Dr. Robert Frederickson (Mongo the Magnificent)

Created by George C. Chesbro

“I was born with a low profile.”
Mongo in Shadow of a Broken Man

Definitely the shortest eye this side of Inch High, DR. ROBERT “MONGO” FREDERICKSON is probably the world’s only dwarf ex-circus star turned college professor turned New York private eye. But he’s much more than that. He has a genious IQ, a PhD. in criminology, a black belt in karate, a former career as an acrobat under the Big Top (where he was billed as “Mongo the Magnificent”), and a “very” big brother, Garth, who’s a NYPD lieutenant. All of which come in handy in his current occupation as a private detective whose cases frequently bring him deep into X-FILES territory. “Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King”, reads the oft-mentioned Playboy quote.

Not to everyone’s taste, maybe, but definitely well-written, and certainly a treat for anybody who enjoys a good, off-beat tale or two, packing a punch and marinated in woo-woo. Fans of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker should take note.

The series began in 1971 with the short story, “The Drop” in the October issue of MSMM, and the first of thirteen novels, Shadow of a Broken Man, appeared in 1977, with the novels and the short stories more or less wrapping up in 1996 with the appearance of the novel, Dream of a Falling Eagle. But by then Chesbro had already started writing short stories featuring Mongo’s brother and sometime-partner, Garth Frederickson, no longer with the NYPD, who had begun working as a P.I. himself.


George C. Chesbro was the author of twenty-eight books in all, as well as numerous short stories. His first novel, King’s Gambit, followed the next year by his second novel, Shadow of a Broken Man, which launched the popular Mongo series which drew quite a cult following over the years, with first editions of some of the Mongo novels reportedly selling for hundreds of dollars.

In addition to the Mongo novels, Chesbro wrote several novels featuring other characters from the Mongo universe, as well as a few standalone novels, including Bone (1989), Keeper (2000) and Strange (2004).


  • “Chesbro’s wild roller-coaster rides mix detection with science fiction and fantasy but keep a center of humanity and rationality in the amazing Mongo, one of the greatest characters of recent mystery fiction.”
    — Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
  • “Not quite science fiction and suspense make a thrilling combination, and nobody works it better than Chesbro . . . Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King by way of Alice’s looking glass.”
    — Playboy
  • “… one of the most appealing creations in the detective world”
    — Publishers Weekly



  • “The Drop” (October 1971, MSMM)
  • “High Wire” March 1972, AHMM)
  • “Rage” (February 1973, AHMM)
  • “Country for Sale” (June 1973, MSMM)
  • “Dark Hole on a Silent Planet” (November 1973, AHMM)
  • “The Healer” (August 1974, AHMM)
  • “Falling Star” (November 1974, AHMM)
  • “Book of Shadows” (June 1975, MSMM)
  • “Tiger in the Snow” (March 1976, MSMM)
  • “Canadala” (1988, An Eye for Justice)


  • In the House of Secret Enemies (1990) Buy this book Kindle it!
    Collects all ten short stories featuring Mongo.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

3 thoughts on “Dr. Robert Frederickson (Mongo the Magnificent)

  1. I always thought that David Rappaport would have been an excellent casting choice for Dr. Robert “Mongo” Frederickson a movie or TV series.. Plus I love the the surreal art work covers

    1. I could see that. And it would have fit in nicely with the X-Files era. Of course, if they did do a series nowadays, it’s highly unlikely the name “Mongo” would ever appear. There’s something just a little freakshowish about it.

  2. If it COULD be done, Peter Dinklage would sell the intensity and darkness of the character. Maybe the only actor who could avoid Mongo becoming as you said “freakshowish.”

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