Ralph Henderson

Created by Charles Felix Pseudonym of Charles Warren Adams (1833-1903) "Is that chain one of purely accidental coincidences, or does it point with terrible certainty to a series of crimes, in their nature and execution too horrible to contemplate?" -- Victorian P.I. Ralph Henderson gets all noir on us Forget The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie … Continue reading Ralph Henderson

Horace Dorrington

Created by Arthur Morrison (1863-1945) Arthur Morrison is one of the forgotten crime authors of the Conan Doyle generation. He grew up in genuine poverty, and is remembered by literary critics for his social protest "slum novels", most famously the semi-autobiographical A Child of the Jago. His work also included the intriguingly-titled, but as I … Continue reading Horace Dorrington

Burton Combs (real name unknown)

Created by Carroll John Daly (1889-1958) "I ain't a crook; just a gentleman adventurer and make my living working against the law breakers. Not that work I with the police -- no, not me. I'm no knight errant either." Carroll John Daly's short story, "The False Burton Combs," which first appeared in the December 1922 … Continue reading Burton Combs (real name unknown)

Three Gun Terry (aka “Three Gun Mack)

Created by Carroll John Daly Pseudonyms include John D. Carroll (1889--1958) "You don't take me for no Sir Lancelot, do you?" -- Terry explains he ain't that kinda guy. Here's the real deal! Carroll John Daly's THREE GUN TERRY is the very first hard-boiled private eye. Probably... Because, of course, with any such statement, there … Continue reading Three Gun Terry (aka “Three Gun Mack)

Hagedorn

Created by Peter Collinson Pseudonym of Dashiell Hammett 1894-1961) Hammett scholar Vince Emery, citing William F. Nolan, suggested that Dashiell Hammett's "The Road Home," featuring professional manhunter HAGEDORN and originally published in the December 1922 issue of The Black Mask is in fact "the first hard-boiled detective story," predating Carroll John Daly's "Three Gun Terry," which is … Continue reading Hagedorn

Who’s on First?

The First Hard-Boiled Private Eye Story "Firsts" are the sort of game literary historians, scholars and bookgeeks love to play, giving them a chance to strut their stuff, loudly and proudly offering up the most blurry of distinctions and the most wishy-washy of definitions, turning hair-splittery into a fine art -- and occasionally a contact … Continue reading Who’s on First?

Eugène François Vidocq

(1775-1857) EUGÈNE FRANÇOIS VIDOCQ was the world's first private detective, as we generally understand the term. He also  killed his first man at fourteen, and once posed as a cannibal in a traveling show. Well, maybe. I say "maybe" because almost everything we know about Vidocq comes from Vidocq himself and other, often contradictory sources. Like … Continue reading Eugène François Vidocq

Early Eyes

Historical and Literary Influences on the Genre Trying to pinpoint the first fictional "private detective" (never mind the first "private eye") is pretty much like nailing two pieces of jello together... during an earthquake. Nonetheless, all the following usual (and maybe occasionally unusual) suspects contributed to the development of the private eye as we now understand … Continue reading Early Eyes

Martin Hewitt

Created by Arthur Morrison (1863-1945) "It was, of course, always a part of Martin Hewitt's business to be thoroughly at home among any and every class of people, and to be able to interest himself intelligently, or to appear to do so, in their various pursuits." -- the importance of the common touch, explained in … Continue reading Martin Hewitt

Tom Horn

(1860-1903) "I have lived about fifteen ordinary lives. I would like to have had somebody who saw my past and could picture it to the public. It would be the most God damn interesting reading in the country." --Tom Horn Yep, that TOM HORN. The notorious Western gunman. The scout. The Indian fighter. The bounty … Continue reading Tom Horn