Created by Victor Canning
“What did I learn? … that there’s an office waiting, clients being clever with you, and two roads running away north and south, and that you’ve got to be honest and take your own road because somewhere at the end of it—with luck—there might be the thing you really want. Or am I just kidding myself? Probably.”
— Rex sums it up, at the end of The Whip Hand
REX CARVER is probably thriller writer Victor Canning’s most “traditional” private eye, or at least in comparison to James Helder or Edward Mercer, are more in the psychological or international thriller category than the straight “mean streets” P. I.
I mean, Rex is a private eye who won’t take divorce cases, has an office complete with a secretary (Hilda Wilkins), and he gambles, drinks, smokes and has sex with a regularity more common on this side of the pond. And he knows how to handle himself, working out regularly at Miggs’ gym. He also narrates in the first person, in a relatively hard-boiled fashion—a rarity in Canning’s work.
Okay, there’s no sexual hanky-panky going on with Hilda, who’s not exactly a sexpot, and he ends up taking more than a few cases (often reluctantly) on behalf of the Secret Service—cases which which invariably take him abroad (France, Austria, Libya, Ibiza, Russia, Venice, Tunisia, Switzerland, Germany, etc.). And, of course, Nazis occasionally pop up.
In post-war Europe, there are always Nazis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victor Canning wrote over 60 books in his lifetime, mostly espionage and adventure novels, but also children’s stories, several historical novels set in Roman and Arthurian Britain, short story collections, a travel book and several radio plays. He soared high in the sixties and seventies, and was one of the best selling authors of his era.
- “Carver’s urbane narration carries the story forward with smooth assurance. There are no explosions or car chases, but there’s plenty of suspense and good writing…. Canning was one of those writers who could do just about anything and do it well, but as of now, most of his work is out of print in the U. S. Probably in England, too, and that’s a shame. All his forgotten novels are worth a look, and if you run across one, read it and see if you don’t agree.”
— Bill Crider on Doubled in Diaminds
- The Whip Hand (1965) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Doubled in Diamonds (1966) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
Also appeared in two parts in the Toronto Star Weekly Magazine, January 28 and February 5, 1967.
- The Python Project (1967) | Kindle it!
Also appeared in an abridged version in two parts in the Toronto Star Weekly Magazine, June 8 and 15, 1968.
- The Melting Man (1968) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
ALSO OF INTEREST
- The Rex Carver Companion (2016; by John Higgins) | Buy this book
A fan analyzes the Rex Carver books, and offers a biography of Canning, two background essays, and a comprehensive index of the series characters, locations and themes.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Big Al Hubin for helping to sort this one out.