Sam Beckett

Created by John Lawrence

“The gunman walked over and fired again into his cheek, blew a ragged hole in the jaw; the body jerked, flopped over onto its back, arms outstretched. The gunman stood looking down, finally leaned over and spat into the bloody face.”
–from “Mouthpiece”

One of pulpster John Lawrence’s many over-hard-boiled eyes, SAM BECKETT runs the Sam Beckett Private Inquiry Agency in New York, in a string of brutal, bloody stories in the pages of Detective Action Stories and Dime Detective during the thirties. It’s typical Lawrence fare, with loads of gunplay, fistfights, sloppy writing, nasty violence and plots you could run Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade through. Cheese, to be sure, but oh what cheese! Another of Lawrence’s countless pulp heroes, ace newsie Barton Black, even shows up in one story, “The Torso Trap,” to lend a hand.

Lawrence was a prolific pulpter, with numerous series credits to his name, but is probably best known for his tales of Lt. Marquis and the Broadway Squad, the most ruthless, vicious gang of thugs to ever pin on badges in the pulps. He also found the time, though, to create a few other private eyes, including Cass Blue, Joey Saphir and The Acme Indemnity Op.


  • “The Gold Coin of Solon” (January 1942, Detective Action Stories)
  • “Blood on the Tape” (February 1932, Detective Action Stories)
  • “The Torso Trap” (October 1932, Dime Detective)
  • “The Corpse in Cage Two” (March 1, 1933, Dime Detective)
  • “Portrait in Crimson” (April 15, 1933, Dime Detective)
  • “The Brain Master” (May 15, 1933, Dime Detective)
  • “Design For Dying” (August 1, 1933, Dime Detective)
  • “Murder In Miniature” (November 1, 1933, Dime Detective)
  • “The Scarlet Casket” (January 15, 1934, Dime Detective)
  • “Mouthpiece” (February 15, 1934, Dime Detective)
  • “The Third Greek” (May 15, 1934, Dime Detective)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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