I recently posted on a new (to me) occult detective I discovered: Gees, real name Gregory George Gordon Green. Created by British author and editor Charles Henry Cannell (1882-1947), better known by one of his pseudonyms E. Charles Vivian, but these appeared under his Jack Mann pseudonym.
There are eight novels in the series, and I read the first and third. Recently I got the second, fourth, and fifth: Grey Shapes, The Kleinart Case, and Maker of Shadows. All originally appeared, so I am told, in 1938. All eight are available from Ramble House in both paperback and hardcover.
We are introduced to Gees in Gees’ First Case. We learn his background: a former policeman who has quite to form his own detective agency, to the disapproval of his father, a general. His agency is just him and a secretary, Eve Madeleine Brandon. But there is no hanky panky there. Gees investigates anything from “mumps to murder,” as his card says, and thanks to the funds he took from communist conspirators in the first story, he is free to take the cases that interest him.Read More
As a fan of occult detectives, I was thrilled to learn of an early one I had never heard of when Altus Press reprinted a collection of the first stories of occult detective Semi Dual, with plans to reprint the whole series.
Semi Dual is really Prince Abdul Omar of Persia (father, a Persian nobleman; mother, a Russian princess), an astrologer, mystic, telepath, and psychologist. He appeared from 1912 to 1934 in several early pulp magazines, and has never been reprinted.
His name, we learn, of “Semi Dual,” is due to his methods of investigations: “by dual solutions: one material, for material minds; the other occult, for those who cared to sense a deeper something back of the philosophic lessons interwoven in the narrative.”Read More
I am always on the lookout for new occult detectives, and I recently discovered one who is actually an old one, written in the 1930s and ’40s.
Detective Gregory George Gordon Green, or “Gees” as he prefers, was created by British author and editor Charles Henry Cannell (1882-1947), better known by one of his pseudonyms E. Charles Vivian. However, these were written under his Jack Mann pseudonym.
The series consists of:
- Gees’ First Case (1936)
- Grey Shapes (1938)
- Nightmare Farm (1938)
- The Kleinart Case (1938)
- Maker of Shadows (1938)
- The Ninth Life (1939)
- Her Ways Are Death (1940)
- The Glass Too Many (1940)
About a year ago, Altus Press started a new line called the “Argosy Library,” which is composed of several series of 10 books each highlighting some of the great fiction that appeared in the early pulps.
All are taken from the pulps started by Frank A. Munsey, who started to convert his fiction magazines to pulp paper and reduced their price, making them more profitable. He published the well-known Argosy magazine, which got its start in the late 1800s, and several other popular magazines such as The All-Story and Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly. Series I came out last year, and now we get Series II.
Series II consists of:
- Champion of Lost Causes, by Max Brand
- The Scarlet Blade: The Rakehelly Adventures of Cleve and D’Entreville, Vol. 1 by Murray R. Montgomery
- Doan and Carstairs: Their Complete Cases, by Norbert Davis
- The King Who Came Back, by Fred MacIsaac
- Blood Ritual: The Adventures of Scarlet and Bradshaw, Vol. 1 by Theodore Roscoe
- The City of Stolen Lives: The Adventures of Peter the Brazen, Vol. 1 by Loring Brent
- The Radio Gun-Runners, by Ralph Milne Farley
- Sabotage, by Cleve F. Adams
- The Complete Cabalistic Cases of Semi Dual, The Occult Detector, Vol. 2: 1912–13 by J.U. Giesy and Junius B. Smith
- South of Fifty-Three, by Jack Bechdolt
Sâr Dubnotal is an early “occult detective,” who appeared in 20 anonymously written novellas published in France starting in 1909. I previously reviewed him as Black Coat Press has run new stories of him in their Tales of the Shadowmen series and put out a collection of original Sâr stories with him going up against Jack the Ripper.
Now Black Coat Press has put out a collection of new and old stories, Sâr Dubnotal 2: The Astral Trail.
The first collection had reprinted the first original Sâr story, then reprinted the storyline with him going up against Jack the Ripper that ran in novellas #7-11. But they didn’t have the eightth story, so they had to skip it. It has now been found and is included here.
The rest of the volume is made up of 11 new stories, most of which have run in volumes of Tales of the Shadowmen:Read More
Dr. Jules de Grandin is one of the best-known occult detectives, though probably overshadowed today. Created by Seabury Quinn (1889-1969), de Grandin is the only serialized character created by Quinn, and probably his best-known work. A lawyer by training, who specialized in mortuary law, Quinn was an editor and writer within the funeral trade, but also wrote fiction on the side.
De Grandin ran for over 90 stories in Weird Tales from 1925 to 1951, and as I understand it was very popular, more so than Robert E. Howard‘s Conan or H.P. Lovecraft‘s works. De Grandin’s stories were often cover featured (about 60 of them!), usually with Margaret Brundage artwork.
De Grandin is both a medical doctor and a former agent of the French Surete, and is like a blonde Hercule Poirot, with his strange French sayings. Similar to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, he lives in semi-retirement with his friend Dr. Trowbridge in Harrisonville, N.J., where most stories are set. For such a small town, a lot of weird things happened there. Often they find that the cases are not supernatural, but are caused by evil, depraved people.Read More