Stanley Melvin

Created by Frank Zafiro

On a basic level, Stanley understood sarcasm.”

The 2021 novella “Hallmarks of the Job” is “part mystery, part humour,” according to the author.

It introduces nit-picky, stick-in-the-mud private investigator, STANLEY MELVIN, who works out of his very tidy office above Hamilton’s Barber Shop. It’s a suitably non-exciting location for a P.I. who is perhaps a little too literally-minded, and who prefers his work to be grounded in some kind of easy-to-pin-down reality–not at all like all those crazy, over-the-top detective novels he’s been reading since he was a kid.

As Stanley patiently informs his client, “Most people’s image of a private investigator has been informed by film, television and books. These depictions are rarely accurate. The reality is much more orderly.”

But as  his best friend and annoying neighbour (or is it annoying friend and best neighbour?) Rudy is quick to point out, Stanley’s latest case seems to be working its way down a checklist of all the fictional tropes of the genre.

The author promises this won’t be the last time we see the compulsively somber Stanley in action. You’ve been warned…


Frank Zafiro has worked in Military Intelligence as a Czechoslovak linguist, and as a Spokane, Washington police officer, serving as a patrol officer, a detective and a commander, in charge of patrol officers, investigators, K-9 officers (and their dogs!), and the SWAT team. But now he writes, as he puts it, “gritty crime fiction from both sides of the badge.” This includes his River City series (an ensemble cast of police officers) and his SpoCompton series (a rotating cast of criminals). His storytelling creed is “The good guys usually win… but not always, and never without a cost.”



  • August 23, 2021
    THE BOTTOM LINE: This nit-picky, stick-in-the-mud PI insists his job is NOT at all like all those crazy, over-the-top detective novels he’s been reading since he was a kid. Except…
    Keeping my eye on this guy. He’s a hoot.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply