Awhile back I did a review of a pair of pulp collections from Popular Press: The Defective Detective in the Pulps (1983) and its followup.
Those two volumes reprinted various “defective detectives,” detectives with some physical disability: blindness, deafness, lameness, and the like. Almost all these characters appeared in Popular Publications’ Dime Mystery Magazine.
It was puzzling why no one seemed to have picked up on this by creating new “defective detective” stories. Until now.
From Pro Se Press recently is a thin volume with three short stories, The Case of the Defective Detective, from three different authors.
From Ernest Russell, we have a former police detective with a horribly scarred face, who is still kept on the payroll to solve crimes. He is aided by the fiancé of his murdered partner and a police sergeant. You’ll learn how that all came to be, as he looks into a case that appears to be a simple heart attack but is much more.
Then Gordan Dymowski gives us another former police detective, this one nearly crimpled by a car accident that killed his family and by diabetes. He is aided by a policeman who attends AA. They are given a case of the son of a slain FBI agent. The son committed suicide by his own gun in front of witnesses. But his mother thinks it’s something else. Is it?
Finally, Gavin Matthew gives us a very different detective. One who is a homeless man in Harlem, dealing with mental issues and maybe psychotropic drugs. He is working to help a mother find her kidnapped daughter when no one else will. Can he succeed or will his “defect” get the best of him?
Overall, this is a nice, if small, collection from Pro Se Press. I thought the first two where a little too similiar in that both were pretty much confided to their homes, with their associates doing the legwork.
I hope this book will lead to more as the number of such detectives in the old pulps should give a lot of inspiration to new authors. Check it out yourself, and get the original collections as well. – Michael R. Brown
Thank you for reading,