Frank Gruber’s “Fool-proof” 11 Point Formula for Mystery Short Stories

By Frank Gruber In 1966, prolific pulpster Frank Gruber published Brass Knuckles, a collection of short stories featuring Oliver Quade, the "Human Encyclopedia." It was Gruber's only collection of his work to be published during his lifetime, and it's got to have one of the most gawd-awful covers I've ever seen on the cover of … Continue reading Frank Gruber’s “Fool-proof” 11 Point Formula for Mystery Short Stories

They Also Served: George Sutton

EDITOR OF BLACK MASK Although editor Joseph T. "Cap" Shaw gets most of the attention for making Black Mask magazine what it was, it was actually  GEORGE W. SUTTON, JR., the pulp's second editor, succeeding F.M. Osborne, who turned the boat around. And just in time, too, because in the pulp's first few years, the emphasis … Continue reading They Also Served: George Sutton

They Also Served: Joseph “Cap” Shaw

EDITOR OF BLACK MASK "Shaw was the finest coachwhip I ever met in an editor's chair. In my thirty-five years of freelance fiction, no one stands out so." -- Lester Dent, in a letter to Philip Durham "We wrote better for him than we could have written for anybody else." -- Raymond Chandler, in a … Continue reading They Also Served: Joseph “Cap” Shaw

Authors & Creators

This site focusses on the detectives; not, for the most part, on their creators, or, as WB head Jack Warner so elegantly put it, those "schmucks with Underwoods." Still, sometimes an author's work can't really be covered solely by a discussion of his or her creations. In some cases, their work is so significant and/or … Continue reading Authors & Creators

Robert B. Parker on Writing

Plumber Cracks & Other Words of Wisdom Robert B. Parker was some kinda guy. By all reports he was a friendly guy, but he didn't suffer fools or pretensions gladly, and delighted in taking the piss out of both. On writing "Writer's block? You never hear a plumber complaining about plumber's block, do you?" "If … Continue reading Robert B. Parker on Writing

Dis Dissertation, Dat Dissertation…

Doctor, My Eyes? There are tons of dissertations on crime fiction out there, but there are also a few by crime writers themselves. Which makes them not just P.I. Writers but Doctor P.I. Writers! "The Inward Eye : A Revaluation of Coleridge's Psychological Criticism" By Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald) University of Michigan First Published in … Continue reading Dis Dissertation, Dat Dissertation…

On the Trail of Drexel Drake’s Falcon

An On-Going Investigation by Frank Derato I have always enjoyed the Falcon films with Tom Conway and the other night, while watching one I noticed that Michael Arlen is credited with having created the character. A little googling revealed that Arlen supposedly created the character in "Gay Falcon," a 1940 short story. But what about … Continue reading On the Trail of Drexel Drake’s Falcon

T.S. Eliot’s Rules of English Detective Stories (Boiled Down)

EDITOR'S NOTE Renowned poet and certified literary big shot T.S. Eliot has a bigger connection to crime fiction than you might expect -- he was a fan and an early defender of the genre. He was -- get this -- the mystery reviewer for The Criterion (later The New Criterion),a prestigious British literary journal (1922-39) founded by Eliot, … Continue reading T.S. Eliot’s Rules of English Detective Stories (Boiled Down)

Lester Dent’s Rogues Gallery

An Ever-Growing List of Lester Dent's Detective Characters Kenneth Robeson was the prolific author of about a jillion pulp stories, and was best known as the creator of the Doc Savage series. But his real name was Lester Dent. And under that name and an avalanche of other pseudonyms and house names that included H.O. Cash, … Continue reading Lester Dent’s Rogues Gallery

Lester Dent’s Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lester Dent (1904 - 1959) was a prolific author of about a million pulp stories, best known -- at least among pulp fans -- as the main author of the Doc Savage series, under the pen name of Kenneth Robeson. But he was more, much more than that. In addition to the Doc … Continue reading Lester Dent’s Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot