Uncle Tubby (Washington Blythe)

Created by Ray Cummings
Pseudonyms include Ray King & Gabriel Wilson

He may have been best known for his “groundbreaking” science fiction work, but prolific Ray Cummings was a regular in the crime and detective pulps as well, popping up with a staggering frequency, it seemed. He was a mainstay in Popular Publications in the mid-1930s, where he cranked out ten stories featuring chubby, middle-aged gumshoe UNCLE TUBBY, a decidedly soft-boiled kinda detective, for Detective Tales.

Yeah, yeah. “Uncle Tubby” seems like a rather mean-spirited example of 1930s-style fat-shaming (kids can be so mean), but given that Tubby’s real name was Washington Blythe, you have to consider whether the nieces and nephews were doing him a favour.

Coincidentally, Cummings wrote about another, apparently less avuncular Tubby about a decade earlier, whose presumably more sci-fi leaning adventures were chronicled mostly in the pages of Thrilling Wonder Stories.


  • “Shadow of a Killer” (August 1936, Detective Tales)
  • “Case of the Whistling Death” (October 1936, Detective Tales)
  • “Shoes for a Corpse” (January 1937, Detective Tales)
  • “The Poison Specialist” (March 1937, Detective Tales)
  • “Death’s Water-Clock” (May 1937, Detective Tales)
  • “Ruby of Red Desire” (July 1937, Detective Tales)
  • “The Corpse Looks at Murder” (January 1938, Detective Tales)
  • “Curtains for the Killer” (June 1938, Detective Tales)
  • “The Butcher Leaves No Clue” (August 1938, Detective Tales)
  • “Homicide Test” (May 1939, Detective Tales)


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