Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh, You Kid!

By Erle Stanley Gardner. Edited by Bill Pronzini.
Crippen & Landru.
2010. 268 pages.
If you've never heard of The Patent Leather Kid, you'll know just about all there is to know about him from these two sources. Excerpts:
He had a dual identity in the DFW [Detective Fiction Weekly] stories – normally rich Dan Seller most of the time, and The Patent Leather Kid when he is ready for one of his somewhat illegal adventures. The patent leather in the name comes from his wearing not only patent leather shoes but also a patent leather face mask to hide his identity.
The Patent Leather Kid “was always on the lookout for adventure, and anything sufficiently out of the usual called him with an irresistible attraction.” — Monte Herridge, MYSTERY*FILE (December 8, 2011)
One of the characters Gardner created for the pulps was The Patent Leather Kid, an unoriginal amalgamation of Zorro, Raffles the Gentleman Thief, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Gardner’s principal contribution to this style of hero—the effete, indolent society fop he pretends to be while his alter ego tirelessly fights criminals and the official authorities when necessary—was to infuse his stories with the hardboiled sensibilities of Depression Era America. Even so, Gardner never let his Patent Leather Kid’s exploits veer into sadism: The Kid was always on the side of right, and the reader knew it. — Mike Gray, THE AMERICAN CULTURE (June 9, 2011) [Follow the links to other resources.]

Category: Detective fiction

No comments:

Post a Comment