Trixie Meehan & Mike Harris

Created by T.T. Flynn
Pseudonym of (Thomas Theodore Flynn
(1902-78)

“Pert and sweet, soft and cuddly, harmless as a kitten and luscious-looking to all big strong men—that’s Trixie if you don’t know her.”

Nuts about each other, or just nuts?

One of those hard-boiled dames from the pulps, cute, gun-toting TRIXIE MEEHAN was, along with her big, rugged partner, MIKE HARRIS, an op for the Miami-based Blaine Private Detective Agency–and probably the only–and certainly the first–hard-boiled dick to ever go by the name of Trixie.

I mean, Trixie? Really?

True, her “little tongue,” as Mike–who narrated the stories, put it, “could peel the hide off a brass-bound monkey” and she was “shrewd, fearless and tireless on a case,” but honestly? There was probably more screwball comedy and “It Happened One Night”-type dialogue in the stories than blood and thunder. Many of their cases barely feature involve murder at all.

Often, Trixie and Mike, sassy, snappy and eternally at odds with each other, would go under cover. In “The Deadly Orchid” (1933), for example, which Mike Grost tags as “a definitive piece of 1930’s escapism,” they’re posing as a wealthy Texas married couple in Palm Beach, although their real game is to nab a thief. The story moves well, mixing the private eye and romance genres together with a generous dollop of humour that anticipates everyone from the Thin Man and Torchy Blane films to the such 1980’s television fare as Moonlighting and Remington Steele.

It was a hook that certainly seemed to work for Trixie and Mike. In most of their cases, they would go off somewhere undercover and hobnob with the rich and glamorous, in undeniably swank settings (yachts, mansions, gala costume balls, etc.), all the better to nab the culprits they were after. And they’ve aged well–the stories are frequently included in anthologies, and in 2021, Steeger began an ambitious project to bring all their stories back into print.

One final note: even if she was the main attraction for many of us, and despite the fact that Trixie could more than handle herself and was nobody’s bimbo, she definitely was treated as second banana, frequently in need of rescue by Mike. Make no mistake–Mike was the lead here, but his “pert sidekick” was what made these stories sing. Even the first Steeger collection, Murderer’s Masquerade , is subtitled “The Complete Cases of Mike & Trixie”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author T.T. Flynn was born in Indiana and lived for a while in Hyattsville, Maryland. He was a prolific writer of stories for the pulps, pounding out at least 250 of the suckers, many of them westerns, according to Michael Cook’s Mystery, Detective and Espionage Fiction. Besides the Trixie and Mike stories, her also wrote about wrote a series of stories about Mr. Maddox, a bookie sleuth who hung around racetracks, for Dime Detective. One of his westerns, The Man from Laramie, was made into a successful movie, starring Jimmy Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann.

SHORT STORIES

  • “The Deadly Orchid” (April 15, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Falling Death” (October 28, 1933, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Murder’s Masquerade” (March 31, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Yin Shee Dragon” (September 29, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Murder Harbor” (December 1, 1934, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The City Hall Murders” (March 23, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Barred Doors” (May 18, 1935, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Nitro! Nitro!” (April 4, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Letters and the Law” (June 27, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Abbey of the Damned” (October 30, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Murder Circus” (May 21, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “The Secret of the Swamp” (February 25, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Brother Murder” (December 2, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Mike Finds Trouble” (August 17, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • “Build Up for Murder” (August 20, 1941, Detective Fiction)
  • “Killer in the Clouds” (March 1951, Detective Tales)

COLLECTIONS

  • Murder’s Masquerade: The Complete Cases of Mike & Trixie, Vol. 1 (2021) Buy this book 
    Collects the first four stories in the series, along with their original illustrations by Joseph A. Farren.

THE DICK OF THE DAY

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

2 thoughts on “Trixie Meehan & Mike Harris

    1. I know, I know… I hang my head in shame… And then there’s Trixie Zubro, as well, although she’s not exactly hard-boiled. In my defense, I originally wrote about Ms. Meehan years before I discovered there were other Trixies in the Shamus Game.

Leave a Reply to Chris Gumprich Cancel reply