Those who like their hardboiled mysteries short and slick and with hearty dollops of wit and action would do well to ferret out the tales of the tough but likable PI Timothy Dane. Though a bit rough around the edges, Dane was a decent and honorable chap who was good with his fists and, according to one critic, “catnip to women.” Better known than many gumshoes of the Fifties, Dane proved popular with readers and had influential book reviewers like Anthony Boucher regularly singing his praises.
He was the concoction of William Ard, a creative and highly prolific writer who used various pseudonyms—a writer who started young, found success almost immediately, and hammered out three dozen novels in multiple genres before his untimely death.
Last month, Stark House Press introduced Timothy Dane to a new generation, publishing two of Dane’s highly entertaining adventures. He appeared in a total of nine books. In Cry Scandal, from 1956, the opener in this twofer, Dane investigates his missing former business partner, Barney Glines, and winds up discovering a whole heap of sleaze and scandal.
The second tale, The Root of His Evil, published in 1957 and reprinted by Dell the following year as Deadly Beloved, finds Dale on a dangerous travel assignment, acting as a courier. Suspenseful and action-packed, his attempts to transport a bag of money to Florida to help pay off a singer’s gambling debts are hampered at every turn.
You can purchase this fine collection from the publisher or various online retailers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The volume includes my essay, “Timothy Dane: A Hardboiled Combination of Toughness, Compassion, And Quiet Humor.”
Some years ago, Stark House Press published You’ll Get Yours as part of their Black Gat series. You can find my thoughts on that William Ard novel here and in The Lancashire Post. Note: This article, as it originally appeared, with my byline, is accessible here.