Big Bull Benson

Created by Percy Spurlark Parker

The South side of Chicago is one of the baddest parts of town, and BIG BULL BENSON, at six-six and tipping the scales at 285, is not a man to mess with, anywhere–never mind his home turf. He’s a gambler with a taste for Grand-Dad and sticking his nose in police business, or, as he puts it occasionally, helping to point them “in the right direction.”

Bull’s reputation precedes him, though, and he’s often asked to look into things, by folks who may not exactly feel comfortable dealing with more traditional methods of law enforcement. He works out of an office in back of the Bull Pen Lounge, on the ground floor of the Benson Hotel, which he owns, thanks to a rather lucrative all-night poker game some years back.

Bull made his debut in the 1973 Mystery Writers of America anthology, Mirror, Mirror, Fatal Mirror, and has since gone on to appear in several stories in AHMM, as well as in Paula Woods’ Spooks, Spies and Private Eyes, and a couple of novels, Good Girls Don’t Get Murdered, which Bill Pronzini deemed “tough, tense, sharply realistic… a microcosmic portrait of black urban America as only as black man can paint it,” and An Unrefusable Request (2011).


Percy Spurlark Parker is one of those guys who seems to have been in the Shamus Game for a long, long time–he was a member of the Mystery Writers of America for over 35 years, and a member of the Private Eye Writers of America since its inception. His first short stories appeared in the April 1972 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and over his long career he’s been  published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Woman’s World, and several anthologies. He’s also the author of  The Good Looking Dead Guy (2009), featuring private eye Trevor Oaks.


  • “The Wino Murder” (1973, Mirror, Mirror, Fatal Mirror)
  • “Lady Luck” (March 26, 1980, AHMM)
  • “The Split” (December 15, 1980, AHMM)
  • “Thy Brother’s Keeper” (May 1982, AHMM)
  • “Death and the Point Spread” (1995, Spooks, Spies and Private Eyes)
  • “The Cousin Noose” (December 1998, EQMM)
  • “Pulling Strings” (August 2000, EQMM)
  • “The Hell Book” (April 2003, EQMM)
  • “Stacked Deck” (December 2003, AHMM)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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