Jason Chase

Created by Stephen Marlowe
Pseudonym of Milton Lesser
Other pseudonyms include Adam Chase, Andrew Frazer, Jason Ridgway, C.H. Thames, S.M. Teneshaw, Gerald Vance, Alexander Blade, Darius John Granger, Adam Chase, Stephen Wilder, Ellery Queen

“I made a considerable dent in the bourbon reserves of three bars. Maybe I couldn’t quite walk a straight line after that, but I was still thinking up a storm and getting nowhere.”

Just out of stir after two years (for a crime he didn’t commit, of course), JASON CHASE is an ex-con turned private-eye-by-accident who sets out to track down the killer of a Phyllis Kirk, a New York City sex researcher. Seems Phyllis was working on the Kincaid morals report, the “the shocker that out-Kinseyed Kinsey.”


Chase’s only appearance was in Model for Murder (1955) and while it’s no lost classic, it’s a primo slice of mid-fifties pulp, full of sleaze, messed up families, hired thugs, an extra large lady wrestler, blackmailers, and enough sex and violence to keep the pages turning, and a hard-boiled, hard-drinking P.I. to sort it all out.

And just in case the customers missed the point, the original publisher, Graphic, gave it an extra cheesy cover, including a half-dressed babe, a couple of mooks at a desk ignoring her and enough cigarette smoke to suggest opening a window might not be a bad idea.


Born Milton Lesser, Stephen Marlowe was raised in Brooklyn and attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and was the author of more than fifty novels. Initially a sci-fi writer, he shifted gears after serving in the Korean War, and legally changed his name to Stephen Marlowe, and wrote nearly two dozen featuring globe-trotting private eye Chet Drum. He also wrote mysteries as Andrew Frazier (including some not-so-bad P.I. stories about Duncan Pride), and some Ace Double mysteries as C.H. Thames, a name he also used on SF. His list of pen names seems endless—it’s entirely possible he also wrote a few books under names that we still don’t know about. He was awarded France’s Prix Gutenberg du Livre in 1988, and in 1997 the Private Eye Writers of America conferred on him The Eye, their Life Achievement Award.


  • Phyllis Kirk? Just by coincidence, that was also the name of the New York actress who, just two years later, starred as Nora Charles in the short-lived TV series based on Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man.


  • “… there is a lot of plot crammed into the 190 pages of Model for Murder, and while Stephen Marlowe (born Milton Lesser) was just starting out as mystery writer–as Lesser he was no more than a prolific writer of mostly mediocre science fiction–every so often he has a turn of phrase that a certain Mr. Chandler might have been proud of.”
    — Steve Lewis (June, 2022, Mystery*File)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Merci to Roger for the leads…

One thought on “Jason Chase

  1. Dear Kevin,

    Steve Marlowe has also published novels under Jason Ridgway pseudo (West Side Jungle, 1958,Adam’s Fall (1960), People in Glass Houses (1961),Hardly a Man is Now Alive (1962), The Treasure of the Cosa Nostra (1966) and an Ellery Queen one (Dead Man’s Tale 1961).
    He had short-stories in pulps under at least seven pseudos, among them house names S.M. Teneshaw, Gerald Vance and Alexander Blade.
    He was also Darius John Granger, Adam Chase and Stephen Wilder.
    You could consider these infos for sure since Steve wrote them to me when I devoted an issue of Hard-Boiled Dicks to him.
    Best regards,


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