From: jim ( jim@feltoncpa.org)
Date: 30 Aug 2004

Robert Martin (1908-1976) wrote moderately hard-boiled detective stories, over 50 short stories for the pulps from late 1930s to early 1950s (8 in BLACK MASK, 23 in DIME DETECTIVE, etc) and 22 novels between 1951 and 1964(some under pen name Lee Roberts). His main detective character was Jim Bennett with Jim Fiske often used in the pulps. He also created the small town general practitioner Dr Clinton Shannon (Dr Clinton Colby in the pulps) who was also the coroner. Dr Clint wasn't exactly a detective but his actions led to the solving of crimes committed around him.

The novels were extensively reprinted in paperback here and abroad and some were the basis of TV episodes. He seems to have been quite popular in his time but now largely forgotten, though I know some of the members have read him based on archives of previous incarnation of this group.

I am interested in your opinions/reviews/comments on his writing. I am also interested in the foreign editions. Is there anyone out there familiar with British/German/French/Italian/Spanish/Japanese editions? I have found out all 22 novels came out in German, at least 19 came out in Italian, only a few so far in French, but I am about as far as I can go on my own.

While I think his stories are pretty good, I might be a bit biased. He lived just down the street from my folks -- but I never met him or even saw him as far as I know. With his centenary coming in the near future I'd like to put together as complete a bibliography as possible.

I have personal copies of all but one of the novels but I still need about 20 of the pulps stories. Since the novels were formed from them, the pulp stories are somewhat vital to understanding them.

As a case in point, the 4 Dr Clinton Shannon novels contain details here and there that are reminiscent of the Marilyn Sheppard murder/Dr Sam Sheppard, but I should check the source pulp stories to see what was original and what was added. While I am at it, is there anyone fairly knowledgeable of that case who might offer some opinions?

Any help you can provide will be most welcome and appreciated.

Jim Felton jim@feltoncpa.org

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