Tony Hunter

Created by Robert George Dean
Pseudonyms include George Griswold
(1904 – 1989)


Ace operative for the New York-based Schmidt Detective Agency, ANTHONY “TONY” HUNTER was a suitably hard-boiled, suitably hard-drinking and suitably flirtatious private eye with a suitably attractive receptionist and secretary, Irma, who appeared in ten novels in the thirties through the fifties.

He also seems to get around a bit–in the course of the series, his work took him to Maine, Washington, Florida, Conneticutt, St. Louis and various other parts of the Midwest, and often gets tangled up in cases his eye-on-the-bottom-line boss, Imperator Schmidt himself, would rather they didn’t involved with.

Although he was far from the A list, Dean was apparently a popular enough author back in the day. Unfortunately, only some of the Tony Hunter books, all initially published in hardcover, ever made it into paperback (and those that did sported mostly boring covers), which probably contributed to the reason Dean is barely remembered these days. Although those hardcovers being so woefully expensive hasn’t helped.


Robert George Dean‘s mysteries are “often quite clever, says one fan, “but his fiction could never quite live up to his own story of heroism” as a American Field Service volunteer ambulance driver with the British Army in North Africa during World War II.” A journalist and later a Wall Street broker, Dean was a quite successful mystery writer from the mid-1930s through to the fifties. He penned three novels featuring insurance investigator Pat Thompson (and gal pal Susan), another ten featuring Tony Hunter, and four espionage capers under the pen name of George Griswold, commonly referred to as the Mr. Groode books (although the actual protagonists were actually Jim Furlong and William Pepper). According to The Finance Professional’s Post (hey, I read ‘em all), Dean often featured bankers and stockbrokers in his crime fiction, and subscribed wholeheartedly to “the conventions of rough-and-tumble detective noir. Violent, swaggering, swiftly moving prose characterizes his work.”


  • “The detection here is good, the clues fair, the characters fairly interesting. I thought I knew who did it, but I was wrong. Not a great or a memorable mystery, but one that ought not be passed up if you fortuitously come across it at a reasonable price.
    William F. Deeck on On Ice (Winter 1988, The MYSTERY FANcier)
  • “Plot: ingenious. Action: swift. Unless a reader is tired of the tough, hard-drinking detectives, a good buy or borrow.”
    — Time Magazine on Murder Makes A Merry Widow (June 27, 1938)
  • “Rapid-fire action and snappy dialogue are the distinguishing features of this story.”
    Isaac Anderson on Murder in Mink (May 4, 1941, NYTBR)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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