Created by Day Keene
Pseudonym of Gunnar Hjerstedt
Other pseudonyms include Lewis Dixon, William Richards, Daniel White, John Corbett & Donald King
I’m not even sure what SILENT SMITH‘s occupation was, exactly–or even if he had one, but he was known as the “Silver Fox of Broadway” in a slew of stories in Dime Detective and Detective Tales, written by prolific pulpster Day Keene.
Then again, I’m not even sure why he he ranks not one but two nicknames.
Was he an adventurer? A private eye? Some hybrid of both? I haven’t reached down any of the stories yet, but judging from his many cover appearances (he must have been quite a popular character), he looks a little like a beefed up Doc Savage type, all unbuttoned shirts and fierce determination.
Referred to often as “the man who held Broadway in his pocket,” it’s easy to think he was some streetwise private dick or something, working the Great White Way, but the titles of some of the stories and the handful of info I’ve gathered suggests Silent was tackling more than lost starlets and Big Apple gangsters–he was also apparently dipping into weird menace adventures, butting up against plagues, hounds of death and several cases of corpses who just won’t stay dead.
Day Keene was born Gunnar Hjerstedt in Chicago in 1904, and died in North Hollywood in 1969. But in between, he had a very long and prolific career, writing for the theater, radio, the pulps, paperbacks and television.
- “Mr. Smith’s Flying Corpses” (December 1940, Dime Mystery Magazine)
- “Three Men from Hell” (July 1941, Dime Mystery Magazine)
- “Murder in Paradise” (September 1941, Dime Mystery Magazine)
- “Cupid’s Corpse Parade” (July 1942, Dime Mystery Magazine)
- “A Hearse of Another Color” (November 1942, Dime Mystery Magazine)
- “Murder by Short Wave” (November 1943, Detective Tales)
- “Manhattan Murder-Go-Round” (August 1944, Detective Tales)
- “Silent Smith and the Hounds of Death” (January 1945, Detective Tales)
- “Kill Me, Kill My Dog” (September 1945, Detective Tales)
- “A Corpse Walks in Brooklyn” (October 1945, Detective Tales)