Jim Talbot

Created by Harry Whittington
Pseudonyms include Harry White, Whit Harrison, Honda Wells, Clay Stuart, Hallam Whitney, Harriet Kathryn Meyers, Ashley Carter, Kell Holland, etc.
(1915-1990)

In Harry Whittington‘s So Dead My Love! (1953), JIM TALBOT is a New York private eye, fresh out of the jug, who heads back home to the the steamy, seamy town of Duval, Florida, at the bequest of the local politico who helped spring him from prison. Seems the big shot’s right-hand man has suddenly disappeared, and he wants Jim to find him.

But of course, this being a Harry Whittington story, it’s not quite that simple–it seems the right-hand man is married to Jim’s former sweetie, who was the one who sent him to the slammer in the first place. And naturally, before you know it, she’s back to making eyes at him. Meanwhile, Jim’s meeting some fascinating new people, such as a greasy, sleazy sheriff, his psycho deputy and a stripper who was in love with the missing man.

According to Rene Ribic, “The original edition of So Dead My Love by Ace (and the Australian reprint from Phantom) features one of my favourite covers of all time. A blonde babe tied to a chair while a very large, butch looking female warder is just about to belt the bejasus out of her with a leather belt while a lackadaisical-looking deputy-sheriff smokes a cigarette & looks complacently on. This cover was censored in a later Australian reprint – the deputy’s star was removed. Amazingly enough, the cover accurately represents a scene in the story… Not a classic, perhaps, but definitely top drawer 50’s paperback original. I have no hesitation recommending it to anyone who has read & enjoyed Whittington or 50’s Gold Medal novels in general. I actually liked this one & think it’s one of the better Whittington’s I’ve read. I particularly enjoyed the milieu, classic corrupt small-town Florida, the setting for many Gold Medals at the time.”

Florida author Harry Whittington came out of the pulp era and made a name for himself as one of the most prolific of the paperback writers, churning out some 140 books under numerous pseudonyms in numerous genres. he wrote everything from westerns to romances. Many consider his noirish crime novels written for such publishers as Gold Medal and Ace in the fifties, and full of obsessive, twisted characters driven over the edge by lust, greed, revenge, and fear, to be his finest work. Another great Whittington book is Mourn the Hangman (1952), featuring private eye Steve Blake.

UNDER OATH

  • “… I agree with Rene’s take on this one, mainly because if you give me a story about a corrupt small town in Florida and a guy who’s just out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, then I’m one happy fella.”
    — Bill Crider

NOVELS

  • So Dead My Love! (1953); aka “Let’s Count Our Dead”) Buy this book
    The novel was also collected in the 2001 collection Pulp Masters.

FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS

Respectively cobbled together by Kevin Burton Smith, based partly on posts on Rara Avis by Willaim Denton, Rene Ribic and Bill Crider.

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