Tuesday, September 14, 2021

"You're As Crooked As They're Made, but I Don't Think You'd Do Murder"

"Dixon Hawke: The Case of the Duelling Pistols."
By Anonymous. Introduction by Otto Penzler.
First appearance: Dixon Hawke’s Case Book #4, Spring 1940.
Reprinted in The Armchair Detective, Autumn 1983.
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).
     "He was bewildered by the rapid developments in what had appeared to be a simple case."

A good thing our sleuth notices "something queer about one of those birds" . . . .

Principal characters:
~ Michael Martin:
  "He was treacherous to the last!"
~ Dixon Hawke:
  "The angle of the shot was upward."
~ Foxy Lee:
  "I dropped the pistol and done a bolt!"
~ Inspector Meadows:
  "We're not so stupid at the Yard, after all, eh?"
~ General Pablo:
  ". . . wore a dressing-gown over his pyjamas, and the detective noticed that his left arm was in a sling."

References and resources:
- Two other detectives comparable in many ways to Dixon Hawke are amateur Sexton Blake (HERE; "The Adventure of the Coffee-Pot") and professional Inspector Stanley (HERE; second story: "The Mystery of the Tuesday Man").
- Over most of the past century an anonymous legion of writers have turned their hands (and typewriters) to chronicling the adventures of this low-rent knockoff of Sexton Blake named Dixon Hawke. In his introduction to today's tale, Otto Penzler notes:
  ". . . a sampling of more than twenty [stories] from assorted volumes in the series has failed to discover just what it is exactly that Hawke does. He is identified often as working 'in conjunction with Scotland Yard,' and he instantly assumes a position of authority over every rank of police officer with whom he comes into contact. He does not seem at any time to have an official standing, however, nor does he ever appear to have any other job or method of earning a living.
  "He is an extraordinary detective, able to spot a bullet hole in a tapestry on a wall forty feet away. His deductions rival his observations, with no explanation of how his brilliant conclusions are achieved."
- You can find more about Dixon Hawke at Public Domain Super Heroes (HERE), the Dixon Hawke Library at Comic Book Plus (HERE and HERE), the small collection of Dixon Hawke titles at Archive.org (HERE), and Guynsmith.rocks (HERE).


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