Murder in the Library: The Best Crime & Detective Pulps

An Honour Roll. A work in progress; highly subjective. There were countless crime and detective pulps, of course, and almost all of them would, occasionally, publish some real gem of a story featuring a private eye, but remember -- these were the pulps, and most of the stories, even in the hallowed pages of Black … Continue reading Murder in the Library: The Best Crime & Detective Pulps

Murder in the Library: The Other Crime & Detective Pulps

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? This list, mostly pinched from William F. Nolan's excellent The Black Mask Boys (1985), is almost certainly incomplete. Everyone knows the big names like Black Mask, Dime Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly, but most of the pulps came and went with dizzying speed, switching titles and publishers and formats with gay … Continue reading Murder in the Library: The Other Crime & Detective Pulps

Good Ol’ Holyoke, Mass.

The Place Where the Pulps Came From In helping me assemble my list of post-pulp digests, Richard Moore openly speculated that 1 Appleton Street, Holyoke, Massachusett, listed so often as the "publisher's address" of so many crime pulps and digests, must surely have been a mail drop to dodge bill collectors -- or that Holyoke … Continue reading Good Ol’ Holyoke, Mass.

Flashgun Casey

Created by George Harmon Coxe (1901-84) Originally appearing in the pages of Black Mask under the watchful eyes of then-editor Joseph Shaw, JACK "FLASHGUN" CASEY of the Boston Express was the original fast-talking crime photographer, a big, hot-tempered Boston Mick with a gift for gab and a nose for trouble. No "artiste", Casey kept a bottle of … Continue reading Flashgun Casey

Torchy Blane

Created by Frederick Nebel (1903-1966) "The Lady Bloodhound with a Nose for News" "The Yellow-Haired Peril!" -- some of the taglines for the films Somewhere along the line, in the transition from the pulps to celluloid, Frederick Nebel's skinny, drunk-as-a-skunk Kennedy of The Free Press who'd appeared in a slew of stories in Black Mask became … Continue reading Torchy Blane

Manville Moon

Created by Richard Deming MANVILLE "MANNY" MOON is one of the great series eyes that somehow slipped through the cracks, somewhere between the pulps of the late forties and the he-man crime digests and paperbacks of the fifties. He's tough, honest and handy with the wisecracks, as expected, but he's a whole lot more. He's … Continue reading Manville Moon

The Defective Detectives

Handicapped Heroes "I lost my left arm. I'm right-handed. There is some good in everything, if you look at it correctly." -- Dan Fortune What is it about handicapped heroes? (Or physically-challenged or differently-abled, I guess). You could argue this curious sub-genre started with Ernest Bramah's Max Carrados in the pages of News of the World, … Continue reading The Defective Detectives

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

Ken O’Hara

Created by H.H. Stinson (1896-1969) KEN O'HARA was a hard-boiled reporter for the Los Angeles Tribune (and later in the series, a  rather reluctant hotel press agent) who appeared regularly in stories in that most venerable of pulps, Black Mask. He fought his way through fourteen stories, usually accompanied by his buddy Eddie, a frequently intoxicated … Continue reading Ken O’Hara