cover up there is by Cover art by Baryé Phillips.

UNDER OATH

  • “At his peak in America, he was selling 350,000 copies a book and in Australia we were doing 30,000-40,000 a book….so you can see how he built up to 100 million copies. Yates was bigger than big…it was difficult to find a country he wasn’t published in.”
     Lyle Moore, Horwitz Publications

NOVELS

  • Honey, Here’s Your Hearse (1955)
  • A Bullet For My Baby (1955)
  • Good Mourning, Mavis (1957)
  • Murder Wears a Mantilla (1957)
  • The Loving and the Dead (1959)
  • None But the Lethal Heart (1959)
  • Tomorrow is Murder (1960)
  • Lament For a Lousy Lover (1960)
  • The Bump and Grind Murders (1964)
  • Seidlitz and the Super-Spy (1967) | Buy this book
  • Murder Is So Nostalgic (1972)
  • And the Undead Sing (1974)

COMICS

  • CARTER BROWN
    (1958, Horwtiz Publications)
    2 issues
    Written by Carter Brown
    Art by C.E. Drury
    Short-lived series of Aussie comic books devoted to the works of Brown, promising “Sensational Full-Length Mysteries All in Pictures” and “Guys, Dolls, Guns and a Million Laughs,” featuring series characters Mavis, Al Wheeler and, um, Carter Brown?

    • Issue #1 (1958)
      Includes”Redhead Means Murder,” “Killer For Cocktails,” and “Blonde on the Rocks.”
    • Issue #2 (1958)
      Includes “The Cutie Kidnapped,” “Murder To Music,” “The Corpse Cut In,” “Diamonds To Kill,” “Hi-Jack High Jinx!,” “Ace High Honey,” “Killer Bait”
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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