Created by Hunt Collins
(Né Salvatore Lombino. Pseudonyms include Ed McBain, Evan Hunter, Richard Marsten, Curt Cannon, Ezra Hannon and John Abbott
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.”
- “…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.”
- “Kiss Me, Dudley” (January 1955, Manhunt)