Created by Lee Roberts
Pseudonym of Robert Martin
The paperback original was actually an expanded version of “Pardon My Poison,” an earlier short story by Robert Martin (Roberts’ real name), previously published in the April 1948 issue of Dime Detective. Only there, the detective was Lee Fiske, who by then had already appeared in a half dozen or so stories, but due to contractual obligations, when it came time for the Buckeye State dick to make his novel-length debut, Fawcett Gold Medal decided his name had to be changed”
And hence… Andy Brice!
Not that it makes much difference–no matter what you call him, Andy’s still pretty much the same private eye he was in the pulps–a low-key, nice guy who calmly works the case (it involves a seventeen-year old wild child), able to handle the rough stuff, for the most part, but not necessarily looking for it. Sure, he might crack wise a few times, but generally he’s just a working stiff, trying to do his job, even making nice with the cops when he has to.
In other words, pretty much like Martin’s best-known eye, Jim Bennett. Decent to a fault, but no pushover.
And then it gets a little weird… In 1957, Little Sister was “re-imagined” as a Sexton Blake novel by a “Desmond Reid.”
According to Chap O’Keefe in a post to James Reasoner’s terrific Rough Edges blog:
(Little Sister) had a third, British incarnation in 1957 as number 384 of the Sexton Blake Library. The title became Victim Unknown, the settings English, the author byline Desmond Reid, and the PI character Sexton Blake. Somebody in the publishing authority at the Amalgamated Press, London, had rightly noted that a 1956 revamp to update the long-running Sexton Blake series had shifted its tone to a closer match with popular American books of the time, like Gold Medal originals. The reprint rights to a couple of Gold Medals were bought, but (ultimately) the amount of rewrite work to make them fit the Blake saga was not found cost-effective. Use of the Desmond Reid house name was subsequently limited to use on original work by British writers requiring lesser editorial adjustments or author anonymity.
Fortunately for all of us, in 2020, Black Gat reprinted the original Little Sister, with Brice once again handling the gumshoe work.
- “Robert Martin has an effortless style, and it’s a pleasure to read a novel that flows so effortlessly.”
— Randy Krbechekon Little Sister
THE DICK OF THE DAY
- April 26, 2023
The Bottom Line: A nice guy detective from 1950s Ohio, on the hunt for a 17-yr-old wild child. Well worth checking out. By the way, Andy also goes by Lee Fiske. Or Sexton Blake. It’s complicated.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.