Tom Doran

Created by Mike Moran
Pseudonyms of William Ard
(1922-1960)

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 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, whom Doran is soon knocking knees with.

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.”

UNDER OATH

  • “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)

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Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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