Re: RARA-AVIS: childhood detectives

Date: 06 Jan 2000

Neil vaguely recalled that the Three Investigators series was "By Arthur
???." The creator was an old-time pulpster named Robert Arthur. There is a solid hard-boiled PI connection with this series because later entries were written by a writer signing himself "William Arden," a pseudonym of Dennis Lynds, known to many of us as "Michael Collins" the creator of Edgar-winning, one-armed PI Dan Fortune.

While we're on the subject of kid detective series I'd like to put in a plug for one of my favorites, the Tod Moran series by Howard Pease. Tod Moran was a young officer in the Merchant Marine who solved cases all over the world. He went from cabin boy to First Mate of a tramp steamer called
*The Araby*. Pease was a merchant seaman himself and knew whereof he wrote. Great titles in the series like *The Tattooed Man*, *Heart of Danger*, *Hurricane Weather*, and others.

One of the great things about this series was that, unlike a lot of kid mysteries, there were actual murders in the Tod Morans. Moreover these were kid's books written in the '20s, '30s, and '40s, populated by sailors who actually talked like sailors. For books published in an era in which David Selznick had to fight tootah an nail to be able to have Clark Gable say he didn't "give a damn," seeing comparatively frank use of profanity in a juvenile novel, that I borrowed moreover from the school library of my Catholic elementary school, was amazing!

NOTE: *I'm* not that old. I read the books *years* after they were published. But I knew something about the era.


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