Created by Ed Lybeck
Pseudonym of Charles Edward Widegren

“Well, who’s dead now?”
— Harrigan answers the phone, in “Kick Back”

There were plenty of hard-boiled newsmen in the detective pulps of the thirties and forties, but Ed Lybeck’s FRANCIS ST. XAVIER HARRIGAN, “star reporter” for The New York Leader, may have been the only one who’d previously worked as a “deadly gunman” for the Mob. Maybe it fueled his determination–in one story, we’re told “he would go to hell for a story–and get back in time for the late edition.”

The author was one of the “new boys” that Black Mask editor Cap Shaw’s hired in the wake of Dashiell Hammett’s departure, and although Lydeck only had a handful of stories (all featuring Harrigan) published in the legendary pulp (most of his other crime fiction sales were to The Underworld Magazine), Shaw saw fit to include one of those in The Hard-Boiled Omnibus.

Not much is known about the author, except that he was born in North Shields, in the UK, and that parents separated when he was a toddle. At that point, he went to live with his grandparents in Sweden, until his mother came and brought him to her home in the USA when he was six. He was adopted by his stepfather in October 1912–the same year his birth father went down with the Titanic.


  • “Leaded Ink” (December 1931, Black Mask)
  • Kick-Back” (January 1932, Black Mask)
  • Dead Evidence” (March 1932, Black Mask)
  • Silent Hea” (February 1934, Black Mask)


  • Dead Evidence: The Complete Black Mask Cases of Harrigan (2020) | Buy this book
    Intro by Will Murray, illustrated by Arthur Rodman Bowker, cover by Jes Schlaikjer


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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