Little Jack Horner

Created by Jerome Severs Perry
Pseud. of Robert Leslie Bellem

“I’m not a detective, I’m a beef blower. A beef blower is a man who blows down beefs, or, in plain language, quells trouble. That’s my job. I quell trouble for Lew Quarrie.” 

Red-headed JOHN J. “LITTLE JACK” HORNER was yet another Tinseltown shamus from Robert Leslie Bellem, this time written under the pen name of Jerome Severs Perry. He appeared in at least six short stories, all in Hollywood Detective.

The difference? The stories were a little harder, and a little tougher, and they were narrated in the third person. So they  lacked the humour and zippety-doo-dah wordplay of the first-erson-narrated Dan Turner stories. Not that they were totally gag-free–Horner could crack wise with the best of ’em–but for the most part, the Horner stories were played straight. And unlike the often befuddled Turner, Horner seemed to have a clue.

Like Turner, Horner was a private dick in Hollywood, his cases almost always involving the movie industry, amorous starlets, greedy producers, jealous actors, homicidal screenwriters and the like. But Horner seemed to have only one client–Epicure Pictures’ head honcho Lew Quarrie.

According to writer and pulp expert Stephen Mertz, the Horner stories were intentional pastiches of the works of Bellem’s friends, Cleve F. Adams and W.T. Ballard, and “certainly Bellem’s best work after the Turner stuff… The stories are written very much in Adams’ distinctive screwball hardboiled voice, and the studio trouble shooter role is patterned after Ballard’s Bill Lennox stories that ran in Black Mask.”

By the way, just in case you thought Bellem was slacking off under yet another pen name, he wrote numerous non-Horner stories as Perry as well.


  • “Homicide Plum” (September 1943, Hollywood Detective)
  • The Seer Sees Death” (December 1943, Hollywood Detective)
  • “Murder at Auction” (March 1944, Hollywood Detective)
  • “The Big Fix” (October 1944, Hollywood Detective)
  • “A Corpse Comes Home” (January 1945, Hollywood Detective)
  • “Killery in the Cards” (January 1947, Hollywood Detective)


  • Little Jack Horner (2009) | Buy this book
    Contains all six stories, although the book, by The Pulp Press, seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. 


  • “Somewhere a Roscoe” (October15, 1938, The New Yorker; by S.J. Perelman)
    The humourist’s affectionate tribute to Bellem and Turner. Required reading.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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