Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Jack Webb Surprise

There is nothing delicate about this darling! Whoo, boy!

Haven't read this one yet, but already there are a couple of suprises. The first one is in the story. Written in the hard-boiled era, you don't expect the lead character to be a priest. That's more for the drawing room set like Father Brown or McInerny's Father Dowling. Of course the lead character Father Shanley is cut out of matinee idol cloth and has a quick hard right, but he doesn't carry a gun, just a cross. His crime-solving partner, Jewish detective Sammy Golden, is the one with the gat.

Now don't get fooled like I did because the second surprise is that this isn't the same Jack Webb of Dragnet and Adam-12 fame. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember that Jack Webb did write a novel, but I can't recall its title. (Wikipedia references The Badge, published in hardback in 1958 by Prentiss-Hall.)

The writer of this novel was born John Alfred Webb. According to a few other websites (gadetection and clerical detectives among them) Webb bounced around in his working life until he landed on writing. His main genre was Mystery, writing as Jack Webb and John Farr, but he also wrote a few westerns as Tex Grady. Of his approximately 15 books published between 1952 and 1963, 9 titles starred the cross-toting, right-fist-jabbing Father Shanley. Here's the list of them.

• The Big Sin (1952)
• The Naked Angel (1953)
• The Damned Lovely (1954)
• The Broken Doll (1955)
• The Bad Blonde (1956)
• The Brass Halo (1957)
• The Deadly Sex (1959)
• The Delicate Darling (1959)
• The Gilded Witch (1963)
Looks like most of the original paperback covers might have had lucious ladies prominently displayed. A temptation for any red blooded American Male, to be sure. But you've got to wonder how tempting, really, such delectable dolls would have been to the devout Shanley.

Great covers, though!

1 comment:

  1. I noticed your mention of Jack Webb and Dragnet. Richard S. Prather, creator of the Shell Scott Private Eyes series wrote the first Dragnet novel based on the television show, Dragnet, titled, “Dragnet: Case No. 561,” published under the name, David Knight. Published by Pocket Books, 1956.

    You may be interested in my exclusive interview with Richard S. Prather. It turned out to be his last interview before his death in February 2007.

    Linda Pendleton