Re: RARA-AVIS: Dwight V. Babcock's Series About FBI Agent Chuck Thompson in BLACK MASK

From: Mark Francis (
Date: 01 Oct 2008

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    Sorry I don't have any leads, but if you turn up any of the Babcock stories, please pass them along - he's truly a favorite of mine, the series of Joe Kirby/Hannah Van Doren novels having been read and re-read many times.
      Thanks, Mark


     - Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

    --- On Tue, 9/30/08, JIM DOHERTY <> wrote:

    From: JIM DOHERTY <> Subject: RARA-AVIS: Dwight V. Babcock's Series About FBI Agent Chuck Thompson in BLACK MASK To: Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 9:04 PM

    I'm in the process of researching an article about depictions of the FBI in prose fiction. I recently discovered that one of "Cap" Shaw's "BLACK MASK Boys," Dwight V. Babcock, wrote a series of seven stories, all of which appeared in BLACK MASK, featuring a federal cop named Chuck Thompson. The stories, and the issues in which they appeared, were:

    "Hide-Out" (6/35)

    "Death Goes Free" (9/35)

    "'G-Man' Chuck Thompson" (1/36)

    "Red Bait" (2/36)

    "Free Ride to Rio" (7/36)

    "Men of the FBI" (9/36)

    "Flight at Sunrise" (7/37)

    It appears that Babcock, one of the eleven BLACK MASK-ers in that famous luncheon photo that includes Hammett and Chandler (Babcock's in the middle of the back row, two to the left of Chandler, and two to the right of Hammett), might have caught the crest of a wave with this series, since the first Thompson stories predate the pulp magazines that were specifically dedicated to FBI stories, like G-MAN, ACE G-MEN, THE FEDS, FEDERAL AGENTS, and F.B.I. DETECTIVE, and is thus something of a pioneer.

    Does anyone here have access to those issues, and, if so, can you make those stories available to me? I was planning to ask here anyway, but my first stop for info was Mr. Keith Deutsch, who owns and operates the BLACK MASK MAGAZINE website (he edited the recent JO GAR'S CASEBOOK for Crippen & Landru). He gave me several leads to follow-up, but I was quite gratified when he suggested coming to Rara-Avis. He had this to say about our group:

    "Finally, post any information or story copy request on Rara Avis: participants of this internet forum are the most literate in the pulp literature field from around the world."

    Any of you who are particular JDM fans, I'm also trying to find copies of four short stories MacDonald wrote for one of those "G-Men" pulps, F.B.I. DETECTIVE, during his apprentice days. Apparently he didn't think all that much of them, since none are included in either of his collections of his early pulp yarns, THE GOOD OLD STUFF and MORE GOOD OLD STUFF. Nevertheless, I'd be interested in taking a look at them if they're available. I don't know if they featured a series character or even (despite the name of the magazine) whether they were actually about the FBI, but in any case, the stories are:

    "A Coffin a Day" (2/49)

    "Loot for the Unlucky Lady" (4/49)

    "Make Mine Murder" (6/49)

    "Warrant for an Old Flame" (10/49)

    By the way, if any of you are interested, you can read the first article of the two I'm planning here:

    http://mystericale. com/index. php?issue= current_issue& body=file& file=like_ em_tough. htm

    It's called "The FBI in Peace and War (and Movies and TV)." It's my regular I LIKE 'EM TOUGH column for the Fall issue of MYSTERICAL-E. The article on G-Man prose fiction is also planned as an ILET column.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.




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