Many OTR fans remember the hard-boiled dicks who populated both the pulps and the radio stations. Boston Blackie, Bulldog Drummond, Charlie Chan, Jeff Regan, Sherlock Holmes, The Shadow, The Thin Man, The Whisperer, and many others. These were guys who fogged men's minds or whistled while they worked, or called their secretaries frequently. Being on the side of "good" was a macho thing.
Or, was it?
Jack French tells us of the distaff side of detecting during the heyday of old-time radio. Some private eyes sported mascara and had long lashes. Thus, the title of Jack's Book, Private Eyelashes.
This 238 page book is chock full of stories about radio's lady detectives, some of whom substituted a powder puff for a pistol. Others were girls with gats. Not only can we read about the more famous female crime-fighters such as Candy Matson or Nora Charles, but we learn of many whose radio series were not so long lasting or popular.
The book contains nine chapters, plus an extensive bibliography, list of sources and index. Each chapter is built around a particular theme. Fittingly, the first chapter concentrates on the earliest female detectives. Other chapters deal with female detectives that operated rather independently, or whose partners were also detectives. Some stars were ladies of the press, or secretaries who were more than competent in helping their detective bosses.
The book was thoroughly researched, with many well-known (at least in the OTR world) names contributing invaluable information to Jack's gristmill. Jack's writing style, in turn melds these facts into a very readable and enjoyable document, full of historical anecdotes and script excerpts. Readers will not only learn more about various lady detectives and their creators, they will enjoy a chuckle or two on the way.
Jack is no stranger to either old-time radio or to the forces of Law and Order. He is an active contributor to several old-time radio organizations, including the Washington DC based Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club. He is also a retiree from a rather well-known government investigatory bureau (do you need another clue).
Get the low-down on your favorite female detectives. Learn about their literary origins, successes and failures. Learn which was more important - brass knuckles or silk stockings.
The book is available for $18.85 (plus $2.00 shipping) from
Bear Manor Media
PO Box 750
Boalsburg, PA 16827
or, order online at the publisher's website: www.bearmanormedia.com
The book will NOT be addressed with a shocking pink lipstick, so both guys and gals can receive the package without undue comments. One more suggestion. Do NOT take this book to bed with you, expecting to fall asleep while reading it. The continuity is such, you may stay up all night enjoying it!