Race Williams

Created by Carroll John Daly (1889-1958) "Sometimes... one hunk of lead is worth all the thought in the world" -- from "Not My Corpse" "I have brains, I suppose." -- from "The Snarl of the Beast" New York City's RACE WILLIAMS is oftenconsidered to be the first "private eye," at least as we understand the … Continue reading Race Williams

Norbert Davis

Pseudonyms include Dave Barnes, Harrison Hunt, Cedric Titus (1909-1949) "Norbert Davis is a natural. If we were to pick anyone who, in spite of all human trials and tribulations, looks upon life resignedly and mostly as all fun, our nominee would be Bert." -- Joseph T. Shaw,  in an unpublished intro to The Hard-Boiled Omnibus Chandler … Continue reading Norbert Davis


Created by Raymond Chandler CARMADY made his debut in "Finger Man" (October 1934, Black Mask), Chandler's third published story for the legendary pulp mag. Carmady was Philip Marlowe virtually fully-developed:, an L.A.-based P.I. who told his own stories in the first person. The other Carmady stories are "Killer in the Rain", "The Man Who Liked Dogs," "Goldfish," … Continue reading Carmady


Created by Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) Raymond Chandler's very first P.I. character--in his very first story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot," sold to Black Mask!--lasted only two stories. MALLORY, whose adventures were told in the third person, was a Chicago operative who came to Hollywood for one case, and stayed. The format (third person) and background (business in … Continue reading Mallory

The Fictioneers

Role Call The Fictioneers was a social club for about twenty-five or so Southern California pulp writers established in the thirties, many of whom wrote for Black Mask. The informal club was founded by crime writers Cleve F. Adams and W.T. Ballard. The boys would meet monthly at the Nikobob Café at the corner of … Continue reading The Fictioneers

The Real Black Mask Boys

Cap Shaw didn't just edit Black Mask--he wanted to establish a sort of Band of Brothers-type fellowship among his writers, and encouraged them to have informal get-togethers in both New York city, where he lived, and out on the West Coast, where many of his star writers actually lived. But this rare photo of the First … Continue reading The Real Black Mask Boys