The Crime Fighters

by W.O.G. Lofts and Derek Adley

Page 2

Page 1 Index Table-of-Contents
Anthony Bathhurst
Anthony Lotherington Bathhurst was a private detective and a friend of the Commissioner of Police, whom he assisted at times. This tall grey-eyed former Uppingham schoolboy, with a brilliant memory and gift of conversation, was created by Brian Flynn appeared in Murder En Route (1930) and more than 50 other books.

Beth Bathhurst
She was said to be the smartest lady detective at Scotland Yard, and appeared in Twenty- Five Detective Stories (Newnes, 1910).

Inspector Battle
Insp. Battle of the Criminal Investigation Department appeared in “The Murder at Tex Farm”, a short story by George Ira Brett that was included in The Long Arm and other detective stories, an 1895 anthology that also contained stories by Mary E. Wilkins, Brander Matthews and Roy Tellet.

Horsen Baumann
He was created by Edward S. Ellis in America in 1888 and reprinted in various British publications, including Garfield Library No. 38 and as part of a book entitled Bob Lovell’s Career in 1892. In one periodical his name was changed to Horsen Cudworth.

Detective Inspector Baxter. See: Detective Chief Superintendent Lockhart.

Ex-Superintendent Beach
Retired from the Bengal Police, Beach followed his calling as a private enquiry agent. He was featured in Alan Brock’s Miss Hamblett’s Ghost (1946).

Beautiful Jack
He appeared in an American reprint, Beautiful Jack, the Double-Edged Detective, in Aldine Detective Tales.

Paul Beck and Son
Matthias McDonnel Bodkin created his pair, believed to be the first father and son detective collaboration. The father first appeared in Paul Beck, the Rule of Thumb Detective in 1898, where he was described as an Irish Sherlock Holmes, with a very original yet logical method for the detection of crime. He was a private detective with comfortable lodgings in Chester. A strongly built man, he had blue eyes in a ruddy face, fringed with reddish-brown whiskers and light brown hair curled like that of a water dog. A heavy gold watch and chain was fitted to his waistcoat button with a gold bar.

The Capture of Paul Beck (1909) featured Bodkin’s female sleuth Dora Myrl, who by the end of the story became Mrs. Paul Beck. The saga continued with Young Beck: A Chip of the Old Block (1911, in which Paul Junior becomes a detective in his own right, taking over the family profession. A further series of stories was published in Royal Magazine in 1906-8 and collected as The Quests of Paul Beck (1908).

Sergeant Beef
He was a comic type of detective, whom author Leo Bruce happily dropped in favour of Carolus Deene, q.v. Beef was first a village policeman whose common sense enabled him to solve many murder cases; then he carried on as a private investigator. He had a red veined face and a straggling ginger moustache; he was slow of movement and plodding of thought, though independent and quite fearless. His imagination was of the kind that did not appear until he took an important step. It was said that he never failed a case, whether it was a stolen bicycle or the murder of a doctor’s wife. Beef appeared in some eight novels, including Case for Three Detectives (1936), Case Without a Corpse (1937) and Case with Ropes and Rings (1940), as well as a few short stories.

Chief Inspector William Beeke
Lean and melancholy, middle-aged and shabby with a straggly moustache, Chief Insp. Beeke of Scotland Yard’s C.I.D. was nicknamed “The Grouser.” His assistant was an elegant detective sergeant, the Hon. Eustace Cavendish, son of a Lord and heir to a dukedom, who was usually dressed in a shiny serge suit and shapeless tweed hat. In their own distinctive ways both were the antithesis of the typical conception of Scotland Yard detectives. They were created by Edwy Searles Brooks and appeared in Detective Weekly in the 1930s in “Cyclist’s Rest”, “The Mystery of the Wailing Pool” and “The Holiday Camp Mystery”, as well as in two hardcover novels.

Garnett Bell
This famous crime investigator, along with his two boy assistants Barney Martin and Kit Hampton, appeared in “A Tale of Twelve Cities” in Boys’ Friend in 1915-16, later reprinted as “The Boy Detectives” by Maurice Everard in Boys’ Friend Library in 1923. Bell also turned up in books published under Everard’s real name, Cecil H. Bullivant.

Valentine Belter
Belter was a young amateur detective, an ex-0xford man with a great knowledge of criminology and with friends at Scotland Yard. He was also a very clever horseman, and appeared in the aptly titled Claude Duval of Ninety-Five: A Romance of the Road (1897) by Fergus Hume.

Detective Belton
He appeared in Bob Younger’s Fate in Aldine Detective Tales, a reprint of the dime novel by Edwin S. Deane.

M. Henri Bencolin
A French detective from the pen of John Dickson Carr, Bencolin was a Director of the Paris Police and an advisor to the courts. He had drooping eyelids, a nose thin and aquiline, and deep lines running down past his mouth. His face wore a small moustache and a pointed black beard. His black hair was comically parted in the middle and turned up like horns, and beginning to turn grey. Bencolin was Carr’s first detective hero, appearing in It Walks by Night (1930) and several subsequent novels, but Carr’s popularity was not notable until he created Dr. Gideon Fell and Sir Henry Merrivale, qq.v.

Geoffrey Bennett. See: Lord Brogville.

Jim Bennett
Robert Martin’s sleuth appeared in what were described as fast-paced stories of crime and detection, such as Catch a Killer (1956), Hand-Picked for Murder (1957), Killer Among Us (1958) and To Have and to Kill (1960). This private detective was pretty much run-of-the-mill. He had a secretary named Sandy Hollis who was also his girl friend. She was a long-legged girl with a generous mouth and a few freckles on her short nose.

Roger Bennion
Herbert Adams’ famous investigator held the rank of captain in the M.I. branch and was featured in more than 25 novels such as Death of a Viewer (1958) and Roger Bennion’s Double (1941).

Howard Benson
This Surrey detective appeared in The Van Peltz Diamonds by Charles Morris, published anonymously in Aldine Detective Tales.

Billy Bent. See: Norton Keen.

Dr. Thaddeus Bentiron
Dr. Bentiron, late of Harvard 1879, kept a sanatorium near 56th Street in New York City and specialized in Sherlockian deductions. He could give an association test of a hundred words or so, then tell you what he had for breakfast. A creation of Ernest M. Poate, he lived at 500 Madison Avenue. Untidily dressed, enveloped in a haze of cigarette smoke and liberally sprinkled with ashes, he seemed, with his listless eyes and slouching figure, so shabby, so colourless. His hair was thin and tousled and streaked with grey; his beard was a nondescript mouse colour and badly needed trimming. His clothes were threadbare and wrinkled; a hole was burned in his coat. Apart from these negative first impressions, there was something compelling about him; moreover, his head was wonderfully modelled, the forehead very high and wide, the nose aquiline like that of an aristocrat, the eyes wide set, giving the appearance of belonging to a horse and surely providing an extraordinarily wide field of vision. Bentiron was featured in Behind Locked Doors (1923) and Dr. Bentiron, Detective (1930).

Leon Berard
Described as the most famous of all French detectives, Berard was the keenest observer of human nature, with his shrewd and hawk-like eyes, and the sworn foe of all who lived outside the pale of the law. He appeared in “The Thieves of Paris”, a story by John G. Rowe in Pluck No. 151.

Commissaire Orestes Bignon
Francis Didelot’s creation had a combination of brutal realism, shrewd psychology, and human weakness for a pretty face. Bignon closely resembled Maigret, q.v., even to the extent of having an assistant named Lucas. He appeared in The Tenth Leper (1962) and other novels.

This detective appeared in 1878 in America in “Missing; or, The Cipher Dispatches,” a story by Edward S. Ellis that was reprinted in England in The Fireside Companion in 1880 and again in 1886.

Binos appeared in The Artist Detective in Aldine Detective Tales.

Detective Inspector Horace Bird
Horace Bird, a creation of Edgar Wallace, was known to all in and outside of Scotland Yard as “The Sparrow”. A big man, he was featured in The Gunner (1928; published in the U.S. in 1929 as Gunman’s Bluff).

Miriam Birdseye and Natasha DuVivian
Natasha DuVivian, lovely Russian wife of a wrestler, joined forces with Miriam Birdseye in a wild sort of detective agency in Baker Street. Miriam was tall, thin and blonde, and, unlike Natasha, not very good looking. She was an ex-revue girl who in her time had earned 150 pounds a week. They appeared together in Poison for the Teacher (1949) by Nancy Spain.

Inspector Sam Birkett
Sam Birkett, a most human policeman, appeared with his assistant Sergeant Saunders in novels such as Too Small for His Shoes (1962) and Deep and Crisp and Even (1964) by Laurence Payne.

Boston Blackie
Blackie was an adventurer and crime fighter, slightly on the shady side, and borderline as a detective. He was played expertly by Chester Morris on American radio and in films; a few of the latter in general release during the mid-1940s were Behind Closed Doors, Chance of a Lifetime, Booked on Suspicion and Lady of Mystery. The part was also played on the radio by Dick Kollmar. Blackie was introduced in a book simply titled Boston Blackie in 1919; here Blackie was a crook who helped people, using of course a high degree of detective ability.

Inspector Blair
A dry, dour, silent man was Blair, long and lean, born in England but of Scots descent. He was caution to a fault, never expressing an opinion without well considering what he was going to say. The Inspector came from the prolific pen of Fergus Hume and was featured in The Millionaire Mystery (1901).

Sexton Blake
Sexton Blake could quite rightly claim to be the second greatest detective in the world-second only, of course, to the immortal Sherlock Holmes, whom he could also claim as a very close neighbour in Baker Street. Since Blake first appeared in No. 6 of the Halfpenny Marvel dated 29 October 1893, he has been featured in every medium possible: magazines, newspapers, libraries, plays, films picture strips, radio and TV. Nearly 200 authors have chronicled his adventures in nearly 4000 stories, making a total of roughly 150,000,000 words!

As in many cases of famous characters, the origin of his name is still debatable. The first chronicler, Harry Blyth, who used the pen name Hal Meredith, claimed that he coined the name, but a senior editor of the publishers Harmsworth Broths disputed this. He stated that the name originally was Frank Blake, but this was rejected on the grounds that it was not colourful enough. The name Sexton was suggested editorially as it conjured up the sombre and mysterious atmosphere of graveyards and gloomy crypts, and it was finally chosen to give the character an element of eeriness.

Irrespective of who gave him the name, however, the fact remains that since 1893 Sexton Blake has been the exclusive copyright of, firstly, the Harmsworth Brothers, later Amalgamated Press, still later Fleetway Publications, and then I.P.C. (Magazine division). Harry Blyth died of typhoid fever in 1898, aged only 46, so he did not live long enough to see how famous his creation was to become.

The common assumption is that Sexton Blake was based on Conan Doyle’s more famous Sherlock Holmes, but some people have always found this very hard to accept. The first descriptions and illustrations show him to be a middle-aged Victorian gentleman dressed in the typical attire of that period, complete with a curly-brimmed bowler and carrying a heavy walking stick. He was the son of Dr. Berkeley Blake, a surgeon of Harley Street, London, and according to early chroniclers was educated at Ashleigh Public School, St. Anne’s, and later at Oxford and Cambridge.

He had two brothers, Nigel and Harry, the former a waster and scoundrel. In the Union Jack Christmas Number for 1901, when Blake was living at Norfolk Street, Strand, mention was made of his wife, but this was and has been the only reference to his married status. The accepted understanding has always been that he remained a strict bachelor.

In early stories he did not live in Baker Street but in New Inn Chambers, and in later stories in Wych Street (a turning off the Strand), where he was in partnership with a French detective by the name of Jules Gervaise.

That other famous mythical detective of Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes, seemed to solve most of his problems by his own fireside, clad in a stained dressing gown and digressing to his somewhat dense admirer. However, Sexton Blake travelled to the four corners of the world to bring his cases to a successful conclusion.

Sexton Blake did not really come into his own until an editor named W. H. Back took control of the Union Jack in 1904. After several weird assistants, including Griff (half man and half beast) and a Chinese named We-Wee had come and gone, his most famous assistant, Tinker, arrived in a story entitled “Cunning Against Skill.” One of the most popular characters in the Blake household, his housekeeper, Mrs. Martha Bardell, came a year later. Plump and garrulous, with a gift for malapropism, Mrs. Bardell had a use (or misuse) of the English language which was both weird and wonderful. Another addition to the household in this period was Pedro, the famous bloodhound, sent to Blake by a well-wisher named Mr. Nemo.

In 1915 W. H. Back had the brilliant idea of a full-length original 60,000 word story of Sexton Blake each month, and so the famous Sexton Blake Library was born.

Up to this period Sexton Blake had been portrayed by a large number of artists, but none seemed to show Blake as his readers imagined him. But this changed in 1922 when a young artist named Eric Parker stated to illustrate the stories in the Union Jack. Blake, Tinker and Pedro were portrayed just as many readers visualized them. Blake himself was tall, lean, strong-limbed, with hair receding at the temples and with a high intellectual forehead. When indoors at Baker Street he wore a red dressing gown, smoked a briar pipe, and had a favourite chair.

Blake appeared in stage productions as early as 1909, but his first appearance in the West End of London was in 1930, when he was played by Arthur Wontner. The first film featuring the detective was in 1914, a three-reeler called The Clue of the Wax Vesta, and in the 1930s considerable numbers were made. David Farrar, who had had a minor role in an earlier film, also played Blake in the 1940s, including Meet Sexton Blake and The Hooded Terror.

A Sexton Blake bust was sculpted by Eric Parker in 1926. In 1936, with Blake’s popularity steadily increasing, a gramophone record entitled Murder on the Portsmouth Road was made (H.M.V. No. C2044), with Arthur Wontner in the lead. A Sexton Blake card game was also produced, and a highly successful Sexton Blake Annual ran up until the start of WWII. Although many papers which featured Blake closed down during the war, the Sexton Blake Library continued throughout, and the detective also appeared in picture strip form in Knockout Comic.

In 1955, with a change in editorship, a decision was made to give Sexton Blake an extensive modernisation to keep abreast of the rapidly changing social mores. The result of this face-lift was that Blake became a rather less ascetic character and not quite so infallible as of yore.

First, Blake moved offices from Baker Street to Berkeley Square, and the front door of the new headquarters bore the legend “Sexton Blake Investigations”. In addition, his original staff of two who assisted him on all his cases, Tinker and the bloodhound Pedro, was increased by Paul Dane, Marian Lang, and Miss Louisa Pringle, the office typist. Milly the sealpoint Siamese cat, based on a real life namesake that was very well known to the writer, must also be included. Tinker was still an important part of the set-up, of course, but no longer as the boy assistant but now a very mature young man under his full name of Edward Carter

Another film, titled Murder at Site Three, was made in this period, with Geoffrey Toone in the leading role.

Blake stories have been translated into about twenty foreign languages. Readers over the years have included those of all ages from eight to ninety-eight (a reader in Canada). Stanley Baldwin, Lloyd George, King Edward VIII (afterwards the Duke of Windsor) and other famous people galore have been Sexton Blake readers, which goes to disprove many theories by writers that Blake was “the office boy’s Sherlock Holmes” and that only adolescents read about him.

In 1971 Sexton Blake entered his 79th year of publication, a record unique in the history of publishing, and he began to appear in the medium of television with Laurence Payne as Blake and Roger Foss as Tinker. He was thus brought to millions of new enthusiasts, and seems destined to be with us in new adventures for many years to come.

Chief Inspector Bliss
Bliss, who also rose to Superintendent of Scotland Yard, was featured in follow-up stories to The Ringer, titled Again the Ringer (1929; The Ringer Returns in the U.S.) by Edgar Wallace. Bliss had as much luck with the Ringer as his predecessor, Alan Wembury, q.v.

Billy Block
Billy Block, or Bantam Billy as he was nicknamed, was a detective who appeared in Aldine Tip-Top Tales.

Stanley Blount
This keen, grey-eyed detective had rooms in King Street, Covent Garden, London. He made his appearance in an anonymous story, “The Silent Witness,” in Pluck No. 348.

Dr. Blow and Professor Manciple
These inimitable old gentlemen were two unworldly academics who strayed into the world of crime and murder, and somehow solved mysteries that were beyond the powers and methods of the police. Dr. William Blow and Professor Gideon Manciple were featured by Kenneth Hopkins in a series of offbeat detective novels such as Dead Against My Principles (1960) and Body Blow (1962). The stories were hilariously told, and the pair of amateur sleuths usually became very bewildered by events but were always triumphant in the end. Official police including Supt. Urry, Constable Poindexter, Insp. Elkins and Sgt. Wix were also mentioned..

Blue Grass Bert
This sleuth, whose real name was Burton Rosewell, was featured in The Gold Star Detective from Kentucky in Aldine Detective Tales.

Blue Mask. See: The Baron.

Bob and Harry
Bob Dawson and Harry Fairfax, the boy detectives, made their bow in Marvel No. 154 in 1908 in a story “The Boy Detectives’ First Case”, told by Detective Inspector Coles, a nom-de-plume of Ernest Semphill. In this first story Coles virtually “discovers” them and realizes that their brilliant powers would serve them in good stead should they work for the Yard. Harry is a bright faced boy, with a lean and alert face. He is the foster brother of Bob, a hulking lad with a kindly, vigorous face and blue eyes.

As the stories progress we read of them as journalists and criminal investigations specialists for The Trumpeter, with consulting and living rooms at 113, Upper Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, under the aegis of Bob’s mother, Mrs. Dawson. They have the services of a maid, flaming-haired Sarah, and have a faithful mongrel lurcher named Sneezer.

Though mere boys, there were of professional class, with expert powers of deduction, but it is worth noting that although they were referred to as boys the illustrations show them as young men in their twenties. About twenty Bob and Harry stories appeared in Marvel, and in 1909 an original tale entitled The War Lord was published in Boys’ Friend Library No. 9.

Detective Bodkin
Bodkin of Scotland Yard was a pursy little man between the ages of fifty and sixty. He was completely bald, with a head like a wrinkled apple, a red face, and dark little eyes almost hidden by thick eyebrows. He appeared in The Lost Emeralds of Zarinthia (1899) by Henry Beauchamp.

Bolam. See: Colonel Sanderstead.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Detective Napoleon Bonaparte (Bony) was Arthur Upfield’s sleuth, whose was mother was an Aborigine and father a white Australian. Bony’s aboriginal instincts helped him to read the minute signs left in shifting sands and broken twigs, and his deep love of humanity helped him to read the clues of speech and behaviour. A few of the novels in which appeared were Man of Two Tribes (1956), Bony Buys a Woman (1957) and The Bachelors of Broken Hill (1958). Sadly the series ended with the author’s death in 1964. In more recent years news came that Peter Finch was to return to Australia to play the half-caste detective in an international TV series produced by John McCallam.

Fergus Bond
This detective of Lincoln’s Inn appeared in the Diamond Library in a story entitled A Prince of Blackmailers by Talbot Mayne. Clad in an old blazer, Bond spent most of his time seated at his table smoking a well-coloured clay pipe, which extended from hiss mouth like the bill of some strange bird. His room had the strong aroma of ship’s plug tobacco.

Pelham Bond
He was featured in a series of stories entitled “The Mystery Man” by Henry Leonard in Golden Penny Comic, beginning with No. 1, 14 October 1922. Pelham Bond was a scientific detective known as the mystery man because of the strange steel visor-like mask he wore, through which his jet-black eyes gleamed. No one had ever seen his face, and no one knew whence he came - he just “arrived” in the heart of London. He started his detective agency at Mystery Mansion, Mayfair, and would see all who were in distress or trouble of any sort, with no fees required for his services.

Inspector Victor Bondurant
A slender man of about sixty, Inspector Bondurant of the Chicago Homicide Bureau was a creation of James G. Edwards, the pen name of James William MacQueen. He had black beady eyes and a pink complexion, with a pink scalp showing through a growth of closely cropped white hair. Bondurant was featured in The Private Pavilion (1935) and six other novels.

Theodolinda (Dol) Bonner
A creation of Rex Stout, Dol Bonner was an operative who sometimes worked with Nero Wolfe. She was attractive, with caramel coloured eyes and coal-black lashes in a narrow face. She opened an agency in partnership with Sylvia Raffray after her father’s ruin and suicide during the Depression, and this led to her exaggerated dislike of lawyers, as an unhappy love affair led to her dislike of men. She had tastefully furnished offices in Park Avenue off 47th Street. Here first case is documented in The Hand in the Glove (1937).

Harry Booth
He appeared in Aldine Detective Tales in a story entitled The Irish Detective.

Silas Booth
This private eye, the creation of Joseph Linklater, appeared in such novels as Odd Woman Out (1959) and The Green Glove (1960).

Inspector Boothroyd. See: Wallace Dane.

Detective Inspector Geoffrey Boscobell
Geoffrey Scotland Yard’s Insp. Boscobell had an almost boyish manner and a pleasant gleam in his eyes which, nevertheless, failed to conceal a suggestion of power and shrewdness above the ordinary. Although still young, he resigned from the Yard after his wife and son disappeared, believed to be the victims of a gang he had crossed. He was completely broken up by this for a time, but then went into private practice so that he could make his enquiries more fully and without the red tape of the Yard. He was featured in Then Came the Police (1935), Defeat of a Detective (1936), and other novels by Cecil M. Wills.

Colonel George Bottesford
Crimean veteran Colonel George Bottesford was age 70 and a perfect and moral gentleman. He was an expert on the stage, and knew every actor, actress, playwright and composer of note in Europe. At the conclusion of A Court Tragedy (1900) by Albert D. Vandam, Bottesford dies and leaves the manuscript of the whole story in his will.

Inspector Boudet
Monsieur Principal Inspector Leon Boudet of the Police Surete Judiciare was claimed by author Phyllis Hambledon as one of the most famous detectives in France. He appeared in Murder’s No Picnic (1961).

Superintendent Bourke
In The Forger (1927; published in the U.S. as The Clever One) by Edgar Wallace, Supt. Bourke is described as a stoutish man, with a large jovial face and many chins. He could hardly look less like a detective, but he had the keen eyes of a thief-catcher.

Edwin Bousfield
This private detective appeared in B. L. Farjeon’s The Tragedy of Featherstone in 1887. His investigation interviews were carried out which he walked up and down in exactly paced steps-such that his wife likened him to a caged tiger.

Bowery Bob
Bowery Bob appeared in Aldine Detective Tales in a story titled, appropriately, The East Side Detective. It was a reprint of a similarly titled story first published in Beadle’s Half-Dime Library in 1895 by Harold Payne (George C. Kelly).

Another detective of the same name appeared in Bowery Bob, Detective by Jo Pierce (William H. Manning) in Beadle’s Pocket Library in 1891. This reprinted an earlier tale entitled Bob o’ the Bowery published in Beadle’s Half-Dime Library in 1885.

Glenn Bowman
Thirty-eight year old Bowman was claimed by his author, Hartley Howard, to be the toughest wise-cracking private eye in the business. His appearances included Portrait of a Beautiful Harlot (1966), Bowman at a Venture (1954) and Bowman on Broadway (1954).

Sergeant Boyce
Hawley Smart’s Sergeant Boyce of Scotland Yard’s C.I.D. made his appearance in a Victorian novel, The Plunger (1891).

Page 3 Index Table-of-Contents