Carl Good/Carl Guard

Created by Robert O. Saber
Pseudonym of Milton K. Ozaki
Other pseudonyms included Mark Shane


“I put my arms around her and drew her close. She didn’t resist. Then her cool arms were around my neck and her warm breasts were digging into my chest and she was kissing me like a French horn in reverse.”
— Carl gets some in Sucker Bait


Slightly shady but quite believable Windy City gumshoe, CARL GOOD is short, fortyish, and a good few pounds overweight, boasting of having “features like a fistful of dough and carrying the beginning of a paunch.” A WWII vet (he was a paratrooper), he appeared in a string of paperback originals from various publishers (Phantom, Handi-Books and Graphic) in the early fifties, written by Robert O. Saber, a pen name of Milton Ozaki. Suitably downscale and glitz-free, his Chicago is populated with goodtime girls, smalltime grifters, corrupt cops and petty thieves. He works out of an office over a coffee shop, across the street from a police station. His best friend is his equally shady syster pal Morrie Tannen, who has an office in the same building.

It’s just too bad Carl’s cases aren’t quite as believable and down-to-earth as Carl is. They tend to fall into the hard-to-swallow category–coincidences abound, and there’s just too many guys coming into rooms with guns in their hands. And Saber definitely has a rather twisted and sometimes tortured relationship with the English language. In other words, there’s a high cheese quotient in these tales, despite themselves. You’ve been warned now go ahead, pour yourself some Scotch (Carl will join you) and enjoy yourself.

Adding to the real cheese flavour is the fact that some of the books include a “Glossary of Terms Drawn From Thieve’s Argot” at the back, full of hopelessly outdated slang. Thank God, though, because now I know that a blister is “a woman of loose morals.”

Ah, women…

It’s safe to say Ozaki would never get away these days with some of his thoughts on women like the one who “hasn’t got enough brains to file her toenails” or this steamy aside from Murder Doll (1952):

“She came to me and lifted herself onto my lap. One arm went around my neck and her mouth searched for mine. I felt like spitting after the kiss, but I didn’t.”

At the end of that book, Carl’s married off to a woman he met while working in a case in a nudist colony (would I make this up?) but she’s never mentioned again in the rest of the series–nor in the unofficial last book in the series, published under the author’s real name for yet another publisher, where Carl becomes Carl Guard.


Milton Ozaki, was a Chicago newspaperman, artist, tax attorney and beauty salon operator who turned to writing crime fiction after World War II, and gave us a couple of dozen hard-boiled novels, all but two of them paperback originals, and all of them full of enough sex, violence and over-boiled prose to fulfill all your daily cheese requirements. Under his real name, he created several other Chicago P.I.s, including Rusty Forbes, Max Keene and Sarah Livingston.


  • “(His heart) wasn’t beating – and his lungs were as still as a piece of cheese.”
    — Murder Doll
  • “She fluttered mascaraed eyelashes and laid a hand on my arm. “Has anyone ever told you you’re handsome?”
    “Sure,” I said, “my mother. What’s your name, baby?”
    — Murder Doll



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply