“Corpus Delicti” Mort

Created by Julius W. Long
(1907-1955)

Defense attorney and notorious barfly CLARENCE DARROW MORT, better known by his nickname “CORPUS DELECTI,” liked to drink and hang out in dive bars and dubious nightclubs–and what’s wrong with that?

He was a regular in the pages of Dime Detective in the mid-forties, staggering from case to case, slightly shabby and slightly drunk, yet somehow always successfully defending his clients, a neat cross between Erle Stanley Gardner‘s Perry Mason and Craig Rice‘s John J. Malone.

Mort was yet another of those slightly oddball characters that Ken White tried to fill the pages of Dime Detective with, featuring assorted quirky characters, bizarre situations and splashes of humour. Not that Long would ever be confused with dedicated laugh-meisters like Rice or Norbert Davis–his stories for Black Mask about Ben Corbett, chief inspector for the DA’s office,  are hard and tough and play it pretty straight.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A lifelong resident of small town Bellefontaine, Ohio, from where he practiced law, the ubiquitous Julius Long seemed to be everywhere in the 1940s pulps, a mainstay of the crime and detective mags, primarily Black Mask, Dime Detective and Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine, with his name–if not his stories–featured prominently on any issue in which one of them was included. By the late forties, however, his fiction output began to slow. His only novel, Keep the Coffins Coming, came out in 1947, and presumably he devoted the rest of life to his on-going legal practice and non-fiction articles, possibly on legal matters and others about guns and gun collecting for Field and Stream.

SHORT STORIES

  • C.D. for Corpus Delicti” (November 1944, Dime Detective)
  • No Minimum for Murder” (January 1945, Dime Detective)
  • Loaded for Murder” (July 1945, Dime Detective)
  • Corpus Delicti de Luxe” (September 1945, Dime Detective)
  • Mostly for Murder” (December 1945, Dime Detective)
  • Murder Under Foot” (February 1946, Dime Detective)
  • On the Homicide of the Street” (March 1946, Dime Detective)
  • The Needle and the Hook” (April 1946, Dime Detective)
  • Chicanery Row” (May 1946, Dime Detective)
  • Death for a Chaser” (August 1946, Dime Detective)
  • Murder While You Wait” (January 1947, Dime Detective)

COLLECTIONS

  • The Complete Cases of Corpus Delicti Mort, Volume 1 (2021) Buy this book
    Collects the first six stories.

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

  • Julius Long
    From Mike Grost’s always impressive A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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