Sebastien Riffkin

Created by Bevis Winter

An early character created by mushroom jungle author Bevis Winter, it’s difficult to pin down exactly who SEBASTIEN RIFFKIN was.

He was a private investigator–there seems to be no doubt about that–although many of his adventures seem to be played for laughs of the Wodehouse variety (Hubin’s makes a point of listing only some of the stories as “criminous”). At least some of them also feature elements of the occult, such as “The Ghoul,” which The Spectre Library tagged in 2020 as “a goofy, humorously written gangster-ghost story, but nicely handled and entertaining to the very last.”

Most of the Riffkin stories were collected in Sad Laughter: 14 Stories of the Inimitable Sebastian Riffkin in 1947, where they possibly saw publication for the first time, although some of them also appeared in Stag: Man’s Own Magazine, which just by happenstance was published by Winter, while “Pickle Profit” and “The Ghoul”, two later stories, both appeared in the one-off Detective Crime Stories, published in 1949 by Curtis Warren Ltd.


  • “Everything Happens to Me” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Under or Over the Sheet?” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “South Sea Island Bubble” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Keep Your Hair On” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “The Abnormal Talent” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Dames are Dreadful I Tell You” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Tough Proposition” (Spring 1947, Stag; also 1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Starting from Scratch” (Summer 1947, Stag; 1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Heat Wave” (1947, Sad Laughter; also Spring 1948, Stag)
  • “Good Queen Bess’s Bed” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Babes in the Mud” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Murder Rap” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “And the Blood Flows Freely” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “Pickle Profit” (1947, Sad Laughter) 
  • “The Ghoul” (1949, Detective Crime Stories)
  • “Pickle Profit” (1949, Detective Crime Stories)


  • Sad Laughter: 14 Stories of the Inimitable Sebastian Riffkin (1947)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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