Author Archives: Bob Byrne

About Bob Byrne

I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan for over three decades and I created www.SolarPons.com for The Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street. My 'The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes' appears every Monday morning at www.BlackGate.com .Christian, husband, father, and Humphrey Bogart fan.

Chapter Two : The Carless Cuff – A Nero Wolfe Pastiche

Here’s the second chapter of an adaptation of an old Nero Wolfe radio show, starring Sidney Greenstreet. It won’t make much sense if you don’t read Chapter One first. Heck, it might not anyways, but at least there’s a chance!

II

Wolfe picked up his book, indicating that he had no more interest in the discussion until our would-be-client arrived. Knowing that Porter would be here soon, I updated a few more records, waiting for the doorbell to ring. Which it did, just shy of fifteen minutes later.

Since Fritz wasn’t home, I went out into the hall and to the door. I looked through the one-way glass and sized up our visitor. Charles Porter did not impress. He was a couple inches shorter than me, and under his light-weight coat, he didn’t look like he carried any extra pounds. Or even enough of them. He didn’t appear to be very happy with his lot in life at present, but a lot of folks on that stoop weren’t, so I didn’t hold that against him. I opened the door and said, “Mister Porter?”

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Chapter One: The Careless Cuff – A Nero Wolfe Pastiche

I’m working on my second adaptation of a Nero Wolfe radio play, starring Sydney Greenstreet. Here’s the first one, Stamped for Murder. Below is chapter one, which is mostly of my own devising. The radio play didn’t have much depth before the second telephone call. Hopefully, with all of my BlackGate.com projects going on, I can still get this done sooner, rather than later. Enjoy!

I

Nero Wolfe was the most brilliant, and also the laziest, detective in the world. He rarely left his brownstone on West 35th Street, and never on business. I lived there, eating the amazing grub prepared by Fritz Brenner, a wonderful chef (do NOT call him a ‘cook’) and a gentle soul. But also a good man in a pinch. His war experiences had hardened him more than appearances might indicate, and he had the scars to prove it. The fourth and final occupant was Theodore Horstmann: more on him in a moment.

Wolfe used his brain, which was only slightly smaller than his prodigious waistline, and his even more massive ego, to pay for the upkeep. Which was considerable. I doubt too many other citizens of New York City ate as well as Wolfe did. And he probably could have bought his own brewery with his beer bill. And of course, there were the orchids.

No matter what some detective stories might lead you to believe, crimes can’t be solved solely from an armchair. Another surprise: crimes don’t only take place while you’re a guest at a country estate. Although, there was that affair of the missing rubies while I was staying at Lily Rowan’s Westchester digs. But that’s another story for another session at the typewriter.

I am a private eye, duly licensed by the State of New York. I earned my keep and salary by doing the physical work in Wolfe’s cases, which often involved tasks only slightly easier than bringing him the moon. The guns in the house were mine, I drove the Heron Sedan which Wolfe bought, and I ventured into the (according to Wolfe) wild outdoors, as required.  I also took care of my room, which was on the second floor, and my desk, where I spent much of my time. A man’s got to have his castle. Even if it’s inside another man’s castle.

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3 Good Reasons – Nero Wolfe’s Best

NotQuiteDeadEnoughHither Came Conan has been a sucess over at BlackGate.com. Probably becuase I rounded up some excellent Robert E. Howard scholars to write the essays, instead of doing it myself! We’re just over halfway through the run. Here’s this week’s post, which includes links to all the prior ones. Make sure you check it out.

I’m currently writing some essays for another Conan-centric column I plan on doing after Hither Came Conan wraps up. That one is a secret, for now.

But today, I want to tell you about yet another column I’m working on over at Black Gate. It’s only going to run once in awhile for the rest of this year. But when I’m done with Robert E. Howard and Conan for a bit, at the end of the year, I’m going to turn my keyboard to Nero Wolfe.

I’ve written some Wolfe posts before, over at Black Gate (and even for Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine). Now, I can more than hold my own about Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons. And I’ve written free, online newsletters to prove it! But the Wolfe and Archie stories by Rex Stout make up my favorite series of them all. Even more than the Travis McGee books from my favorite author, John D. MacDonald.

So, in 2020, I plan on writing a LOT about Nero Wolfe. And the cornerstone of Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone is going to be a look at several dozen of the stories, explaining why THAT one is the best of the bunch. Of course, since I’m not just picking the one I like the most…this should be fun. Here’s a link to the first entry in the series. See what you think!

You can also get to my other Nero Wolfe posts from that one.

Hither Came Conan – A New Series at BlackGate.com

conan_frazettafrostgiantsWhile I haven’t posted here in a while, I have been busy on the web.

A (Black) Gat in the  Hand, my hardboiled pulp column ran every Monday morning over at BlackGate.com from May 14th through December 31st. I looked at some neat stuff, and I had some friends help out with some great guest posts. It was a successful series, and there was a LOT more stuff I would have liked to tackle. It’s conceivable that I could bring it back for a limited run in 2020 or 2021. Here’s a link to the last post for the column: about Dwight V. Babcock and the famous West Coast Black Mask Writers Dinner.

It also includes a listing and links to EVERY post in the series – give it a look.

Because I figure if I stop contributing, the powers that be at Black Gate will change the password (or put somebody with actual talent into that Monday morning slot…), I started a brand new series on January 7th! Discovering Robert E. Howard was a fantastic series we ran a couple of years ago, with guest posts from some of the most knowledgeable Howard folks around.

hither_phoenixwt1I wanted to do something Howard-related again. But this time, focusing on his most famous creation: Bran Mark Morn. Just kidding! So, because it’s clear that my best work for Black Gate comes when I organize, as opposed to actually working at the keyboard, I rounded up another fantastic slate of guest posters – and randomly assigned one of Howard’s original Conan stories to each of them. And they have turned in outstanding posts, showing what is great in each story. Here’s an intro post for the series, which talks about how I came up with the idea and who is on board.

Bobby Derie kicked things off last week with a look at “The Phoenix in the Sword.” It’s a terrific essay! Later this morning, Fletcher Vredenburgh.

We’ll be back, every Monday morning at 9 AM EST, with a new essay covering all twenty-one completed Howard tales; and “Wolves Beyond the Border” as well.

Plus a few bonus posts from me (hey – it’s my series!) on various Conan-ish topics. We’re gonna run this series right into the summer. So, make it a point to check out each week’s essay – an PLEASE, join in the discussion in the Comments section. I think there’s going to be some great stuff there.

 

 

Hugh B. Cave’s Peter Kane Anthology

The Complete Cases of Peter Kane (The Dime Detective Library)

by Hugh B. Cave, introduction by Bob Byrne

Kane_MyIntroNo longer a Boston police officer, hard-boiled drunk Peter Kane made the easy transition to work as a P.I. Though now in private practice, Kane had a knack for cracking cases while constantly inebriated. Collecting the entire series, along with an all-new introduction by Bob Byrne.

Written by Hugh B. Cave, Kane stumbled through nine gin-soaked yarns published between 1934 and 1942 in the pages of Dime Detective, the prestigious crime pulp second only to the legendary Black Mask in its impact on the genre.

Contains the following stories: “The Late Mr. Smythe,” “Hell on Hume Street,” “Bottled in Blonde,” “The Man Who Looked Sick,” “The Screaming Phantom,” “The Brand of Kane,” “Ding Dong Belle,” “The Dead Don’t Swim” and “No Place to Hide.”

365 pages | $24.95 softcover | $34.95 hardcover

Just want to point out that I wrote the intro to this collection… Debuting at PulpFest in a few weeks and available shortly thereafter.

A (Black) Gat in the Hand

Gat_BigPulpsWell…the new column over at BlackGate.com is slowly gaining traction. I’ve gotten some knowledgeable friends to sign on for guest posts, so you can look forward to learning a lot more about pulp on those Mondays!

I was re-reading Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep when I came across a well-known quote and decided it would make an even better column title than what I originally thought up – With a (Black) Gat – though I think that’s till pretty good. So, A (Black) Gat in the Hand is now appearing every Monday morning at 9 AM EST at BlackGate.com

If you type ‘Gat’ in the Search field, I think only my column will come up. Though you could enter my name and get a whole lot of posts: some even worth reading!

Gat_BDPDalyAlso, if you are on Facebook, friend me (Bob Byrne). I’ve been doing at least a couple of posts a week under the title, Back Deck Pulp. I talk a little about some author or short story I’m reading, with an illustration or cover from it. Usually taken while I’m sitting on my nice back deck (often showing a bony knee). Thus: the title. Think of the series as a supplement to the column. They’re neat little posts. I’ve done so many I’ve already written two future A (Black) Gat in the Hand posts containing Back Deck Pulps. And there’s more coming!

Here’s a list of what we’ve covered so far at Black Gate, with links. As well as posts I’ve already written and are coming up.

George Harmon Coxe
Raoul Whitfield
Hardboiled Anthologies
Frederick Nebel’s Donahue
Thomas Walsh

Black Mask – January, 1935 (6/18/18)
Norbert Davis’ Ben Shaley (6/25/18)
D.L. Champion’s Rex Shackley (7/2/18)
Dime Detective – August, 1939 (7/9/18)
Back Deck Pulp #1 (7/16/18)
W.T. Ballard’s Bill Lennox (7/23/18)
Black Mask – May, 1934 (7/30/18)
Erle Stanley Gardner’s Ed Jankins (8/6/18)

And I’m constantly working on more subjects, such as Erle Stanley Gardner’s the Phantom Crook, more Norbert Davis (under-appreciated pulpster), Frederick Nebel’s Cardigan, John D. MacDonald (my favorite author!), Paul Cain, Horace McCoy, Hammett and Chandler of course, and many more.

I think we’ve got a pretty neat column going on over at Black Gate and it’s a worthy successor to The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes, which I wrote in the same time slot every week for three years. And the Back Deck Pulps are nifty little nuggets of info on FB. Come see what’s going on!

I’m Back With a New Weekly Column!

BlackMask_November1930_DonahueHammettIf you are here reading my personal blog, you probably are aware that for three years, I wrote a weekly column over at the World Fantasy Award-winning website, BlackGate.com.

The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes primarily focused on mystery-related topics, but I wandered all over the place (to my Editor’s chagrin), writing about whatever bright, shiny object attracted my attention – often role paying game and Robert E. Howard-related.

A couple weeks ago, I started a new weekly column at Black GateWith a (Black) Gat. ‘Gat’ was a Prohibition-era term for a gun.

I’m digging into one of my literary loves; the hadboiled PI field.

Working largely from a couple of anthologies and several other books on my shelves, every week there’s something new on an author, story or novel: primarily rooted in the  thirties and forties.

Week one took a look at George Harmon Coxe and his news reporter, Flash Casey. Last Monday it was Black Mask mainstay Raoul Whitfield. Up tomorrow is a discussion of some of the anthologies I’m using for the posts.

I think there’s some pretty good stuff in the weeks and months ahead. Check in every Monday morning and see what’s on tap. You never know when I’ll have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.

If you didn’t get that Raymond Chandler reference, you really do need to read my column!

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