Created by Martin Meyers
“Breasts to the left of him, breasts to the right…”
— Patrick notices these things (from Spy and Die)
New York’s PATRICK HARDY is your “classic, 1970’s paperback private eye”, according to Max Allan Collins, in his intro to the 1998 anthology Private Eyes that he co-edited with Mickey Spillane, and which included a short story in which an older, slightly wiser Hardy resurfaced. At the time, I’d never heard of him, but reader David Nobriga was kind enough to fill me in.
Hardy was a private eye with a couple of unusual gimmicks, guaranteed to make you roll your eyes. First off, during the Vietnam War, he was an overweight screwup drafted into an experimental military program by the U.S. Army. The plan was to turn a bunch of cowardly misfits into a team of fierce warriors, using “the Pavlovian Theory of Conditioned Reflex.” In other words, Uncle Sam rewired them psychologically so that when danger threatened and their brains told them to flee, their bodies automatically went into fighting mode, sort of like Woody Allen suddenly becoming Bruce Lee in times of stress. This worked pretty well in actual combat, but between battles there was a high rate of desertion. The Army finally admitted failure, rounded the AWOLs up and moved to ship all of them out. But a transportation accident killed everyone in the unit, except for Hardy.
He finished up his hitch as an office MP, shuffling papers behind a desk in Europe. No doubt, this experience helped him obtain a private eye’s license upon returning stateside to New York City.
Where’s he’s been free to pursue what seems to be his main interest in life: sex
Billed as “Hardy, the sensuous sleuth” and aiming for the sleazier end of the Men’s Adventure spectrum, this “very private eye who preferred sex to slaughter” starred in a series of paperback originals published by Popular Library (and, in 2000, were made available once more by iUniverse). There was an ongoing campaign to suggest that the books were some kind of hot stuff, and Patrick certainly had plenty of sex, and he paid particular attention to the size of various women’s breasts, but the sex was mostly off-page, and quickly summarized, more tell than show, hardly rating even an X.
Martin Meyers started his writing career with the Patrick Hardy series in the 70s, and later went on to co-write the popular Tonneman family series of historical mysteries with his wife, Annette Meyers, under the joint pen name of Maan Meyers.
- Patrick Hardy is a charming six-foot tall Irishman who loves women, food, and the good life.
He’s a bright man who bumbles into trouble. Often.
He’s a compulsive eater who will gorge on anything from pate de fois gras to Kosher salami on cinnamon raisin bread with mayonnaise.
He has high blood pressure and a trick knee. He drives an old VW bug and dreams of putting a Porsche engine in it. He owns a big, silly shaggy disgrace of a standard poodle whose personality mirrors his.
And he’s a coward.
But don’t push him.
— Meyers Mysteries
- “It’s all nonsense, of course. The highlight of the affair is a meeting with a fat head of security named Julius Foxx, and his assistant Mr. Archibald. There’s a lot of bouncing in bed and other places, a good deal of padding, and little else.”
— Steve Lewis (June 2020, Mystery*File)
- Kiss and Kill (1975) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Spy and Die (1976) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Red Is for Murder (1976) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Hung Up to Die (1976) | Buy this book
- Reunion for Death (1976) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- “The Girl, the Body and the Kitchen Sink” (1998, Private Eyes)
- “Nothing Is Ever What It Seems” (2013, Crime Square) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Meyers Mysteries
Official web site for Martin, Annette and Maan Meyers.
Dirty Eyes & Other Not-So-Private Dicks
- Private Eyes by the Number
P.I.s in Men’s Adventure Books