Dudley Sledge

Created by Hunt Collins
(Né Salvatore Lombino. Pseudonyms include Ed McBain, Evan Hunter, Richard Marsten, Curt Cannon, Ezra Hannon and John Abbott
(1926-2005)

She was cleaning fish by the kitchen sink when I climbed through the window, my .45 in my hand. She wore a low-cut apron, shadowed where her full breasts bunched together near the frilly top. When she saw me, her eyes went wide, and her lips parted, moist and full. I walked to the sink, and I picked up the fish by the tail, and I batted her over the eye with it.
“Darling,” she murmured.
— now, is this a great opening, or what?

Down those mean streets a man must go who knows his fish…

DUDLEY SLEDGE is one private dick who knows how to handle both fish AND women, a man of “magotty fists” who gets messed up with Melissa, a blonde femme fatale who’d rather be called Agnes, in “Kiss Me, Dudley,” a spot-on parody of the excesses of Mickey Spillane and the rest of the genre, that first appeared in 1955 in Manhunt.

It was written by “Hunt Collins,” a pseudonym of Ed McBain, who was apparently already weary of writing to the P.I. formula he’d used so effectively in the Curt Cannon stories). McBain intended it as a kiss-off to the genre, later stating that when you “start writing parodies of private eye stories, it’s time to stop writing them.”

THE EVIDENCE

  • “…they hadn’t counted on the slow anger that had been building up inside me, boiling over like a black brew, filling my mind, filling my body, poisoning my liver and my bile, quickening my heart, putting a throb in my appendix, tightening the pectoral muscles on my chest, girding my loins.”

SHORT STORIES

  • “Kiss Me, Dudley” (January 1955, Manhunt)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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