Katie “The Duchess” Blayne

Created by Whitman Chambers
(1896-1968)

You want a speed-rapping, wise-cracking, cocky female reporter from the pulps who can run rings around her male counterparts?

Then KATIE BLAYNE, aka “The Duchess,” might be your gal.

Invariably lumped in with Torchy Blane, with whom she shares a gift for mile-a-minute yammering, hard-charging competitivness, and a knack for getting to the bottom of things while the men around her drag their feet (and occasionally their knuckles). Katie appeared in seven or so stories in the pulps (mostly Detective Fiction Weekly) in 1936 and ’37, beginning with “The Duchess Spots a Killer” in the July 1935 issue of Mystery, all narrated by Pinky Kane, a reporter from a rival paper who keeps asking her to marry him.

But she has things to do, and she loves her job.

She’s the police reporter for the Sun in a never-named city, constantly looking for her next scoop–and usually getting it, thanks to a combination of determination, pluck and, as her male rivals dismissively call it, female intuition. Even her sometime-boyfriend Pinky doesn’t quite get it. But she certainly does make some leaps, and she does seem to have the ability, as more than one description puts it, “produce hunches faster than a cigarette machine turns out coffin nails.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie was by far Whitman Chambers’ most memorable character in the pulps, but then, he didn’t create that many. Despite his work in the crime and detective pulps and twenty or so novels (mostly mystery and crime) he’s best known  nowfor his work in film (Manhandled, The Come-On) and television (77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six, Bourbon Street Beat, etc.).

SHORT STORIES

  • “The Duchess Spots a Killer” (Jul 1935, Mystery)
  • “The Duchess Rides a Hunch” (Aug 29 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Duchess Pulls a Fast One” (Sep 19 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Murder at Rehearsal” (Oct 3 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Duchess Wins a Bet” (Nov 7 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Old Maids Die” (Dec 26 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Mystery of the Barrio Snatch” (Feb 27 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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