Daffy Dill

Created by Richard Sale
Pseudonyms include Bernard Elas, Seymour Richards, John St. John

(1911-93)

Nearly every detective pulp worth its salt had some sort of brash, wisecracking reporter lurking among its regulars, sticking his nose into things, and Detective Fiction Weekly was no exception. It had easy-going (but pistol-packing) JOE “DAFFY” DILL of The New York Chronicle, always seemingly one step from being fired, poking around,  covering everything from restaurants to gangsters, and was constantly in some kind of jam or another, often due to the devious machinations of arch rival Harry Lyons, a fellow reporter.

Fortunately, Daffy had the support of true blue receptionist (and later, gossip columnist) Dinah Mason, the paper’s editor (affectionately known to one and all as “the Old Man”) and his Weegee-like photographer buddy Candid Jones, who eventually had his own spin-off series going on.

But it was Dill who remained one of Detective Fiction Weekly‘s most popular characters throughout his long, long run, popping up frequently as the cover story. Read ’em all–they’re a hoot!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Prolific pulpster, novelist, screenwriter and director Sale, a former reporter himself, became one of the main contributors to the Red Star chain, which included Detective Fiction Weekly, Argosy and Double Detective.

HUH?

  • Apparently, there’s no connection–except for a “borrowed” monicker, between tough guy reporter Daffy Dill,  and the Broadway musical Daffy Dill, which opened in New York City in August 22, 1922 and played through October 21 of that year.

SHORT STORIES

  • “The Fifty Grand Brain” (November 3, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “A Nose for News” (December 1, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly; 1965, The Hardboiled Dicks)
  • “The Ghost Wore Boots” (February 2, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Mute One” (March 9, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “A Slug for Cleopatra” (March 30, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Egg” (March 1935, Clues Detective Storie)
  • “Cocked Dice” (May 11, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Bumper-Offer” (June 22, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Man Bites Dog” (September 28, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Green Mamba” (October 19, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “I Cover Crime” (November 16, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Twenty-Three Million” (January 25, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Strangler Without Hand” (March 28, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Balinese Dagger” (August 22, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Double Trouble” (October 31, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Guy from Superstition” (December 19, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Dancing Rats” (February 27, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
    Not the same as the one in the June 1942 issue of Black Mask.
  • “The Murderous Mr. Coon” (March 20, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “FLASH!” (May 29, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly; with Candid Jones)
  • “Ghost in C-Minor” (June 12, 1937; aka “The Ghost of a Dog”)
  • “Hanley Has a Homicide” (June 26, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Quoth the Raven: ‘Nevermore!'” (July 10, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “You Can’t Print That!” (August 21, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly; with Candid Jones)
  • “Give, Ghost, Give!” (October 2, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Key” (October 16, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Ghost of a Chance” (December 25, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “A Hearse for Hiawatha” (January 29, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Die, Hamlet!” (March 5, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Come Out of That Grave” (August 13, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Sinister Leaf” (September 17, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Dead Man Has a Dummy” (November 5, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Jimjam” (December 17, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “A Nice Quiet Place” (February 4, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Three Wise Men of Babylon” (April 1, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Death of a Glamor Girl” (April 8, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; with Candid Jones)
  • “The Nutcracker Murders” (May 13, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Chiller-Diller” (June 24, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “No Nice Girl Kills” (July 8, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Nail Down the Lid” (July 15, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “A Dirge for Pagliaccio” (July 29, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Gabriel’s Wings” (August 12, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Case of the Giant Rat” (September 9, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Goodbye Gravescratcher” (September 23, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Nervous Corps” (December 2, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “By Claw and Fang” (December 16, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Loquacious Lizard” (January 27, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Death in Pink” (March 2, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Up from the Dead” (April 27, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Galileo’s Collar” (September 7, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Come and Get It” (September 14, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Keep Your Head” (November 2, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Bombs Bursting in Air” (November 23, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Money to Bur” (December 21, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Burma Star” (January 18, 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Godfrey’s Ashes” (February 15, 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Hermit Went to Heaven” (March 8, 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Fifty Grand” (April 12, 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Ghosts Don’t Make No Noise” (June 7, 1941; Detective Fiction Weekly; aka “Ghosts Don’t Make Noise”
  • “Death on High Iron” (September 17, 1941, Detective Fiction)
  • “Detour — to Death” (January 1943, Flynn’s Detective Fiction)
  • “Death Flies High” (June 1943, Flynn’s Detective Fiction)

COLLECTIONS

  • Cocked Dice: The Complete Cases of Daffy Dill, Volume 1 (2021) Buy this book

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

THE DICK OF THE DAY

  • December 1, 2021
    THE BOTTOM LINE: Almost every decent crime pulp had some sort of brash, wisecracking reporter lurking among its regulars, and Detective Fiction Weekly had one of the best in Daffy, who popped up in over 60 stories.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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