RARA-AVIS: The Crime Machine/Carroll John Daly

From: James Reasoner ( james53@flash.net)
Date: 25 Nov 2002

This is another story from the HARD-BOILED DETECTIVES anthology, which reprints one story from Dime Detective for each year of the magazine's existence. Originally appearing in the January 1932 issue, "The Crime Machine" is the debut of police detective Vee Brown, who has gained considerable notoriety for gunning down criminals. Brown is one of the first playboy/detectives, but unlike Bruce Wayne or Richard Curtis Van Loan, his activities as a cop are known to all while the source of his considerable wealth is a secret. This leads a newspaper reporter to investigate him, and the reporter is the narrator of the story, not Brown, which makes for a considerable difference from Daly's yarns about Race Williams. The prose is more restrained, though it can get get pretty lurid in the action scenes. And Vee Brown is an interesting character, small and unathletic, but deadly with a gun and willing to meet the criminals on their own ground and deal out his own brand of justice. Cultured, well-educated, and wryly humorous even as he's gunning down the villains, it's almost like Niles Crane became the Spider instead of Richard Wentworth. This is a bizarre story and entertaining enough so that I want to read more about the character. If any of the other Vee Brown stories were ever anthologized, though, I'm not aware of them.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 25 Nov 2002 EST