Max Strong

Created by Robert Dudgeon
Pseudonym of seudonym of Frank S. Greenop

Straight up?

I don’t know much about MAX STRONG. He was apparently a series character who appeared in twenty or so novels put out in the fifties by Cleveland Publishing of Sydney, Australia, trying to duplicate the success of Carter Brown by promising “excitement of a different kind,” but that’s about it.

Oh, and calling them novels is even a stretch, since at least some of these paperback originals are less than a hundred pages, making them “novelettes,’ I guess. Which would make sense, since Cleveland would later have great success in that format with the Larry Kent series. In fact, the Max Strong series was frequently advertisied in the back pages of the Larry Kent series.

Heck, I’m not even sure if Strong was supposed to be Australian at all. It’s possible Max was a New York-based P.I., since many of the books are set in that city.

That is, if he was a private eye at all. Certainly the cover illustrations, many of which are quite snazzy, and the titles themselves, would suggest that. As well, many of the books are subtitled “A Max Strong Detective Story.”

My guess? Good ol’ Max was part of the Australian version of Britian’s post-war “Mushroom Jungle” pulp boom. The Mushroom Outback, maybe?

Max’s creator, Robert Dudgeon, was actually the pseudonym of Frank S. Greenop, who also wrote short stories for the Australian pulps, including several featuring another P.I.-sounding character called Steve Hawk.

But like I said, a lot of this is pure guesswork. If anyone knows anything else, drop me a line.


  • Curtain Call (1950)
  • My Price Is Murder (1950)
  • Wake Up and Die (1950)
  • Hunted Down (1954)
  • The Beautiful Bait (1955)
  • Comeback to Crime (1955)
  • Passport to Peril (1955)
  • The Black Hour (1956)
  • Double Deal (1956)
  • Hot Time (1956)
  • Murder Hunt (1956)
  • Murder—So What! (1956)
  • Night Cry (1956)
  • Swift to Die! (1956)
  • Tight Grip (1956)
  • White Heat (1956)
  • The Deep Knife (1957)
  • Bitter Beauty (1958)
  • Trouble Is a Woman (1960)
  • Hot Bait (1961)
  • Nude in Nylon (1962)
  • East of Elsa (publication date unknown)
  • The Fast Farewell (publication date unknown)
  • Hard and Fast (publication date unknown)
  • Let’s Kill Again (publication date unknown)
  • The Slow Burn (publication date unknown)
  • Suicide Sheet (publication date unknown)
  • Temptation Street (publication date unknown)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to JB Dickey for the words to the wise. Illustration is from Graeme Flanagan’s amazing Vintage Australian Paperback Website.

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