Tuesday, March 8, 2016

This Man is Dangerous — Part I

Most criminals commit crime because of some woman or other. She is usually very good looking. She is usually quite charming. — Peter Cheyney
He boasted that Fleet Street friends knew him as “Ten Thousand Smackers Cheyney” because he claimed that was the fee a journalist should aim at in writing a really big series of articles. — ‘Author Made Crime Pay With Rapid-fire Stories,’ Sydney Morning Herald, June 28, 1951
[2] This Man is DangerousOctober 23, 1952

PETER CHENEY. Peter Cheney began writing newspaper serials in 1926 with The Adventures of Alonzo. The greater crime novel reading public was first introduced to his pulp-writing in 1936 with publication of This Man is Dangerous in book form. 

LEMMY CAUTION. The book featured an American G-man named Lemmy Caution, a hard-drinking, hardboiled, attractive-to-dames detective. Books were filled with sultry unscrupulous dames, written in the prevailing American vernacular. In addition to the Lemmy Caution novels Cheyney wrote books about characters Slim Callaghan and Nick Bellamy as well as spy fiction. Cheyney’s career was bookended by Edgar Wallace in the 20s and Ian Fleming in the 50s. As one obituarist noted he “had the comparatively rare ability to produce book after book of ascending sales quality.” A popular radio drama, newspaper serials and films helped spur on sales of the Peter Cheyney canon. By the time of his death in July 1951 the “Thriller King” was earning 1,500,000 pounds a year. 

Major Reginald Evelyn Peter Southouse-Cheyney was born in County Clare, Ireland on February 22, 1896 and attended the University of London. He began writing professionally, in verse, in 1910 while still in his teens. Cheyney was a law clerk, soldier, police reporter, actor, director, and journalist. He was wounded in the Great War and mustered out in 1917. He formed and directed the Editorial and Literary Services in London, was editor of the St. John Ambulance Gazette (1929-1943) and news-editor of the Sunday Graphic (1933-1934). By March 1949 he was being touted as “Britain’s best-selling author.” Cheyney died on June 26, 1951.

[4] Dressed to Kill, illustrated by Leonard Cutten, April 4, 1946
On November 29, 1951, a comic strip version of This Man is Dangerous began running in the Western Mail (Australia) and concluded October 23, 1952. The only credit given was “by Peter Cheyney,” and, if the strip did not originate in the Western Mail, it probably had its source in a London newspaper.

[1] Nov 29, 1951
[2] Dec 6, 1951
[3] Dec 13, 1951 strip MISSING
[4] Dec 27, 1951
[5] Jan 3, 1952
[6] Jan 10, 1952
[7] Jan 17, 1952
[8] Jan 24, 1952
[9] January 31, 1952 MISSING
[10] Feb 7, 1952

This Man is Dangerous — Part II HERE.

This Man is Dangerous — Part III HERE.

[lTo be continuedl] 

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