Created by Emile C. Tepperman
Pseudonym include John Benton, Anthony Clements, Brant House, Kenneth Robeson, Curtis Steele, Grant Stockbridge, Robert Wallace
Prolific pulpster Emile C. Tepperman (about whom little seems to be known other than that he was born in 1899 and died in 1951), created dozens of crime-fighting series characters for the rough paper magazines, and contributed to the adventures of many others who were created “by committee.”
But one of his most popular was one he created especially for a pulp crime monthly called Ten Detective Aces, edited by A.A. Wynn for Magazine Publishers, Inc. (which later morphed into Ace Magazines, the progenitor of the paperback publisher, Ace Books).
Not quite on the level of such top-flight publications as Black Mask, Dime Detective or Detective Fiction Weekly, it was a solid, dependably entertaining publication that always included ten stories in every issue. The motto of the magazine, which sold for a dime, was, “A cent a story.” Most of the protagonists of these ten stories per issue were series characters, developed especially for the magazine, and they ran the gamut of fictional crime detection in their variety. Cops, like Carl McK. Saunders’s Captain Murdock, amateur sleuths like Norvell Page’s Wade Hammond, masked costumed avengers like Frederick C. Davis’s Moon Man, scientific detectives like Lester Dent’s Lee “The Blond Adder” Nace, etc.
One of the mainstays of Ten Detective Aces was Manhattan gumshoe MARTY QUADE, who billed himself as New York City’s “Ace of Private Detectives.” He specialized in what he called “high end jobs,” and boasted of never having failed in a case, which he figured justified his exuberant fees. Mind you, he did have a reputation for keeping his mouth shut, and when he closed out a case, usually with the aid of his trusty automatic, the case stayed closed. A tall, good-looking kinda guy, a “cool, assured poker-face with its gray, unreadable eyes, his square shoulders and his (bulging) chest,” not to mention his “hair-trigger brain”, Marty sounds like quite a catch.
The Quade stories were competent, and often much better than competent. Quade was not anywhere near being in the same class as Hammett’s Continental Op, Chandler’s Phil Marlowe (or “Carmody/John Dalmas” to give him his pulp names), or Frederick Nebel’s Donahue. But he was probably a cut above Carroll John Daly’s Race Williams, and perhaps on a par with Cleve Adams’s Rex McBride.
The Quade stories tend to run to a pattern. Quade’s called into a case, or is already deep into investigating a case as the story starts. His stirring the pot causes the bad guys to retaliate. There are violent encounters, almost always including at least one gun battle, and often more than one. Inevitably, each story ended with Marty victorious, often bloodied, but always unbowed, identifying the main villain, and collecting a hefty fee for himself. As often as not, there’s no real puzzle, and the identity of the main villain is clear from the start.
It was a familiar recipe, but Tepperman handled the ingredients like a master chef, and the Quade stories are all entertaining and fast-moving.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…
These days, the single most important thing about Quade is that he’s fallen into the public domain, which means new stories can be added to his saga by other writers without having to get permission from Tepperman’s literary estate.
And that’s the reason “New Pulp” publisher Ron Fortier, founder of the small press Airship 27, who has long wanted to do a series about a pulp-era private eye, has released an anthology, the first of many, in which several contemporary writers contributed new stories about “Ace of Private Detectives.” Marty Quade, Private Detective, Vol. 1 (2019) includes new Quade stories by Gordon Dymowski, Chris Bell, Gene Moyers, and Michael A. Black.
Quade proved hard enough to kill in his original pulp incarnation, and his resurrection demonstrates just how hard killing him off really is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emile C. Tepperman was an extraordinarily productive writer during his comparatively short life. In the private eye field aside from Quade, he created sharp shooter/P.I. Ed Race (aka “The Masked Marksman), who appeared in over 50 stories, all published in The Spider. He also created a number of detective characters who made it into a single story, but he did create a few more series sleuths: a trio of federal cops who formed a special unit within the FBI called “The Suicide Squad” in Ace G-Man Stories, and Commander Sam Farrell, USN, who gumshoed for the Office of Naval Intelligence as a back-up feature in Operator #5.
But the bulk of Tepperman’s pulp work was in the various “hero pulps,” under numerous “house names.” As Kenneth Robeson he wrote at least six stories about The Avenger. As Grant Stockbridge, he wrote at least a dozen novels about the featured character in The Spider, and as Brant House he contributed at least four novels about the featured character in Secret Agent X.
By far his most memorable contribution to the hero pulps, however, was sequence of thirteen consecutive novels, written as Curtis Steele, about the title character in Operator #5, in which the secret agent hero became an underground resistance fighter when a European totalitarian power (modeled on Nazi Germany, but never specifically identified as such) successfully invaded and took over the United States. This sequence of novels, collectively referred to as the “Purple Invasion Series,” has been called the “War and Peace of hero pulps.”
Makes the Marty Quade series seem positively restrained!
- By Emile C. Tepperman
- “Guns at the Baltic” (June 1934, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Coffin Cache” (July 1934, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Rendezvous with Murder” (September 1934, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Death Dance” (October 1934, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Disciple of Doom” (November 1934, Ten Detective Aces; also March 1994, Pulp Review)
- “Warden of Death” (December 1934, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Devil’s Commission” (January 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Married for Murder” (February 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Slow Murder” (March 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Dead Freight” (May 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Lottery Loot” (Jun 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Witness to Murder” (Augt 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Suicide Service” (September 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Killer’s Combine” (December 1935, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Murder Wheels” (July1936, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Killer’s Club Car” (August 1936, Ten Detective Aces; also 1986, A Cent a Story!)
- “Bullet-Battle Treasure” (September 1936, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Counsel for the Offense” (July 1938, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Crime Custodian” (March 1939, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Suicide — So What?” (May 1939, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Parade of the Wooden Kimonos” (February 1941, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Five-Star Frameup” (March 1941, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Dead Man’s Alimony” (April 1941, Ten Detective Aces)
- “A Half Interest in Hell” (May 1941, Ten Detective Aces)
- ?”Murder in Ten Easy Lessons” (July 1941, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Hello, Killer!” (December 1941, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Pin the Rap on Me!” (February 1942, Ten Detective Aces)
- “The Corpse Takes a Powder” (May 1942, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Lady MacDeath” (August 1942, Ten Detective Aces)
- “V for Victim” (October 1942, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Doubling for the Doomed” (January 1943, Ten Detective Aces)
- “The Case of the Headless Client” (October 1943, Ten Detective Aces)
- By Other Writers
- “Publish or Perish” (2019, Marty Quade, Private Detective, Vol. 1; by Gordon Dymowski)
- “Dogs of War, Angels of Death” (2019, Marty Quade, Private Detective, Vol. 1; by Chris Bell)
- “Over Their Head” (2019, Marty Quade, Private Detective, Vol. 1; by Gene Moyers)
- “Dead Man’s Hand” (2019, Marty Quade, Private Detective, Vol. 1; by Michael Black)
- By Emile C. Tepperman
- Marty Quade, Private Dick (2016)
Contains “Coffin Cache,” Married for Murder,” “Parade of the Wooden Kimonos,” “Five-Star Frameup,” and “A Half Interest in Hell.” Was only available from Amazon.co.jp.
- By Other Writers
- By Marty Quade, Private Detective, Volume 1 (2019) | Buy this book| Kindle it!
New stories by Gordon Dymowski, Chris Bell, Gene Moyers and Michael Black.
- Roy Glashan’s Library
A great online source for reading the Quade stories.
THE DICK OF THE DAY
- September 19, 2021
THE BOTTOM LINE: NYC’s “Ace of Private Eyes” appeared in over 50 stories in TEN DETECTIVE ACES in the 30s & 40s—and he ain’t dead yet.
Respectfully submitted by Jim Doherty.