Henry Smith

Created by Fredric Brown

HENRY SMITH was probably the most developed of Fredric Brown‘s detective series in which the characters’ family name wasn’t Hunter.

Not that Brown developed poor Henry much, although perhaps that might have actually been the point. Because Henry was a relatively generic guy, just an ordinary working stiff who just happened to be a whiz-bang salesman for the Phalanx Insurance Company, and a pretty shrewd and savvy sleuth as well, with a keen eye for chicanery and shenanigans. The consummate company man, he managed to crack cases — and still sell insurance policies — in half a dozen short stories in various pulps in the forties, with one outlier in the early sixties.

Brown, of course, was one of the most versatile and beloved writers who came up through the pulps, pounding out his own peculiar blend of hard-boiled mystery, paradoxical sf, short fantasy and black comedy-sometimes all in the same story.


  • “Life and Fire” (March 22, 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly) | Buy this book
  • “The Incredible Bomber” (March 1942, G-Men Detective)
  • “A Change for the Hearse” (March 1943, New Detective Magazine)
  • “Death Insurance Payment” (October 1943, Ten Detective Aces)
  • “Bucket of Gems Case” (August 1944, Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine; aka “Mr. Smith Kicks the Bucket”)
  • “Mr. Smith Protects a Client” (December 1946, Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine; aka “Whistler’s Murder”)
  • “Fatal Facsimile” (September 1962, The Saint Mystery Magazine)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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