Rex Sackler

Created by D.L. Champion

Skinny, erudite REX SACKLER is an eccentric private eye so tight with a buck he practically squeaks. A former police detective, this “Shylock of Shamuses” quit the police department because he felt he could do better on his own — and he did.

But he’s still cheap. In his very first published case, “Death Stops Payment” (July 1940, Black Mask), he delays revealing the identity of the killer until a cheque clears.

Sackler appeared regularly in a string of humourous short stories in the pages of Black Mask throughout the forties that occasionally bordered on the screwball, recalling the work of fellow fun-loving pulpsters such as Norbert Davis, Robert Reeves and Alan Farley. The cases of this so-called “parsinomous prince of penny-pinchers” are narrated by his long-suffering assistant, Joey Graham, a sort of rough-and-tumble Archie Goodwin to Sackler’s Nero Wolfe.

Except Sackler may be an even loonier toon than the Fat Man. And Joey definitely has a way with a wisecrack. A corpse, for example, is as “dead as hope in Poland.” And his boss “could smell a nickel before it left the mint.” Although, judging from his appearance, he never spent much of it, living “like a coolie who has never seen the reassuring gleam of a ten-cent piece.”

Author Champion was born in Australia and educated in New York. He served with the British Army in World War I, worked in the merchant marine, and read copy for a slew of magazines, before turning to writing himself. He was also the creator of legless, cantankerous “unofficial” homicide dick Inspector Allhoff and hypochrondriac Mexican detectivo particular Mariano Mercado.


  • “Death Stops Payment” (July 1940, Black Mask)
  • “Money to Burn” (October 1940, Black Mask)
  • “Vacation with Pay” (April 1941, Black Mask)
  • “Split Fee” (June 1941, Black Mask)
  • “Pick Up the Marbles” (October 1941, Black Mask)
  • “What’s Money?” (January 1942, Black Mask)
  • “Murder Pays 7 to 1” (March 1942, Black Mask)
  • “Blood From a Turnip” (May 1942, Black Mask)
  • “Killer, Can You Spare a Dime” (August 1942, Black Mask)
  • “Murder By the Ears” (October 1942, , Black Mask)
  • “Come Out of the Grave” (February 1943, Black Mask)
  • “Heads — The Corpse Loses” (September 1943, Black Mask)
  • “Death for a Dollar” (March 1944, Black Mask)
  • “Cash as Cash Can” (September 1944, Black Mask)
  • “The Corpse Pays Cash” (May 1944, Black Mask)
  • “A Corpse Means Cash” (January 1945, Black Mask)
  • “Spend, Killer, Spend!” (July 1945, Black Mask)
  • “Money Makes the Mare Go” (November 1945, Black Mask)
  • “Two Death Parlay” (July 1946, Black Mask)
  • “Infernal Revenue” (November 1946, Black Mask)
  • “Too Mean to Die” (May 1947, Black Mask)
  • “Padlocked Pockets” (July 1947, Black Mask)
  • “Down Payment on Death” (November 1947, Black Mask)
  • “Blackmail Backfire” (September 1949, Black Mask)
  • “Death for a Dollar” (January 1950, Black Mask)
    Same title but different story from above.


  • Murder Costs Money: The Complete Black Mask Cases of Rex Sackler (2020) Buy this book
  • Intro by Ed Hulse, illustrated by Peter Kuhlhoff, cover by Rafael DeSoto.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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