Created by Mike Moran
Pseudonyms of William Ard
In his only appearance, 1953’s Double Cross, private eye TOM DORAN handles the narrative chores himself, explaining how, despite his status as an “independent operator,” he will occasionally take on a job from a larger agency. And so he agrees to bodyguard boxer Rudy Walker, who’s in training for a big bout.
There’s the usual crowd of suspicious suspects and bystanders at the training camp: a belligerent cook; the would-be champ’s live-in girl friend, a femme fatale named Velma (whom Steve Lewis of Mystery*File describes as having “the morals of a bunny rabbit),” some shady promoters; a mobster trying to fix the bout; a chorus line of assorted thugs, and Janet, the steamy blonde who owns the property, and with whom Doran is soon (of course) knocking knees.
Doran gets roughed up, some sparring partners are threatened, there’s a suspicious “accident,” a kidnapping, a few killings, a suspicious “suicide”–in other words, pretty standard fare for the era. But the story just rips along, less than 130 pages, all told.
“Mike Moran” was a pen name for William Ard, who wrote some pretty good P.I. books in the fifties, most noticeably those featuring Timothy Dane. Double Cross may not be one of his better efforts, but it’s lean and clean, and as Blog45 says, “This is a good action filled noir quickie. You can probably read it before the light changes. It’s defintely designed to read on a bus or train trip in one shot. It’s a good one from a noir pro.”
- “It’s that kind of PI story. The opening scene is very tentatively written, and even when (things) are explained later on, they still don’t make a lot of sense… On the other hand, once the characters are introduced and the story is well on its way, it’s smoothly told and very easy to finish in a mere two hours or less. (It helps that it’s only 128 pages long, a mere bagatelle by today’s standards.)”
— Steve Lewis (Mystery*File)
- Double Cross (1953) | Buy this book
- William Ard: He Coulda Been a Contender
My own ham-fisted tribute to William Ard.
- The Three Barney Glines of William Ard
Ard liked the name so much, he used it three times.
- William Ard: Hard Boiled Detectives. Western Heroes
Dennis Miller’s fascinating profile of one of the genre’s sadly forgotten writers.
THE DICK OF THE DAY
- May 22, 2023
The Bottom Line: Tough enough everyman P.I. agrees to bodyguard a fighter. No lost classic, maybe, but this 1953 standalone, set in the boxing world, hits so hard and fast, your bell will be rung.