Cabinet 6: Crime & Murder
Cleve F. Adams, Decoy Doll. London: Original Novels Foundation, 1956. Pulp Literature Special Collections PS3501.D21735 D42
Wenzell Brown, Murder Seeks an Agent. Sydney: Invincible Press, [195-?]. Pulp Literature Special Collections PS3503.R8365 M87;
In his essay The Simple Art of Murder, Raymond Chandler argued that the Private Investigator novel required a knightly hero to redeem the corrupt milieu. Cleve Adams (1895-1949), a prolific pulp writer, disagreed and in his world, as in Decoy Doll (first published as Decoy by Dutton in 1941), the protagonist is not a hero and no less corrupt than others. He is just tougher and luckier. ‘Juke-Box’ Jacobs was not so lucky. He was killed by a blow from a machete in Wenzell Brown’s Murder Seeks an Agent, which is set in New York’s Broadway theatre scene. This copy is an Invincible Press reprint.
Richard Scott Prather (1921-2007) started his ‘Shell Scott’ series with Case of the Vanishing Beauty and went on to write 40 more books in his own hard-boiled style. Prather gave his character Shell ‘an eye for the broads and the frails.’ Indeed, the Horwitz blurb promotes him as ‘darling of the dames and the envy of all guys.’