Pulp and Adventure Heroes: B

Bagley. Bagley was created by Howard Smiley and appeared in Blue Book, All-Story Magazine, and possibly other magazines from 1907 to 1909. Bagley is an eccentric inventor whose creations never quite seem to go as planned. He creates a separate-stage rocket, one actually plausibly described, but it lands in South Dakota rather than the moon. (Bagley and his friends are initially fooled by the landscape, of course, into thinking they've actually landed on the moon) Bagley creates an earth borer that gets three miles down but is repelled by a pocket of natural gas. Bagley creates a super airplane, but the controls end up getting jammed, leaving the plane to fly in circles until it runs out of fuel, thirty years in the future. And so on.

Bailey, Hilea & Hilary Dunsany III. Ruth Lenore Marting created the Baileys under the name of "Hilea Bailey;" they appeared in four books beginning with What Night Will Bring (1939). The Baileys were a married pair of American amateur sleuths.

Bailey Twins. The Bailey Twins (don't know their names) were created by divers hands and appeared in the five-book "Bailey Twins" series which appeared in 1930 and began with The Bailey Twins at Farnham Hall. The Twins were military cadets who encountered adventure and criminous furriners at Farnam Hall, in the Philippines, and at an army base.

Baird, Frances. Frances Baird was created by Reginald Wright Kauffman and appeared in Miss Francis Baird, Detective: A Passage From Her Memoirs (1906). She is a twenty-five-year-old private eye, and given her publication date she must be one of the earliest female p.i.s. She is an agent of the Watkins Private Detective Agency, and in her book she catches a suspect, but then falls in love with him and proves his innocence. She also appeared in Kauffman's My Heart and Stephanie: A Novel, which had reporter Sam Burton. Burton, however, required Baird to help him out of several tough jams.

Baker, Biff. Biff Baker, appearing in Biff Baker, was created by Ernest Lynn and Henry Schlensker and ran from 1941 to 1945. Baker was a senior at Midwestern University, a football star and amateur pilot. He quickly began fighting against German spies and sympathizers on campus and then went into the Air Corps, where he fought in both theaters.

Balaoo. Balaoo was created by Gaston Leroux and appeared in Balaoo, a story which was serialized in a Parisian newspaper and then published as a collection in 1913. (It was also made into Balaoo/The Demon Baboon, a 1913 serial, and remade as The Wizard in 1927) Balaoo is a tragic creation, a missing link (not a baboon, as I originally wrote--thanks to Marc Madouraud for correcting my error) which is transformed by the mad scientist Dr. Coriolis into a half-human, half-animal beast. Poor Balaoo escapes from Coriolis and then tries to kidnap a beautiful woman, Madeleine, Coriolis' niece, to take as his mate. Balaoo is finally lured into a trap and killed.

Balbane. Balbane, the Conjurer Detective appeared in Detective Story Magazine from 1921 to 1922, starting with “Balbane, Conjurer Detective,” in Detective Story’s 22 January 1921 issue. He was created by Lewen Hewitt. Balbane is indeed a conjurer, but not of spells. Balbane is a stage magician, one wise in the ways of deception and stagecraft. And it is for those reasons that Balbane is such a skilled and successful detective. He is hired by governments and private individuals to expose crooks and frauds and cheats of all descriptions, even fake shamans who are whipping up a revolution in Morocco. Balbane does this as a hobby, something to amuse himself; he does not go looking for crime, but crime and its victims seem to seek him out without fail. Balbane is suave and erudite, albeit not lacking in any confidence whatsoever. (But then, he’s in his thirties and has been a stage magician since he was 15, so I suppose all that experience would give one confidence and no small amount of ego) He is as skilled at stage magician as he is at detecting, and is aided both on the stage and in detecting by Frank Clark, Balbane’s assistant, secretary, and amanuensis. Clark’s not very bright but he is faithful and tough and does what Balbane wants. Balbane’s other assistant is the lovely Desiree, who Balbane eventually marries. (It should be noted that while Balbane is a devout rationalist, the final Balbane story does include a psychic woman)

Banner Boy Scouts. The Banner Boy Scouts were created by St. George Rathbone and appeared in the "Banner Boy Scouts" series, which ran six books and began with The Banner Boy Scout or The Struggle for Leadership (1912). The Boy Scouts had the usual Boy Scouts kind of adventures, solving mysteries and fighting air piracy in their last two books, both 1937.

Banner, Senator. Senator Brooks Urban Banner was created by Joseph Commings and appeared in various pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. Brooks is a state senator sho at various times was a county sheriff, a tramp, a circus barker, a soldier (WW1 vet), a salesman, and a circus barker. He's also a graduate of Cornell University and the Albany School of Law. With that background, you can imagine he'd be smart, clever, and worldly-wise, and despite his gutter manner of speaking and his penchant for dressing like a hobo he's a good crime solver. He is tall, has a large red nose and white hair.

Bantan. One of several Tarzan rip-offs, Bantan, "the bronzed giant," debuted in Bantan--God-Like Islander (1936), written by Maurice Gardner. The orphaned three-year-old Arthur Delcourt is washed ashore on the South Seas island of Beneiro. He is found by the native chief and raised by him, but educated by the local French missionary, Father Lasance. When Arthur, now called Bantan by the natives, reaches 18 he begins his adventures (the usual Tarzan variety, only on South Pacific islands, many unknown to maps and man and full of Lost Civilizations, dinosaurs, amazons, and weird science) in a series of novels which run through the 1970s.

Barnes, Bill. Bill Barnes, created by "George Eaton," the joint pseudonym of Monty Montayne and Chuck Verral, first appearing in Bill Barnes, Air Adventurer v1 #1, in February 1934. Barnes was an ace pilot who worked from an airfield on Long Island in New York, fighting against crime and having various high adventures. He was a pleasant chap who had a group of swell chums to assist him. There was the teenaged Sandy Sanders, who was an exceptional pilot; Shorty Hassfurther, the short, “stalky” WW1 ace; Bev Bates, the Bostonian; “Scotty” MacCloskey, Bill’s mechanic (and he could fix just about anything); and Tony Lampert, his ground mechanic. (Barnes’ friends did not always survive his adventures; at least three of them, one his close friend Cy Hawkins, a Texan, died in action) (But he was a Texan so it was no great loss). Barnes flew a number of planes, from the stubby fighter Bumblebee to the very advanced and modern Charger. Many of these were shot down or stolen or otherwise destroyed, causing Bill and his friends no small amount of financial headaches until they could win a race or find lost treasure or otherwise gain some operating funds. After World War Two broke out he went to work for G-2, fighting against the Germans. His adventures ran through three different magazines until 1943. Among his enemies were Otto Yahr, in his fighter the Dragon; Yako, a Yakuza-like Japanese organisation; the Black Ghost; the Burton Hawks; Mordecai Murphy; the Moon God; and miniature silver robot planes.

Bill Barnes
A fairly decent site, though not as detailed as I'd like.

Barnes, Bromley. Bromley Barnes was created by George Barton and appeared in a number of short stories and two books, the first of which was The Mystery of the Red Flame (1918). Barnes is a retired government agent who had spent thirty years "in the confidential employment" of the U.S. government, working for the Secret Service, as "Chief of the Special Agents of the Treasury Department," and then for private missions for the State Department. He's an older man (obviously) who is still physically vigorous but who is quite capable of solving difficult crimes, even Impossible Crimes and locked-room murders. He's helped by Cornelius Clancy, his valet and assistant and red-headed Irish stereotype.

Baron. The Baron was created by "Anthony Morton," aka John Creasey,  and debuted in Meet the Baron (1937); he appeared in 46 sequels. The Baron is John Mannering, a well-to-do socialite and citizen who in his youth was a playboy by day and jewel thief by night. When he met the beautiful young artist Lorna Fauntley, however, he instantly fell in love and decided to reform his ways. He did, and married her. He then became an antique dealer, working for the very respectable Quinns of Mayfair, (which he came to own) and using his skills for good. He even helps the police, in the form of Superintendent Bristow of Scotland Yard, when they ask for his help, although Bristow still suspects the Baron of wrongdoing.

Since writing the preceding I've read The Durable Desperadoes, and William V. Butler, the author, has led me to think a little bit more about the Baron. Butler points out that the Baron has a somewhat different code of honor from many, similar characters. He doesn't agonise at all about his thievery or dishonesty, and is completely class-unconscious. But he refuses to let an innocent man take the fall for what he's done, and targets only the rich and well-to-do, who can afford to lose what he plans to take.

Barr, Black. Black Barr was created by Erle Stanley Gardner  and appeared in Black Mask beginning in November 1925 and running through 1928. Barr is a cowboy, operating in the West and fighting the usual assortment of cowboy enemies: shootists, scheming ranch owners, and Mexican and Chinese killers. Barr rescues women in distress. Barr gets into bar fights and watches tumbleweeds blow by. But Barr’s adventures are set during Prohibition. (Interesting idea, eh?) Barr is something of the standard western hero, known for settling disputes with his .45s. He’s wanted, with a price on his head, and he wanders around, searching peace but finding only conflict. But he’s a college educated man, traveling on horseback with loads of books. He’s not a perfect man; he’s given to strong, even killing rages—along the border he is known as “The Executioner of Fate,” and (he is told) the Mexicans “think that you stand for justice. They think that when some man gets too powerful and wicked, Fate sends you along to adjust matters.” He has no sidekick and loves no woman, for he is a killer, and “the love of a good woman is not for me.”

Barrett, Dick. Dick Barrett was created by Norvell Page and appeared in Crime Busters Magazine in the 1930s. He was a detective who specialized in recovering stolen jewels.

Barrington, John H. John H. Barrington was created by "Operator 1384" and appeared in a number of novels, including The Black Arab (1937) and The Scourge of the Desert (1937). "Operator 1384" was actually John H. Harvey, and John H. Barrington (in addition to being a pseudonym Harvey used for two later novels) was a "Secret Service Operator" for the French Foreign Legion--that is, one of the men of L'Espionnage Central who spy on his fellow legionnaires for the Bureau Arabe. This, naturally, leads to the usual kind of Foreign Legion adventures in North Africa.

Barrow Brothers. The Barrow Brothers were created by John E. Bechdolt and appeared in the five book "Barrow Brothers" series, which appeared in 1931 and began with Hidden Waters. The two Barrow brothers had a very interesting set of adventures, traveling around the world and finding treasure and adventure in the depths of the sea, in the Arctic, buried by a railroad in the Old West, in the Amazon, and in a city of Lost Vikings. (!)

Barry, Brian. Brian Barry was created by Frank H. Phares and appeared in "Foreign Assignment," a radio serial running from 1943 to 1944. Barry was the foreign correspondent for the American Press; his assistant and love interest was Carol Manning. Together they fought abroad against the Hun, usually battling the Gestapo in occupied France.

Barry, Dan. Dan Barry was created by “Max Brand,” aka Frederick Faust, and appeared in three books, The Untamed (1919), The Night Horseman (1920), and The Seventh Man (1921). Dan Barry is an odd sort of cowboy character. He is the “Pan of the Desert,” an orphan of mysterious and unknown origin who is adopted by Joe Cumberland, a rancher in the “mountain-desert” (presumably the American Southwest). Barry grows up to a rather strange man, short, slim, and almost feminine, with an uncanny (literally) rapport with animals; he is always accompanied by a wolf named Black Bart and by a horse named Satan. When Cumberland first saw Barry the boy was following a flight of geese and apparently whistling to them. (This gives rise to Barry’s nickname: “Whistlin’ Dan.”)

As an adult Barry is nonchalant and almost imperterubable, until Jim Silent, the leader of a gang of outlaws, hits him. Then a yellow light glows in Barry’s eyes, and he becomes quite bloodthirsty. Barry ends up killing Silent, not in a classic shootout, but rather by strangling him. Barry is in love with Kate Cumberland, his adopted father’s daughter, but the call of the wild is too much for Barry, and he ends up wandering off.

In the two later novels Barry settles down with Kate Cumberland. The call of the wild still pulls at Barry, and he often wanders the night with Black Bart and Satan. In these novels Barry is referred to as a “werewolf” and a “wolf.” Dan and Kate eventually have a daughter, Joan, but a group of seven men shoot Dan’s horse (not Satan), and he kills six of them before finally being shot to death by Joan.

Barry, Red. Red Barry, a response to the success of Dick Tracy, was created by Will Gould, and ran from 19 March 1934 to 1 July 1938. Police Detective Red Barry works a rough beat in a big city (as with Barry's visual similarity to Jimmy Cagney, the similarities between Barry's city and New York City are not coincidences). He is not a supersleuth cop, however, and relies more on his fists to help solve crimes than on anything else. (Red's not a moron, it's just that his fists are usually all he needs to solve crime) He needs to, since the world in which he lives and works is a rough one, full of violent, even vicious criminals; many of Barry's adventures are set in Chinatown. Red's opponents are an interesting lot. They included: "Count" Rinaldi, a brutal, hopped-up gangster with delusions of royalty; Sarno, a sociopathic ventriloquist with a murderous puppet; the Flame, a Chinese-American gang leader who used her gang and her beauty (and, it was implied, sex) to rule Chinatown; and, most memorably, the Monk, a master criminal who wore a black hood and held the city in thrall from her headquarters (the Monk was the sister of Red's long-time pursuer, Mississippi).

Red's boss, Inspector Scott, is a fan of Red and ignores Red's tactics, preferring to think about the results Red gets. Although Red is often pursued by dames, especially the lovely and desirable Mississippi, he has no time for them. He does play big brother to the Terrific Three, a trio of street kids (led by Ouchy Mugouchy) who are Red's Baker Street Irregulars.

Red Barry Ace Detective
The cover image of one of his Little Big books. (Okay, it's not much, but it was the best I was able to find)

Bartendale, Luna. Luna Bartendale appeared in The Undying Monster (1936) by Jessie Douglas Kerruish. Bartendale is a female psychic, a "Supersensitive" and occult detective, one world-renowned for her many good and heroic deeds. She lives in London but is active around the world. She's a small, pretty woman, with curly blonde hair, "creamy" skin and a slight build, accompanied by Roska, a large, intelligent dog "of indeterminate breed with touches of Dalmatian and bloodhound." Luna has various psychic powers, including (seemingly) mind reading, is well-versed in psychic and occult lore (as well as the more ordinary quaint and curious and forgotten kind), has a "Sixth Sense" which allows her to trace things and people through not just the Fourth but the Fifth Dimension. (the Fifth Dimension is "the Dimension that surrounds and pervades the Fourth--known as the Supernatural"), uses a Divining Rod for various things (including psychic detection and tracking), has various (undefined) powerful psychic defenses (her energies can be drained by prolonged use, however), can carry on seances, and can even cure a person of "wehrwolfism." Luna also did work helping shell shock victims after WW1, which was deuced nice of her, I'm sure you'll agree.

Barter, Professor. Professor Barter was created by Arthur J. Burks and appeared in at least two stories, beginning with “Manape the Mighty” in Astounding Stories (June 1931). Professor Barter is very much like Dr. Moreau, being a scientist who disappeared from society after gaining himself a notorious reputation. Barter, in his first appearance, perfects brain transplants by swapping brains between a human and an ape. In Barter’s second appearance (“The Mind Master,” Astounding, Jan-Feb 1931) he uses heat rays, disintegrator rays, a “far-viewer,” and long-distance mind control via brain implants to try to “improve humanity.”

Bartlett, Ann. Ann Bartlett was created by Martha Johnson and appeared in the five-volume "Ann Bartlett" series, which began in 1941 with Ann Bartlett, Navy Nurse. Ann was, as stated, a nurse for the U.S. Navy, and she was active during the war in the South Pacific, including Bataan and the Philippines, and then rotated Stateside after the war ended.

Barton, Sue. Sue Barton was created by Helen Dore Boylston and appeared in the seven-volume "Sue Barton" series, which began in 1936 and ran through 1953; the first book in the series was Sue Barton, Student Nurse. The series followed Sue as she grew up, solved crimes, mended illnesses, married Dr. Bill, raised a family, and became the Staff Nurse at a big-city hospital.

Baseball Joe. "Baseball Joe" Matson was created by Edward Stratemeyer and someone else (haven't been able to find out, sorry) appeared in the "Baseball Joe" series in the 1920s. He was an upright, God-fearing patriot and baseball player from Riverside, "in one of our New England states," who fought his way up from the minor leagues to the World Series through hard work and clean living. This, despite the endless efforts of swarthy, unshaven, wrong-thinking players, owners, umpires, gamblers, and every other type of Not Our Kind to stop him. He triumphed over all of them, though, pitching over .900 and batting over .400.

Professor Bastion. Professor Luther Bastion was created by Charles Rodda and appeared in several books, beginning with Six Minutes Past Twelve (1928). He was a short, fat, balding and middle-aged anthropologist who loved amateur criminology. He also loves the theater and cigars, but spends little time teaching, preferring to solve crimes. He lives in an apartment near Charing Cross and is helped on his cases by his flatmate, Major Kettering-Evans, a maimed WW1 vet who is nonetheless physically vital enough to give Bastion the physical help he sometimes requires. Inspector Burchell is the policeman who reluctantly comes to Bastion for help.

The Bat (I). The Bat was created by "C.K.M. Scanlon," aka Leo Marguiles and Cylvia Kleinman (or possibly Johnston McCulley), and appeared in Popular Detective beginning in 1934. The Bat was Dawson Clade, a private detective. Clade had been investigating various underworld figures and was beginning to draw close to highly-connected political figures. The crooks of The City got together with its politicians, murdered a wealthy philanthropist, and framed Clade for it. Clade is sentenced to die on the electric chair, and when the governor is set to give him a pardon the governor is killed by a blowdart-wielding assassin. But luckily for everyone Clade is saved, on the eve of execution, by Martin Fenbeck, a wealthy businessman, and the prison warden, who like Fenbeck believes that Clade is innocent. They rig the Old Smoky so that it appears to kill Clade, but doesn't. Then they bring Clade to Fenbeck's cabin, in the woods outside of The City (somewhere along the Hudson, maybe?) and bury someone else in Clade's grave. Then...well, I'll let the story tell it:

...he must become a figure of sinister import to all of these people. A strange Nemesis that would eventually become a legendary terror to all of crimedom...he glanced at the oil lamp burning on a table. Then he swung around, suddenly tense. In the shadows above his head there came a slithering, flapping sort of sound.

Clade leaped back instinctively as something brushed past his cheek. Again the flapping of wings--a weird rustling sound. Terror overcame him for an instant as something brushed against his hair, caught in a tangled lock. Something that seemed unspeakably evil.

He reached up, tore at it with fingers that had suddenly grown frantic. He flung the thing aside. As he did so he saw that it was a bat. An insectivorous mammal, with its wings formed by a membrane stretched between the tiny elongated fingers, legs and tail.

As the creature hovered above the lamp for an instant it cast a huge shadow upon the cabin wall.

"That's it!" exclaimed Clade aloud. "I'll call myself `The Bat!'"

(That doesn't sound too familiar, does it?)

The Bat puts on a bat-like costume, uses a "vapor gun" which projects a stunning anesthetic gas, and leaves calling cards behind, imprinted with a bat symbol.

The Bat (II). The Bat (II) was created by Eden Phillpots, under his pseudonym of "Harrington Next," and appeared in Number 87 (1922). The Bat (II) is Paul Strossmeyer, a Yugoslav trade representative who grows concerned with the short-sightedness of various world politicians, especially with regards to the discovery and application of atomic energy. So Strossmeyer begins a series of terrorist acts, from the disintegration of the Albert Memorial to the destruction of various Christian Science churches to the assassination of several politicians, from Britain, Japan, America, and Russia. In each case the assassination was done by a needle-thin puncture near the heart and the transmutation of various elements of the body. Also in each case, a mysterious figure was seen near the crime; this figure, the Bat, is larger than a man, has glowing eyes, and leaves behind a foul stench. Strossmeyer is the Bat, who worked with radioactivity for decades and discovered Element 87, which allows for the easy splitting of the atom and the production of enormous amounts of energy. Strossmeyer used Element 87 to power his flying suit, his weapons, and his bat-shaped aircraft, which can fly through the upper atmosphere at 100,000 miles an hour. It all ends badly for Strossmeyer, of course, who destroys his fortress and then heads off into space to kill himself.

Battleship Boys. The Boys were created by Frank Patchin and appeared in the eight-volume "Battleship Boys" series, which began in 1910 with The Battleship Boys at Sea or Two Apprentices in Uncle Sam's Navy. The Boys began, obviously, as apprentices but worked their way up the chain of command while fighting the enemies of America, whether in the seas around Europe, "upholding the American flag in a Honduras Revolution," in the China during the siege of Kam Shan Mission, in the Adriatic against U-boats, or fighting against German pilots from Navy planes.

Baxter, Barney. Created by cartoonist and illustrator Frank Miller, Barney Baxter (initially Barney Baxter in the Air) ran from 1935 to 1950. Barney Baxter began as a freckle-faced twelve year old Coloradan who loved flying, but once he left Colorado and went to New York, matching the strip’s real life success, he quickly grew up into a “young man.” Baxter began flying, and this got him into any number of adventures across the world, all written and drawn with skill by Miller. Originally Barney was assisted by Hap Walters, another pilot Barney’s age, and was taught by an older pilot, Cyclone Smith, who taught Barney the intricacies of advanced flying. Then, in 1937, Barney began flying solo, across Africa and Asia and into the South Pacific, where he met a native beauty named Maura, who became his on-again off-again girlfriend. His enemies tended towards the nasty and brutal, with most of them being Latins from south of the American border.  Barney at one point was forced to crashland in Alaska, where he rescued Gopher Gus, a cartoonish and stereotyped gold prospector who then became his sidekick. Barney enlisted in the Royal Air Force in September 1941 to help fight the Germans, and after the war started was active in both theaters, though primarily in the Pacific.

Barney Baxter
The cover image of one of his Little, Big books.

Beagle, Amanda & Lutie. The Beagles were created by Torney Chanslor and appeared in Our First Murder (1940) and Our Second Murder (1941). Following the death of their brother Amanda and Lutie, prim elderly spinsters both, inherit their brother Ezekiel's detective agency and set about solving murders. To do this they have to move from East Biddicut, Connecticut, to New York City, something neither one of them is happy about--but that's where the job is, and that's where the murders are, so that's where they go.

Beati Paoli. The Beati Paoli were written about by the Italian writer Luigi Natoli and appeared first in serial form, in 1909, and then as a book in 1921 and 1949. The Beati Paoli were supposedly a real group, a secretive sect along the lines of the Freemasons and the Illuminati. There's no way of knowing for sure whether they really existed or not, and if they did what they aimed for. In the Natoli novel they are a fraternity of secret knights pledged to fight for good and to overthrow the power of both the Church and the Italian government. The novel is set in Palermo from 1698 to 1719 and makes use of gothic trappings (secret passageways, hooded masterminds, and the like), historical figures, and and real locations in Palermo. The Beati Paoli, possibly named after "Beato Paola," Saint Francis of Paolo, are a group of hooded "avengers," working for the common people against the Inquisition, its spies, and the the Austrian government, which controlled the Sicilian crown. The Beati Paoli are headquartered in the Capo district of Palermo and use various tunnels, sewers, and hidden passageways to navigate the city. They worked by night, dressed all in black and wearing hoods which concealed their faces.

Beckholmen, Mattias. Mattias Beckholmen was created by the Swedish writer Kjerstin Göransson-Ljungman and debuted in 27 Sekundmeter Snö (1939). Beckholmen is a private eye in Stockholm.

Beech, Viola. Viola Beech was created by Edgar Wallace in The Girl From Scotland Yard (1937), which was made into a film later that year. Beech is just what the book title says: an agent of Scotland Yard. She’s feisty and good with her fists and guns, and is assigned to go after Franz Borg, a mad scientist who has invented an airplane armed with a death ray. Locutus, I mean, Franz intends to use the plane to conquer Britain, but Beech is assigned to the job, and with the help of Beef McBronkChest American hero Derrick Holt she succeeds.

Bell, Edmund. Thanks to Marc Madouraud I can tell you a bit of information about Edmund Bell. Bell was created by Jean Ray, a name that appears in a few other entries on this site. Bell appeared in 15 stories in the Belgian magazine Bravo in 1936. Bell was a teenaged version of Harry Dickson whose father is an eminent member of Scotland Yard. He begins as a thirteen-year-old and ages as the series goes on. He's not particularly charming, however, being intelligent but malicious. His adventures have the trappings of the supernatural--werewolves, ghost trains, death rays, etc--but are actually grounded in reality, and by adventure's end Bell has uncovered the reality of the crimes and the criminals. Some of the Bell stories were used in (or were taken from) Jack Linton and Harry Dickson and various other Jean Ray series.

Bell, Garnett. Garnett Bell was created by Cecil H. Bullivant and appeared in Detective Story Magazine in 1919. Bell is a amateur consulting detective based in London, with an apartment on Baker Street, a love for tobacco, and an assistant named Peters; he is treated deferentially by the police, and...what's that? You think he sounds very similar to Sherlock Holmes? No, that couldn't be....

Bellow Bill. Bellow Bill was created by Ralph R. Perry and appeared in Argosy in the mid-1930s. Bellow Bill Williams was a low-grade version of Hurricane Williams, a two-fisted, brawler who fought his way through the China seas, junks, Chinese hatchetmen, hustlers, and evil Mandarins. Bellow Bill was a large man, over 6' tall and 200 pounds heavy, with copper blond hair, the "voice of a dragon" and tattoos covering his body "from shoulder to wrist and from neck to waist." He is by trade a pearler, but more often than not he's just an adventurer. On several occasions he helps the authorities on various islands and countries in the South Seas.

Beloiartsev, Stepan. Stepan Beloiartsev was created by M. Raskatov and appeared in "The Broken Chains: A Novel of the Revolution," a serial which appeared in a Petrograd newspaper in 1916 and 1917. Beloiartsev is a master worker at a steel mill, "well made and strong as an oak," who has a few grey hairs but is otherwise youthful-looking and spry. He, his soldier son Pavel, and their very strong worker friends Savelii, Grigorii, and Philipp, fight alongside heroic workers, soldiers, and Cossacks against the vile oppressor army officers, policemen, and spies, finally freeing all their imprisoned revolutionary friends and ensuring the triumph of the February Revolution.

Bencolin, Henri. Henri Bencolin was created by John Dickson Carr and appeared in five novels, beginning with It Walks by Night (1930). Bencolin, an eccentric dandy, is the juge d’instruction of the Parisian police, although he has also worked on the side as a private investigator, charging exorbitant fees that are greater than his official salary. He is very flamboyant and a regular at certain nightclubs, where he is regularly seen drinking beer, smoking cigars, and listening to jazz from a corner table. More importantly, though, he is known as the “foremost police official in Europe and as the “most dangerous man in Europe.” It is widely said about him that when he is looking only for pleasure, he wears a plain sack suit. When he is thinking about a case he is working on, he wears a dinner jacket. But when he has found the culprit and is about to capture him or her, Bencolin wears evening clothes and carries his walking stick with the silver head, inside of which is concealed a sword blade. This story is true. Bencolin encourages his Watson, a young journalist named Jeff Marle, to spread this story. Bencolin is known, with good reason, as "Mephistopheles smoking a cigar," and though often challenged by his old rival, Baron Sigismund von Arnheim, also triumphs.

A short recap of Bencolin.

Benson, Buzz. Buzz Benson was created by Arch Whitehouse and appeared in Flying Aces in the mid-1930s. Benson was an aviation reporter who worked undercover for the Secret Service, his job providing him with the perfect excuse to travel and gather information for the SS. He often became involved in helping to stop international crime rings and thinly-veiled Japanese analogues from destroying the U.S. Pacific fleet.

Bent, John. John Bent was created by H.C. Branson and appeared in four novels, beginning with I'll Eat You Last (1941). Bent is a retired physician and recovering alcoholic (not that they used that phrase back in '41) who is turned to by friends and acquaintances to solve various crimes.

Bentiron, Doctor. Introduced in the first part of "Behind Locked Doors," in the January 7, 1919 issue of Street & Smith Detective Story Magazine, Doctor Bentiron was one of the better respected and known mystery characters of the 1920s. Bentiron was created by Ernest M. Poate, a doctor and author about whom I've been able to find little. Bentiron, as I said, had a relative amount of renown during the 1920s, appeared in a number of stories and novels, and was described as "eccentric but lovable" in one very respected survey of the literature, but in my opinion the stories have not aged well, and Bentiron is nearly as insufferable as A.J. Raffles.

But first, the facts. Dr Bentiron is a psychologist, practicing in New York City. He has degrees from Harvard and Heidelberg and is a full professor of abnormal psychology at Columbia. He holds advanced degrees in the arts, philosophy, and the law. He uses science and psychology (all Freudian, naturally) and advanced devices like lie detectors in the pursuit of justice, and he is very good at revealing hoaxes designed to seem supernatural.

And yet Bentiron is so patronizing that, in the words of one critic, "you long to do him harm." He has an almost pathological fear of technological devices, refusing to use so much as a telephone (he hires a nurse to make calls for him). He is full of affectations--of languid exhaustion, of irritation at the petty interruptions of mere mortals, of a general bad attitude. He continually utters the word "Umphf!" as an ejaculation and exclamation. He lectures everyone in a highly condescending manner. He is domineering and arrogant. He (perhaps like Poate himself) is an anti-Semite. It's a wonder his assistants did not kill him long since.

Said assistants include Dr. Blakeley, a junior psychiatrist who acts as Bentiron's assistant, and Detective Inspector O'Malley, Bentiron's contact on the force.

Bentiron is a tall, gaunt, slouching man. He has thin arms, thin legs, gray-streaked thin hair, a non-descript beard, and a high and wide forehead. He is given to wearing threadbare clothing and rolling cigarettes.

Beresford, Tommy & Tupence. The Beresfords were created by Agatha Christie and appeared in five books, beginning with The Secret Adversary (1922). Tommy had been a spy for the British during WW1 and Tupence (Pru) was a nurse. After the war they met and fought crime, eventually marrying.

Bermudez, Gapy. Gapy Bermudez was created by the Spanish writer Joaquin Belda and appeared in ¿Quién disparó (1909). ¿Quién disparó, set in Madrid, is a spoof, full of characters who (in the words of one critic) "seem to have just stepped out of a zarzuela" (Spanish light opera). Gapy Bermúdez is a Sherlock Holmes spoof, performing the usual feats of deduction and the like. He is Watsoned by the narrator, who claims to be Belda himself.

Berry, Sergeant. Sergeant Berry was created by the German writer Robert Arden and appeared in Sergeant Berry und der Zufall (Sergeant Berry and the Coincidence, 1938). Sergeant Berry was a stout-hearted and heroic beat cop in Chicago who fights corruption and gangsters, taking down the biggest crime-boss in Chicago and then fighting drug smugglers on the border of the United States and Mexico.

Big Chief Wahoo. Big Chief Wahoo, a comic strip, was created by Allen Saunders and Elmer Woggon and debuted in 1937. Wahoo was an Indian chief who with his gorgeous daughter Minnie Ha-Cha operated in the modern world of the white men. Wahoo eventually saved the life of Steve Roper, a press photographer, and the pair began traveling overseas and taking on dangerous assignments and espionage cases.

Big Five Motorcycle Boys. The Big Five (wish I knew their names) were created by St. George Rathbone and appeared in the "Big Five Motorcycle Boys" series, which ran from 1914 to 1916 and began with The Big Five Motorcycle Boys' Swift Road Chase or Surprising the Bank Robbers. The Big Vie fought criime in Tennessee, used the radio to help the Feds stop a counterfeiting ring, fought crime in Florida, and helped fight the Huns in Europe.

Biggles. James "Biggles" Bigglesworth was created by William E. Johns and has appeared in 98 novels, beginning with The Camels Are Coming in 1932 and continuing today. Biggles was arguably the greatest of the British air aces and was a very successful secret agent for them. (As well, of course, as being the very model of an officer and a gentleman)  He was born in 1899 in India to English parents, but in 1916 he left school to fight the Hun. He learned to fly (quite well) and became a fighter pilot in France, shooting down countless German blighters. During the war he also carried out special missions for the British Intelligence Service under the orders of Major Raymond. In 1918 he discovered that the great love of his life, Marie Janis, was a German spy. After the war he formed his own air service, Biggles & Co., assisted by his friend and cousin, the Honourable Algernon Montgomery "Algy" Lacy, and within a short time by the spunky young aviatrix Ginger Hebblethwaite. Together the trio carried out various ordinary flights, transporting cargo and the like, and certain missions for the Secret Intelligence Service, which brought them around the world on any number of exciting missions, including fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean, chasing slavers in Arabia, and pursuing gold robbers from the Australian outback to the heart of the Sahara. During the War Biggles, Algy, Ginger, and their new friend Bertie Lissie fought the Germans and Italians as members of 666 Spitfire Squadron, which Biggles commanded.

Five Biggles links

International Biggles Association Homepage
A nice site devoted to Biggles.

W.E. Johns and Biggles
A good Aussie site on Biggles and his creator.

Biggs, Lancelot. Lancelot Biggs was created by Nelson S. Bond and appeared in a series of stories in various magazines from 1939-1943, with a collection, The Remarkable Exploits of Lancelot Biggs, Spaceman, being published in 1950. Lancelot Biggs is a tall, lanky, ungraceful spaceman, the nephew of Prendergast Bigs, the vp of the Interplanetary Corporation, and Lancelot uses his uncle’s pull to help him get appointments on ships on the Venus cargo run. Of course, Biggs is a well-meaning bumbling incompetent with far too much curiosity and book-learning for his own good, and this leads to all sorts of whacky hijinks. (To be fair, the Biggs stories, though dated, are still funny.)

Big-Nose Charlie. Big-Nose Charlie was created by Charles W. Tyler, creator of Blue Jean Billy (see below), and appeared in a number stories, starting with “Big-Nose Charlie’s Get Away,” in the 5 April 1917 issue of Detective Story Magazine, and ending with “Big-Nose Charlie’s Safe” in that magazine’s 13 February 1932 issue. Charlie is a thief who, though occasionally relying on the more artistic forms of crime such as mail fraud, customarily uses strong-arm tactics to get his swag. His crimes are not usually imaginative—he’ll request a private interview with his target, hit them on the head, steal the money and run—and his goals aren’t high--$3,000 is about the upper limit of his takes—but what kept Big-Nose Charlie going for so many years, and what makes his stories remembered fondly today, is the humor within them. The Big-Nose Charlie stories are humorous, and meant to be, poking fun of themselves as well as at the genre. Charlie, who the police report describes as “hair well streaked with gray, large and prominent nose, with coarse pores, gray eyes, several gold teeth. Six feet tall,” is from “Kerry Village, Boston” (needless to say, there’s no such place now, but to my Bostonian surprise there used to be; what is now known as “Bay Village,” bounded by Charles Street South, Marginal Road, Cortes Street, Berkeley Street, and Stuart Streets, was once known as Kerry Village. Go figure) and speaks in a patois that is dated but peculiarly memorable: “Yu look forward t’keep fr’m lammin’ int’ trouble, but yuh flicker yuh glim behint so’s trouble won’t run yuh down.”

Bird Boys. The Bird Boys were created by St. George Rathborne and appeared in the five-volume "Bird Boys" series, which ran from 1912-1914 and began with The Bird Boys or The Young Pilots' First Air Voyage. The Bird Boys were teen aviators who flew around the world, from the tropics to China to America's West, and had various flight-related adventures.

Black. Black was created by Paul Cain and appeared in two stories in Black Mask in 1932 and 1934 beginning with “Black.” Black (no first name ever given) is a “tough, hard and cold” private eye who left New York, after having gotten involved in some dirty business, for another big city, where he gets people out of trouble and not into it. He’s “cold and unemotional” and a skilled detective

Black, Bulldog. Bulldog Black was created by Theodore Tinsley and appeared in Nick Carter Detective Magazine, The Whisperer, and Crime Busters from 1936 to 1938. Terry "Bulldog" Black was a plainclothes Detective Sergeant with the New York City Police Department; he'd been given his nickname because "once he sank his teeth into a case he just refused to let go." He was a large man, a long-time veteran of the police force and a native of the Bronx. He was good with his .38 and had extensive training in "police ju-jitsu."

Black, Detective. Jim Black and his partner Frank Blue appeared in "Detectives Black and Blue," a radio serial that ran from 1932 to 1935. Black and Blue were shipping clerks working in Duluth who had a hankering for a more exciting lifestyle. They took a correspondence course and received their "Detective's degree," which led them to open their own agency, whose motto was "Detec-a-tives Black and Blue, good men tried and true." Although they were bumblers, they inevitably caught their man, and had a decent success rate."

Black, Rudolf. Rudolf Black was created by the Danish author Hermann (or just Herman) Jensen and appeared in a number of novels, beginning (I think) with Den Nattlige Gaest (1918). Black was a London policeman who was active in at least two novels in Limehouse.

The Black Bat (I). The Bat (I) was created by Murray Leinster and appeared in Black Bat Detective Mysteries from October 1933 to April 1934. He was a private investigator, in search of someone (it was never explained who). He occasionally helped out the police. His reason for being called "the Black Bat" was never given.

The Black Bat (II). The Bat (II) was created by "G. Wayan Jones" (a pseudonym) and first appeared in Black Book Detective #1 in July 1939. Tony Quinn was a wealthy young bachelor and D.A. upset with crime and the number of criminals who escaped the law's punishment. When crooks threw acid in his face, blinding him and leaving him with a number of scars around his eyes, Quinn resolved to get his revenge. He embarked on a training program to develop his other senses; his hearing and sense of touch became superhuman. He trained until he was in top-notch physical condition. And then, by means of a secret operation, Quinn got the eyes of another man and regained his sight. More than that, he got the ability to see in the dark. He did not make this news public, choosing to inform only a few close friends. Instead, he put on a black cape, black hood, black shoes and gloves, black mask and cowl, and became the Black Bat, a crimefighter universally feared in the underworld.

"We'll use whatever means we think best in our fight against crime. We'll fight them with their own weapons--with treachery, intimidation, theft. We'll worry them until they are as jittery as a one legged man on a tightrope. We'll work with the police or against them if need be. We'll make our own laws and we'll enact our own judgments."
He was assisted by two men, both reformed criminals. Silk Kirby, a slick confidence man, and Butch O'Leary, a tough former boxer, helped him, as did Carol Baldwin, the daughter of the murdered policeman who gave the Bat his new eyes. Captain McGrath acted as his police friend/adversary. The Bat's opponents weren't as memorable as some of the other pulp heroes' nemeses; the Bat fought German spies and mad scientists and the like, but none were as immortal as, say, John Sunlight or Shiwan Khan.

The Bat used .45s on enemies and, Spider-style, he left a bat-shaped scar on the foreheads of the criminals he'd slain. He had a secret crime lab, of course, and a large estate on the city limits, and a powerful roadster. He was wanted by the police as well as the underworld, and one copy in particular, Lieutenant McGrath, hated both the Bat and Quinn and tried any number of gimmicks to prove that Quinn was no longer blind.

Blackburn, Jeffery. Jeffery Blackburn was created by the Australian writer Max Afford and appeared in several novels, possibly beginning with Blood on his Hands (1936). Blackburn is a brilliant mathematician at a Melbourne university who solves crimes out of intellectual interest. He is assisted by Chief Inspector William Jamieson Read of the Victorian Criminal Investigation Department. Later in the series he gives up his math Chair and moves to London, with Chief Inspector Read being seconded to Scotland Yard. Blackburn is married to Elizabeth; the pair met during the war when Jeffery was working as a PI with “Moratti’s agency” in NYC and Elizabeth, the daughter of English nobility, was in charge of the British Intelligence’s cipher department.

Black Eagle. I'm afraid I don't know much about the Black Eagle, although I hope at some point to change that. He appeared in The Amsterdam News (the African-American newspaper) at some point in 1937 or 1938 in a serial whose authorship is unknown to me. He was a black pilot and fighter. Now, I think there's a significant possibility that the serial wasn't actual fiction but was either a truthful recounting or a lightly fictionalised version of the life and times of Colonel Hubert Julian, "the Negro Lindbergh," aka "the Black Eagle of Harlem." Julian fought for Haile Selaisse, was a good pilot and a great showman, had links to the Harlem underworld, and generally was a most interesting (and mysteriously unknown, today) person. But until I track down some copies of the Amsterdam News and can read this serial for myself, I can't tell you more.

Black Hood. The Hood first appeared in Black Hood Detective Magazine in 1936 before appearing in a radio show and later a comic book. I do not know who created him. The Hood was Kip Burland, a young District Attorney who became frustrated at the number of criminals who were escaping justice and so decided to become a costumed crimefighter. He put on a black costume and every night haunted the city, using his superior athletic ability to fight crime.

Ed Love, a man of much knowledge, provided the following:

I came across some publishing history of the Black Hood last night. what i have comes from James van Hise's Pulpmasters that compiles about 16 articles from various sources. the black hood piece was written by tom johnson and originally appeared in his publication Echoes (#53, 1991). the article gives a good overview of the cast of characters and such as well as a few illos. only the first two paragraphs applies to what you were looking for:

"The Black Hood had a short pulp life. Beginning with "Death's Five Faces," September 1941, in Black Hood Detective Volume Two, Number Eight, written by G. T. Fleming-Roberts. The publisher was Columbia Publications, Inc., 1 Appleton Street, Holyoke, MA with the editorial offices located at 60 Hudson St., New York N.Y. Black Hood Detective was probably a continuation of Detective Yarns, which ended in April 1941 (Volume 2, Number 5). This magazine had been published by Blue Ribbon Magazines, Inc., same address as above. In April 1941, most of the Blue Ribbon - more likely all - titles were put under the Columbian Publications Imprint.

The character of the Black Hood first appeared in comic book form in Top Notch #9, October 1940, which was a Columbia Publications, Inc., line of comics. But by September 1941, they had hired G. T. Fleming-Roberts to write a series of short novels (approximately 35 pages each) for their pulp magazine line, beginning with Volume 2, Number 6 of Black Hood Detective. The magazine was re-titled later as Hooded Detective, Volume 3 Number 1 in November 1941, with a second story, titled "The Corpse Came C.O.D." A third story, "The Whispering Eye," was published in January 1942. And though the character would have a continued life in the comics, the pulp series would end with the third story."

The Black Moon. The Black Moon appeared in Bullseye in the 1930s. The Moon was actually a famous cafe on the Paris Boulevard. To quote Len Wormull:
Visitors came not to relate their experiences but to listen to the strange tales of Emil Lupin, once the most famous and mysterious figure in all of France. Its strange owner was Madame Zola, zealous patriot and astute business-woman. How she dealt with those who would bring disrepute on her beloved France made for good reading.
The Black Sapper. The Black Sapper appeared in The Rover in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was a mysterious figure, dressed all in black, who lived in an enormous, submarine-shaped burrower, which he used to travel around the world, fighting crime and having adventures. He was even known to use his burrower to cut into the London Underground and use the tubes.

Blackshirt. Richard Verrell, daring cracksman and one of the longest running of the pulp characters, was created by Graham Montague Jeffries and debuted in New Magazine in 1923. His last appearance, 32 books later, was in 1969, an astonishing run for a pulp character. He is a Raffles-like character, respected by society members who do not know that Verrell, that well-regarded gentleman, is actually the dreaded Blackshirt.

His beginnings were mean. He was found wandering the streets of London as a child, his biological parents unknown. He was adopted by a pair of drunken thieves who teach him their tricks and force him to steal so they can drink. (They beat him when sober) The pair are killed in an accident, leaving Verrell to fend for himself. He educates himself, makes a new personality for himself, begins writing at 22, then enters the armed services during the War and becomes a decorated hero. After the Armistice he returns to London and writes his first novel, which is immediately popular and leaves him well-regarded by society and the intelligentsia. Nine months after the Armistice Blackshirt appears. He is called Blackshirt because of his outfit: black from head to toe, from shoes to gloves to the mask that hides his face. He steals and steals and steals, but is scrupulous never to carry a gun--it wouldn't do, don't you know, and his crimes are planned and executed skillfully enough that he doesn't need to carry one.

Verrell did this out of love for excitement, not from monetary need. His novel was making him rich, and he wrote sentimental stories for the popular magazines and sells them. Verrell "adored every moment when he was engaged in his nefarious enterprises." He is successful for a short while, totally uncaught and unsuspected by the police, but then he gets a phone call, threatening him with exposure unless he begins following directions. The caller is a woman, of course, and the set-up familiar to those of who who read my Gray Seal entry. She knows everything about him, and so there is no alternative for him but to follow her directions.

He does, of course, and steals many things for the woman on the phone, eventually discovering that the woman is Bobbie Allen, one of the targets the voice told him to go after. Oddly, Verrell has fallen in love with Bobbie before he discovers who she is, and so, having already agreed to marry her, he disposes of the Blackshirt identity.

Such things never last, and he returns to a life of crime following a train accident which gives him amnesia. Bobbie lives through the accident and woos him again, finally persuading him to stop stealing. Then, as stories go by, he becomes more of a Robin Hood character; to quote one critic, "her (Bobbie's) influence changed Blackshirt from a fastidious, but still unfashionably amoral, Raffles into a romantic, right-living society Robin Hood." Eventually he and Bobbie have a son who takes up the Blackshirt identity, and so a new generation of wrong-doers learns to fear the Blackshirt.

Blackshirt, Monsieur. Monsieur Blackshirt was created by Graham Montague Jefferies and appeared in Monsieur Blackshirt (1933), The Vengeance of Monsieur Blackshirt (1935), and The Sword of Monsieur Blackshirt (1936). Monsieur Blackshirt was indeed the ancestor of Blackshirt (see above). He was French, active in the 16th century, a "gallant scallawag who is quick with his tongue & his sword & as quick to bandy words with a pretty wench" and "swaggering rogue in whose veins flows the blood of the great de Rohan & a tawny gypsy girl." He gets involved in conspiracies, duels, and battles, all of which show the Rafael Sabatini influence. [I'm working on finding out more about this character--Yr. Humble Sitemaster]

Black Star. The "hooded and caped titan of crime" was created by Johnston McCulley (1883-1958), one of the immortals of pulp fiction, and first appeared in "Rogue for a Day" in the 5 March 1916 issue of Detective Story Magazine. His stories ran in Detective through the end of 1930.

Black Star, like many another criminal mastermind of pulp fiction, does not murder. It's simply not done, don't you know. Nor does he allow his men to murder. He will not harm women. There are some things to which a proper criminal will not stoop. Theft, though...there's nothing wrong with that. Or kidnapping. Or blackmail. Or breaking and entering. Murder is about the only thing that Black Star won't do. He runs a gang that is as theft-hungry as he is.

Black Star's opponent, the odious Roger Verbeck, is an amateur detective, one of those foppish millionaires who thinks that just because they're wealthy, they can do whatever they damn well please. Verbeck is assisted by former thug Muggs, who was saved from suicide by Verbeck and therefore pledged his service to him. They oppose Black Star at every turn, being captured by him (and plastered with black stars) and capturing him, more often being left behind as Black Star et al escape, to loot ballrooms and buildings and cities yet again, leaving mocking laughter in his wake.

Black Star wears black robes and a black hood. On the face of the hood is a "star of blazing jet." Beneath the hood, just to make sure, Black Star is masked. Black Star's gang is likewise clothed in black. In personality...well, he always keeps his word, and is vigorous in the defense of his reputation, but isn't particularly well defined beyond that. He calls himself "a genuine criminal" and is rather proud of that fact. He's a handsome man of roughly 45, from an undistinguished background, not known to the bourgeoisie. He and his men use "vapor bombs" and "vapor guns," which instantaneously knock out its victims.

Blake, Andy. Andy Blake appeared in the five-volume "Andy Blake" series, which were written by Edward Edson Lee and appeared from 1928 through 1930, beginning with Andy Blake. Andy was an industrious young entrepreneur who grew increasingly rich from book to book, working as he did in advertising, in his airplane, the Comet Coaster, and looking for gold and helping erect profitable buildings.

Blake, Bobby. Bobby Blake was created by "Frank Warner," a Stratemeyer Syndicate house name, and appeared in the "Bobby Blake Series," which ran for 12 books from 1915 to 1926, starting with Bobby Blake at Rockledge School, or Winning the medal of honor (1915) Blake had various adventures in the West and abroad, but I've been unable to discover anything else about this character. (Lack of access to the books and all)

Blake, Sir James. Sir James Blake was created by William Buchanan and Basil Dickey and appeared in Blake of Scotland Yard (1937), a 15-part serial. Blake is a Bulldog Drummond-like character, a two-fisted patriot and former inspector of Scotland Yard who has become an independently wealthy investigator and fighter for the U.K. He develops a death ray to use against criminals, but Count Basil Zegelloff, a munitions dealer, finds out about the ray and hires the Scorpion, an internationally-infamous thief, to steal the ray. After various vigorous adventures, fights, and encounters, Blake arrests Zegelloff and the Scorpion.

Blake, Reginald. Dr. Reginald Blake was created by David Douglas and appeared in People's in 1917. Dr. Blake, a very smart man in his late twenties, is both a medical doctor (and a damned good one) and a believer in spiritualism. He solves crimes both with his intelligence and with his great intuition, the source of which comes from, he claims, the "nearness of the spiritual to the natural world." He shares a medical practice with his younger brother Dick, working in their main office in fashionable uptown San Francisco and in a clinic for the poor in the Tenderloin. Blake is not physically fit, however; he is small and fragile, with an oversized head set awkwardly atop a teenager's body. His best friend, Blunderstone, is the series' narrator.

Blake, Sexton. See The Sexton Blake Page.

Blake, Steve. Steve Blake was created by J.A. Fitzgerald and appeared in Top-Notch Magazine in 1913. He was a traveling salesman for Hinkle and Company who outwits other salesman (who are inevitably bad men and criminals) and makes money for Hinkle & Co.

Blake, Vincent. Vincent Blake was created by W.W. Cook and appeared in Blue Book Magazine in 1911 and 1912. Blake is the greatest industrial magnate of the world of 2050, a place of advanced science, with one-pill germicides, thought-reading psychographs, radium motors, and solar-powered airships. The world is divided into the Quadruple Alliance and the Federated States, with the Federated States consisting of the countries of Central and South America and the Quadruple Alliance including the United States, Great Britain, Europe, and Japan. Blake was already changed the world by blowing up the Aleutian Islands and thereby letting the "Japan Current" into the north, which has altered the climate of the Arctic, but that is not enough for Blake. He wants to "stabilize the axis of the world" by  setting of a large series of powerful explosives near the North Pole. This will, Blake believes, create a more even climate across the world. Unfortunately, the Federated States are against this idea, because the climate of Central America (they believe) will become worse. Blake plans to push ahead anyhow, and the Federated States try to stop him. Blake gets involved in various adventures trying to achieve his goal, including dodging the dreaded assassin El Cid and his electric rifle, stopping his beautiful fianceé Arlie Fortescue from being kidnaped, stopping the theft of his plans by a submarine-airship, what seems to be a threat from Martians (who, interestingly, warn they will use apergy to destroy Earth, but as it turns out are actually friendly towards Earth and to Blake), and being trapped and murdered.

Blane, Torchy. Torchy Blane was created by Frederick Nebel, more or less, and appeared in nine films beginning in 1936. Blane had originally been Kennedy (see the Captain MacBride entry) before Hollywood changed Kennedy into Blane, a “sassy, sexy wisecracking newswoman.”

Blayne, Katie. Katie Blayne, created by Whitman Chambers, appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly in the mid-1930s. She was a female reporter known as "The Duchess" who investigated crimes arising from her articles. She was attractive, aggressive, and involved with a reporter for a rival newspaper. She was known as being able to "produce hunches faster than a cigarette machine turns out coffin nails."

Blood, Peter.See Captain Blood.

Blue, Detective. See the Detective Black entry above.

Blue Jean Billy. Blue Jean Billy Race, the "highway woman of the sea," was the creation of Charles W. Tyler, a fireman, magazine writer, and draftsman, and creator of Big-Nose Charlie; Billy appeared in Detective Story Magazine beginning in "Raggedy Ann" on March 26, 1918, and running through 1931, with two collections being published in 1925 and 1926. Blue Jean Billy is named for three things: Blue for the ocean, Jean for the "gracious gift of God," and Billy for her father, William J. "Quality Bill" Race. Quality Bill, years before, was erroneously arrested by the police and worked over by the police. The Third Degree treatment, unfortunately, crippled him and turned him against both the police and society in general. Quality Bill raised Billy to hate society and its hypocrites and hypocrisies, and when he died he left her a brick house, city unspecified, and a shanty on a sand spit far out on the Atlantic.

Billy is a thief and a pirate, stealing aboard ships to rob the owners and passengers at gunpoint and then slipping over the side and disappearing into the night. She's not just a thief, though; she's a thief taking revenge on the evil rich, those liars and cheats who rob from and swindle the poor.

Her story, like a few other pulp characters' (the Lone Wolf, for example), has a definite beginning and middle, and more-or-less an ending. Across the stories, this is what happens: She robs a yacht full of wealthy scum and then uses the proceeds to invest in a new boat, the Nix's Mate, and in buying a society gambling house. Once the house is full of wealthy gamblers, she and her father's friend, the Shanghai Kid, rob the entire crowd and get away through a tunnel, evading the police. Unfortunately a group of gangsters, some of whom were robbed in the gambling house, pursue her and sink her boat and kill the Shanghai Kid. A noted detective, Robert Wood, pursues her, but crooks tie the pair of them up, leading to a big firefight. The crooks die (Billy hasn’t killed yet, though; she brandishes her automatic on a regular basis but won’t kill with it) and Billy and Crook marry, with Billy vowing to reform.

Unfortunately for the pair, there are more complications to come. After three years Robert drowns and Billy, harassed by a brutal “human bloodhound” as she’s trying to revive Robert, goes back into crime. And away she goes again, with more piracy and such. She acquires a guardian in the figure of one of her father’s old friends, Lobster Joe, but he ends up murdered. Her shanty is invaded by crooks, but they are dealt with. She renames herself Arlin Shores and retires to a peaceful existence. This ends a year later, when she reveals herself while saving some teenagers from gangsters, with more crime following. And then…well, things just sort of trail away.

Billy is a short, buxom, beautiful woman:

Her hair was a wavy chestnut...there was the flush of a healthy tan on her face and consequent faint border lines on her throat and forearm...her eyes were gray, and they could be very soft or very hard in a shifting flash; her body was strong and lithe, every move gave hint of steely muscles, of perfect synchronism; each movement was timed and there was no lost motion...One thing was stamped on her. She was bred to the great outdoors...She was about the swellest bit of feminine loveliness that had (been) seen in a long time....
Bolton, Bill. Bill Bolton was created by Noel Sainsbury, Jr. and appeared in the four-volume "Bill Bolton, Navy Aviator" series, which appeared in 1933 and began with Bill Bolton, Flying Midshipman. Bill had various adventures with the U.S. Navy.

Bolton, Judy. Very much in the mold of the Nancy Drew style girl detective, Judy Bolton was created by Margaret Sutton, a real person (i.e., not a Stratemeyer Syndicate pseudonym) and debuted in The Vanishing Shadow (1932), appearing in 38 novels through 1967. Judy is squarely in the middle class, attending a public high school in the Midwestern town of Farringdon. She is 18 years old, a senior in high school, from a traditional family (i.e., father works, mother takes care of the house). Judy's brother is Horace, a newspaper reporter who often helped her solve mysteries. Judy's best pal is Irene Lang, who is the sister of Peter Dobbs; Peter is Judy's boyfriend, and he actually kisses her, something unheard of in the Stratemeyer Syndicate books. (Peter ends up marrying Judy far, far down the road) Peter's rival for Judy's affection is Arthur Farringdon-Pett, a rich kid who is sometimes used by Judy to help solve mysteries. (He's got a plane and car and she can use those) Besides those crooks she helped catch, Judy was often opposed by the snooty Kay Vincent.

The Judy Bolton Books
A short Who's Who and bibliography

Bomba the Jungle Boy. Bomba was created by Howard A. Garis and debuted in Bomba the Jungle Boy (1926), lasting through 20 more novels into 1938 and in 11 films, from 1949 through 1955. Bomba was a fourteen-year-old boy who had been found in the jungles of Brazil, in the upper Amazon, by Cody Casson, an aging, possibly demented naturalist and botanist. Cody taught Bomba English and helped raise him, but he fell prey to an amnesia-causing fever, leaving Bomba to search for his parents (who he found after ten novels--they were the Bartows, a famous painter and opera singer pair). Bomba was in most ways a Tarzan copy, albeit one far more successful than the Ka-Zars and Polaris Janesses of the fictional world. Bomba was a handsome white boy, bronzed and well-muscled and an ace at Tarzan-type tasks, from swinging through the jungle on vines to shooting arrows to cozying up to the local tribe, the Araos. Naturally, Bomba had his savage side, and thought nothing of killing pumas, snakes, and jaguars. He could also communicate with the animals, especially the apes which somehow lived near him, despite the fact that the simians in Brazil were much smaller than the simians of Africa. Bomba's animal pals were Kiki and Woowoo, two parrots, Doto the monkey, and Polulu the puma. Bomba's arch-enemy was Nascarora, chief of the local tribe of head hunters.

A very nice collection of dustwrappers

Bomba Books and Comics
A concise summary of Bomba's bibliography

Bonaparte, Napoleon. Inspector Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte was created by Arthur W. Upfield and appeared in at least two dozen novels beginning with The Barrakee Mystery (1928). Bonaparte is a “half-caste” Australian—that is, he is half white and half Native Australian—who was found at the age of two weeks next to his dead mother and was brought to a nearby mission. He was raised at the mission school and educated at Brisbane University, and from there joined the Queensland Police Department. His intelligence and skill as a detective led him to rise quickly to the rank of Inspector. He is the product of two worlds, which manifest themselves equally in him. From his white father he gets his strong powers of reasoning. From his Native mother he gets…well…keep in mind that these were written decades ago…from his Native mother he gets his innate ability to read the “book of the bush.” (Essentially, because he’s half-Native, he is a tracker without peer and has all sorts of unusual and even uncanny abilities in “the bush.”) Although he is quite vain, he can also be very charming. He is lithe and handsome, with brown skin and blue eyes, and is married to Marie, another half-white half-Native.

Napoleon Bonaparte
A fair-handed review of the character. From MysteryGuide.com.

Bonichi, Ascanio. Ascanio Bonichi was created by the Italian writer Alessandro Varaldo and appeared in eight novels between 1932 and 1941, beginning with Le Scarpette Rosse (The Red Slippers). Varaldo is generally regarded as the first Italian "writer of quality" to produce a detective novel, with Bonichi therefore being the first respectable Italian detective character. Bonichi is a Maigret-like police detective, although I don't believe Simenon was an influence (at least for the first novel) on Varaldo's work.

Bonner, Dol. Theodolinda "Dol" Bonner was created by Rex Stout and appeared in various Nero Wolfe mysteries as well as three novels of her own, beginning with The Hand In The Glove (1937). She is a tough p.i. who is the head of her own agency.

Border Boys. The Border Boys were created by Charles H. Goldfrap and appeared in the six-book "Border Boys" series, which ran from 1911-1914 and began with Border Boys on the Trail. The Boys fought crime and had adventures along various parts of the U.S. border, whether with the Texas Rangers along the Mexican border or with Customs along the Canadian border or with the Mounties along the St. Lawrence.

Boston Betty.  Boston Betty was created by Anna Alice Chaplin, a regular writer of detective fiction (she specialized in sentimental crooked heroine stories), and appeared in Detective Story Magazine in 1918.

Boston Betty is a crook, and a relatively good one, although her policeman opponent, old slow and fat Detective Daniel Lonsdell, is hardly the brightest bulb in the lamp. She is bright and attractive, a “dark, calm-faced young woman, with a fine air of self-possession, but a most winning smile on occasion.” She has been, variously, a pick-pocket, shoplifter, mail robber, forger, and thief. She has also been “Elizabeth Buxter,” “Aggie Pelton,” and “Mary Beale,” also variously. She leaves white cards behind at the scenes of crimes, with her named signed at the bottom and her address provided. This address is a boarding house run by her mother, who helps her accumulate the stolen wealth. Betty is not particularly witty, but she does have, as one critic put it, a certain “rude pertness.”

Boston Blackie. Boston Blackie was created by Jack Boyle in "The Price of Principle," in The American Magazine in 1914. In that story, though, "Boston Black" is just another career criminal in a bad prison. But in a series of silent films, starting in 1919 with Boston Blackie's Little Pal, he became a professional thief with a heart of gold, one of many, similar characters. Then he began appearing in a series of films in the early 1940s, and in radio from 1945 to 1950. The revised Boston Blackie is, as mentioned, a professional thief, but not one interested in profit. He is, in his own words, a "combatant," fighting against both criminals, a corrupt society, and the vagaries of Fate. He robs from the rich and gives to the poor; in one story he helps children who lost everything in the San Francisco earthquake (Blackie operates out of San Francisco), and in another he gives to a widow whose husband died in the Great War. He is an educated gentleman, respected by society, an older, grey-haired man with a stern face. He is married to his "best loved pal and sole confidant" Mary, to whom he is devoted. His police nemesis is Inspector Faraday, who Blackie takes great pleasure in humiliating.

Boston Blackie
Boston Blackie's entry on the Thrilling Detective site.

Botak. Botak appeared in "The Orange Lantern," a radio serial running from 1932 to 1933. Little is known about the "Orange Lantern." Botak was an adventurer and soldier of fortune from Java who fought a Fu Manchu-like crimelord named the Orange Lantern.

Bowery Billy. Bowery Billy was created by John Conway and appeared in Bowery Boy Weekly in 1904 and 1905. He was a "boot black boy detective." To quote Bowery Boy Weekly's publisher, Billy was

an adventurous little street Arab, whose career in the midst of the whirlpools and slums of a great city brings him in daily contact with such a variety of mysteries and puzzles waiting to be solved, that he just naturally falls into the way of acting the part of a young sleuth, and takes the keenest delight in mixing up with trouble, such as can always be found in the neighborhood of the once famous Bowery--a lad keen and shrewd as they make them, bold of heart, and ready at all times to take chances for a friend.
He s assisted by Louis "Lulu" Drexel, his best friend, and by Jake, the beat cop in the Bowery.

Boxcar Children. The Boxcar Children, Jesssie, Benny, Henry and Violet, were created by Gertrude Warner and appeared in the "Boxcar Children" series, which ran for nineteen books beginning with The Boxcar Children (1924). The Children were four orphans who made house in an abandoned boxcar and began having adventures and solving mysteries, all without the slightest bit of adult supervision or parental control.

Boy Adventurers. The Boy Adventurers were created by A. Hyatt Verrill and appeared in the four-book "Boy Adventurers" series, which ran from 1922-1924 and began with The Boy Adventurers in the Forbidden Land. The Boy Adventurers (wish I knew their names) traveled around the world, going to Tibet, finding El Dorado in Mexico, and going to the "Land of the Monkey Men."

Boy Allies. The Allies books were the creation of the A.L. Burt group and were published under the pen-names of "Ensign Robert L. Drake" and "Clair W. Hayes." There were at least 40 of the books published, ranging from 1915 to 1922. There were actually two groups of Boy Allies, one on land, fighting with whatever allied army would have them against the beastly Huns, and one at sea, serving the British and American Navies. The Allies on land had a busy, busy time of it, moving from the Marne to the Carpathians, where they fought alongside the Cossacks, to the Aisne, to the Alps, to the Somme, Verdun, Vimy Ridge, Chateau-Thierry, and ending up the war as aides to Marshal Foch. The Allies at sea, Frank Chadwick and Jack Templeton, saw service at Jutland, in the North Sea and Baltic. Frank was separated by his father in Italy, and Jack was an orphan, and they were both shanghaied on board an Italian schooner. They took it over and began fighting against the Huns, destroying whole squadrons and upgrading their own ship considerably. They had a number of ships sunk out from under them but always prevailed, even against enemy saboteurs. They also managed to get involved in submarine warfare (with the British Navy's D-17 supersubmarine) and in bombing German civilians.

Boy Aviators. The Aviators were created by Captain Wilbur Lawton and appeared in the "Boy Aviators Series," which ran for five years, beginning with The Boy Aviators in Nicaragua, or, In league with the Insurgents and continuing for nine novels. The Boys were Frank and Harry Chester, a pair of stalwart White Christian Warriors (you know the type) who used technologically-advanced aircraft (created, I think, by a genius inventor uncle of theirs) to travel around the world and have the usual aviator adventures. They hunted for ivory in the elephants' graveyard in Africa; they were blown into the Sargasso Sea during an air race, where they found the manned ships of dozens of countries from every era, including the macabre Rat Ship; they fought the advanced planes of the Hun in the skies over Battlefield Europe; they went to the Antarctic on a U.S. Polar Expedition Ship, the Southern Cross, and fought their way through "Japanese Manchurian" soldiers to find a frozen Viking ship (far off course) and a group of ferocious creatures living in a volcanic lake; they uncovered a "golden galleon" of sunken Spanish treasure; they worked with the American Secret Service; and they helped a group of rebels in Nicaragua.

Boy Chums. The Boy Chums were created by J. Walton Davis and appeared in the "Boy Chums" series, which ran from 1905-1916 for eight novels and began with The Boy Chums on Indian River or the Boy Partners of the Schooner 'Orphan.' The Chums, Charlie West and Walter Hazard, had adventures around the world, from the Bahamas to Florida to the Gulf of Mexico, fighting evil Mexicans, Greek spongers, evil Seminoles, smugglers, and the like.

Boyd, Felix. Felix Boyd was created by “Scott Campbell,” the pen name of Frederick W. Davis, and debuted in the February 1904 issue of The Popular Magazine, appearing through 1908 and appearing in five collections. (At least one of his stories was reprinted in New Nick Carter Weekly #791-792, 24 Feb-2 Mar 1912; this fact does not appear in any of the reference works I've seen so far.) Boyd was, in many ways, a Holmes copy, from his looks to his abilities to his approach. But Boyd, appearing when he did, was equally influenced by Nick Carter—indeed, one critic has called him “half Sherlock Holmes and half Nick Carter.” Boyd has most of what Holmes has, but in his approach to action he is very much like Carter, down to his fighting ability. Boyd carries two revolvers and shows no compunctions about using them. Boyd’s enemies, too, are far more like Carter’s—street-level thugs, vicious murderers, and amoral blackmailers—than like Holmes’. Boyd’s Moriarty is the Big Finger, an “obscure genius of crime,” who clashes with Boyd for twenty-four stories before finally going down to defeat. Boyd mostly stuck to New York City, though on occasion he went overseas, to Turkey, London and France, among others. Boyd is Watsoned by police detective Jimmy Coleman.

I found a little more information on Boyd. In the New York City of the time Inspector Byrnes (see various notes on him in the Detective section of my Fantastic Victoriana site) had established the "Deadline," which was the line on the North side of Fulton Street. Any known criminals found south of the deadline would be arrested on sight. Felix Boyd was a "one-man private consulting detective whose clients--bankers, stock brokers, jewelers--contracted with him for protection against the Forces of Crime that roamed south of the Deadline...in spite of Inspector Byrnes." The Big Finger's gangs operate secretly south of the Deadline. The Finger himself is "a man of power, of vast criminal resources, a man to be feared, and a man whose misdirected genius one cannot but respect." Boyd's Watson is Detective Jimmy Coleman of the NYPD. After finally breaking up the Big Finger's operations Boyd begins roaming across NYC, solving crimes and fighting criminals both domestic and international, such as Karl Sleuger, a cruel Arsene Lupin-alike. Eventually Boyd begins traveling the world, going to London and then to Turkey to defeat an evil sultan.

Boy Explorers. The Boy Explorers were created by Warren Hastings Miller and appeared in the five-book "Boy Explorers" series, which ran from 1921-1926 and began with The Boy Explorers in Darkest New Guinea. The Boy Explorers were teen adventurers and explorers who went to New Guina, Borneo, Sumatra (where they hunted the "Ape-Man of Sumatra"), Burma (hunting tigers),and the "Pirate Archipelago."

Boy Fortune Hunters. The Fortune Hunters, who consisted of Sam Steele and his friends, were created by "Floyd Akers," aka L. Frank Baum, and appeared in the six-book "Boy Fortune Hunters Series," which ran from 1908 to 1911 and began with The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska. The Boy Fortune Hunters were...well...boy fortune hunters who went glory- and profit-seeking (successfully, of course), in the Yukon, in Egypt (looking for lost pyramids), in Panama (finding Aztec cities) (Aztecs in Panama? Just don't even ask), in China, in the Yucatan (finding Mayan gold), and in the South Seas (finding shipwrecks).

Boy Globe Trotters. The Boy Globe Trotters were created by Elbert Fisher and appeared in the four-book "Boy Globe Trotters" series, which appeared in 1915 and began with The Boy Globe Trotters - From N.Y. to the Golden Gate. The Trotters went across the US, from San Francisco to Tokyo, from Tokyo to Bombay, and from Bombay to the battlefields of Europe.

Boy Inventors. The Inventors (whose individual names I haven't been able to discover) were created by Richard Bonner and appeared in the six book "Boy Inventors Series," beginning with The Boy Inventors' Wireless Telegraph (1912) and running through 1915. The Inventors create wonderful inventions and fight against evil and crime; among the things they come up with are a "flying road-racer," a "missile-tank," an electricity-powered biplane, a "diving torpedo boat," and a "radio telephone."

Boy Ranchers. The Boy Ranchers were created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and appeared in the nine-book "Boy Ranchers" series, which ran from 1921-1930 and began with The Boy Ranchers or Solving the Mystery at Diamond X. The Boy Ranchers parents worked at the Diamond X Ranch, but their adventures took them far afield, pursuing cattle rustlers on the trail, fighting evil Yaquis among the Apache, fighting evil sheep herders (evil sheep herders?), finding lost mines, fighting evil Chinese smugglers, solving a poisoning mystery, and exploring "Terror Canyon."

Boy Scouts (I). This group (whose individual names I haven't been able to discover) were created by Rupert Sargent Holland and appeared in the "Boy Scout Series," beginning with The Boy Scouts of Birchbark Island (1911) and running through 1915. They had what you might expect: character-building adventures in which good triumphed over very small-scale evil, or nature was defeated by the forces of white civilization.

Boy Scouts (II). This group (whose individual names I haven't been able to discover) were created by James Otis and appeared in the six-volume "Boy Scout Series," beginning with Boy Scouts in the Maine Woods (1911) and running through 1914. The Scouts fight crime and are white Christian warriors in places like Maine, Minnesota, Lake Champlain, Panama, Mississippi, and the Rockies.

Boy Spies. The Boy Spies were created by James Otis Kaler and appeared in the twelve-book "Boy Spies" series, which ran from 1898 through 1910 and began with...er...well, the series' publication history is somewhat confused. The first one published as a series by A.L. Burt was The Boy Spies at the Battle of New Orleans. The Boy Spies were active for the Americans during the Revolutionary War, ranging across the US from Bunker Hill to Detroit and even as far South as the stomping grounds of the Swamp Fox.

Boy Troopers. The Boy Troopers were created by Clair W. Hayes and appeared in the four-book "Boy Troopers" series, which appeared in 1922 and began with The Boy Troopers on the Trail. The Boy Troopers were teenagers working with the Pennsylvania State Police, in the northwest part of the state, on strike duty (BOOO!), and "among the wild mountaineers" of West Virginia.

Boy Volunteers. The Boy Volunteers were created by Kenneth Ward and appeared in the five-book "Boy Volunteers" series, which appeared in 1917 and began with The Boy Volunteers on the Belgian Front. The Volunteers were active fighting against the Germans, in Belgian with the troops, with French airmen, British artillerymen, with the submarine fleet, and with the American Infantry.

Brace, Reverend Bryson. The Reverend Bryson Brace was created by Ellis Parker and appearing in various stories in Detective Story Magazine from 1917 to 1918. Brace is a minister in a small town who solves various crimes. The stories aren't very good, and Brace is not very interesting.

Bradford, Brick. One of the classic adventure comic strips, Brick Bradford was created by veteran reporter and neophyte cartoonist William Ritt, and drawn by Clarence Gray, one of the great cartoonists of the 1930s. It began on 21 August 1933 and ran all the way through 1987. Brick Bradford was originally a Kentuckian adventurer and troubleshooter for the world's foremost scientists--"aviator, explorer, soldier, costumed avenger, confidante of physicists, gentleman sleuth, and sometimes even a cowboy"--who ranged the world in search of adventure and buried treasure. He had a wide range of fantasy-tinged adventures, discovering underwater cities deep beneath Andean lakes and fighting a sect of assassins trying to take over the world. In 1934 Ritt and Gray stepped up matters, and Brick’s adventures went into full-bore science fantasy mode, with Brick discovering futuristic cities, lost cities, lost peoples, lost dinosaurs, lost princesses, and just about everything else it was possible to find. Not much later Ritt and Gray created a companion strip, The Time Top, and although the strip lasted for less than a year the eponymous creation, a “chronosphere,” was brought into Brick Bradford by Ritt and Gray and given to Brick, who used it to travel in time from the dawn of life on Earth to the end of time and to all points in between, with Brick fighting his way through the highest of high tech and the most barbaric of primitive societies. Brick saved the world from a gang of submarine pirates, fought Vikings in the Arctic, stopped a Mongol invasion of America, fought bacteria while at subatomic size (thanks to the "Shrinking Sphere" that Brick got from the scientist Kalla Kopek), fought desert raiders with the French Foreign Legion, stopped a mad scientist's robot army, and test-piloted an experimental airplane into a lost world of dinosaur-riding warriors at the South Pole. (It was as fun as it sounds) Although Brick had no real sidekicks, on occasion he was assisted by the scientists Kalla Kopak and Horatio Southern, in several stories he was helped by his friend, the brash Bucko O'Brien, and sometimes he was accompanied by June Salisbury, the stalwart daughter of another scientist. Brick had many another love interest besides June, though, picking them up and dropping them in every location he journeyed to.

Brick Bradford
The image of one of his Little, Big books.

Bradley, Adela. Adela Beatrice Lestrange Bradley was created by Gladys Mitchell and appeared in several dozen novels, beginning with Speedy Death (1929) and continuing through 1985. Adela was a consulting psychiatrist to the British Home Office. Naturally, this brings her in the way of any number of mysteries and crimes, from blackmail to murder to espionage.

Bradley, Billie. Billie Bradley was created by Janet D. Wheeler, a possible pseudonym for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, and appeared in the "Billie Bradley" series, which ran for nine books beginning with Billie Bradley and Her Inheritance; or, The Queer Homestead at Cherry Corners. Billie was a spunky young heiress who solved crimes around the Midwest, had various mild adventures, and competed at high school sports.

Bradley, Chester. Chester Bradley was created by George M. Cain and appeared in several stories in People's Ideal Fiction Magazine in 1911. Bradley, a well-meaning young man, inherits the Peltzheim Chemical Works from his college instructor Professor Peltzheim. While going through the professor's effects he discovers four bottles, which are solutions that the professor had invented. When imbibed or inhaled, the formulas have the following effects: poison, exhilaration, sleepiness, or loquacity. Through the rest of the stories Bradley uses the various serums to reveal a criminal impostor, get himself a girlfriend, help a henpecked judge, and get useless stock tips from the financier "John D. Morgenfehler."

Bradley, Phil. Phil Bradley was created by Silas K. Boone and appeared in the six-book "Phil Bradley Series," also known as the "Mountain Boys Series," which began with Phil Bradley's Mountain Boys, or, The Birch Bark Lodge (1915) and continued through 1917. As far as I've been able to find out, Phil and his friends had various adventures in "the Mountains." I don't know the names of his friends or which mountains they were in, although I do know they were involved in a car race in one book.

Bradley, Typhoon. Created by Albert Richard Wetjen and appearing in Action Stories starting in 1928, Typhoon Bradley was essentially a  Hurricane Williams clone. He was tall and hard and fast with his gun. Interestingly, his fictional universe was also shared with Wetjen’s  Shark Gotch. The two characters appeared in at least one story together, “The Vengeance of the Shark,” and secondary characters from each character’s stories appeared in the other’s stories. Bradley was a gun for hire in the South Seas, helping to rein in a Pacific Wild West, taking on pirates, pearl thieves, crazed “Chinamen,” sharks, and all manner of other exciting things. Most of all, Bradley fought “Gentleman Harry,” his amoral and ruthless opposite. Unlike Gotch, Bradley never did settle accounts with Harry.

Brand, Victor. Thanks to Michael Holmes I can tell you that Victor Brand was created by A. Donnelly Aitken and appeared in the British comic Merry and Bright from 1911 to 1916. Victor Brand was the "famous sleuth of London" (and, I suspect, a Sherlock Holmes homage, although not having actually read about Brand I couldn't tell you that for a certainty). He lived in London and when not active lounged around his flat wearing a fur-lined dressing gown and smoking a long cigar. Apart from being a celebrated detective, he was most notable for his menagerie of pets; he had a canary, a cockatoo, a brown owl, a black cat, and Jacko the Detective. Brand was actually capable of communicating with all of them, and he made use of them in the course of his investigations, having them break into houses and capture criminals and the like. He also used Jacko as his chauffeur. Victor eventually married and seemingly retired.

Brane, Major Copley. Major Copley Brane was created by Erle Stanley Garnder and appeared in Argosy starting in June 1931. Brane, an "International Adventurer," was active in China, fighting against the Japanese and for freedom and profit. He was variously arrested for being a spy (not guilty), chased after as a profiteer (guilty), caught in a typhoon off of Macau, and repeatedly assaulted by criminals of all races. Of course, Brane gave much better than he got, taking on evil Japanese soldiers, Chinese river pirates, amoral gwei-lo adventurers, and all other types, and emerging in much better condition than his enemies.

Brannigan, Charles "One Eye." One Eye Brannigan was created by Stewart Robinson and appeared in stories in Popular Magazine starting with "Mr. Brannigan Stubs His Toe," in the 5 May 1928 issue. Brannigan is a tall, thin, aristocratically dressed man with graying hair, "sensitive hands," ideal manners, and sporting a monocle (hence his name). Naturally, with all these skills, he'd either be a diplomat or a con man. Brannigan chooses the latter profession. However, he's not, when it comes down to it, very good at the con game, and he inevitably chooses the wrong person to either swindle or trust, and ends up minus his loot and more money besides.

Brant, Ned. Ned Brant was created by Bob Zupke and appeared in an eponymous comic strip. He is a stand-out athlete for Carter University and their star football player.

Brewster, Polly. Polly Brewster was created by Lillian Elizabeth Roy and appeared in sixteen novels, beginning with Polly of Pebbly Pit (1922). Polly and her best friend Eleanor have adventures around the world, from Alaska to Brazil to China, fighting crime, learning to fly, and helping people.

Brigand. The Brigand was created by Edgar Wallace, creator of the Four Just Men, and appeared in The Brigand (1927). The Brigand is Anthony Newton, a World War One veteran and former lieutenant of the Machine Gun Corps left out of work in London. Twenty-six, he’d been a soldier for ten years, and now had no way of supporting himself. He is evicted from his room for lack of rent and is forced to con a lunch out of a swank hotel. Anthony is suave, handsome, well-dressed and very, very smooth, and so a con man tries to swindle him out of money. Anthony turns the tables and takes the con man for over a thousand, walking away smiling. From that point forward Anthony began preying on the dishonest, taking money from those who got it crookedly. He is assisted in this by Big Bill Farrel, Anthony’s friend from the war and a big, slow, reliable man quite willing to help him in any swindle. After several successes the Brigand persuade a group of young, out of work veterans to help him; former officers all, they respond eagerly to Anthony’s speech about how it is their duty, as “soldiers of considerable merit and valor,” to rob “the enemies of honest finance and lawful behavior.” Eventually the Brigand, wealthy from his labors, meets and marries the perfect girl for him, after rescuing her from a bigamist (shock, horror!).

Bright, Bud. Bud Bright was created by A. Van Buren Powell and appeared in the five-book "Bud Bright" series, which began with Bud Bright, Boy Detective (1929). Bud was indeed a boy detective, taking on bank robbers, kidnappers, drug pushers, and counterfeiters.

Brighton Boys. The Brighton Boys were created by Scott Francis Aaron and appeared in the eleven-book "Brighton Boys" series. The Boys were active with all aspect of the U.S. Military, from the Army to the Air Force to the Navy to the Submarine Corps.

British Story Paper Detectives. The British Story Papers were a fairly broad category of magazine, with a good range of genres published. In these story papers a number of characters appeared. Some of them, like Sexton Blake and Nelson Lee, I've created sites for,  because they're interesting enough and because I have enough information on them. Others, like Jax Keen and Ferrers Locke, I've made entries for on this site, because they aren't necessarily as interesting as some of the other characters here and (much more importantly) because I only have a little bit of information on them.

And then there are the following characters, about who I know next to nothing at all. I'd love any information about them, if you would like to send it to me. Until that time comes, or until I can afford to either travel to England and read the originals, the following is all the information I have about these characters. Many of them were lightly-veiled Sherlock Holmes/Sexton Blake/Nelson Lee clones. Most followed the Holmes/Blake/Lee pattern of two syllables in the first name and one syllable in the last name. Many had a youthful assistant, along the lines of Blake's Tinker and Lee's Nipper.

Carfax Baines. Baines was created by William Murray Graydon and appeared in various Henderson Publications as well as the Nelson Lee Library, from at least 1899.

The Big Stiff. The Big Stiff, aka Jim Ransom, appeared in Wizard. He was a Scotland Yard detective.

Curtis Carr. Carr was created by Earle Danesford and appeared in Champion.

Howard Clifton. Clifton was created by Escott Lynn and appeared in True Blue.

Gripton Court. Gripton Court appeared in Sparks.

Joe Dale. Joe Dale, creator and writers unknown, appeared in Pluck.

Martin Dale. Martin Dale, created by Maxwell Scott (the creator of Nelson Lee), appeared in Chums.

Scarlett Dangerfield. Scarlett Dangerfield, creator and writers unknown, appeared in Boys' Friend.

Stanley Dare. Stanley Dare, the "boy detective," was created by Alec G. Pearson and appeared in Pluck, Halfpenny Marvel, and Champion.

Trimley Dare. Trimley (Trimley?) appeared in Champion.

John Daunt. Daunt was a Scotland Yard detective who appeared in Boys' Friend.

Raymond Dexter. Dexter was created by Donald Dane and appeared in Champion Library in the 1930s.

Frank Dudley. Dudley was created by Alfred Barnard and appeared in Halfpenny Marvel.

Farringdon. Farrington appeared in Jack's Paper.

Frank Ferrett. Ferrett was created by Alec G. Pearson and appeared in Halfpenny Marvel, among other magazines.

Peter Flint. Flint appeared in the Nugget Library. He was assisted by Jacket Nugget. (No, really. 'Jacket Nugget.')

Kenyon Ford. Ford was created by Maxwell Scott and appeared in Big Budget.

Gordon Fox. Fox was created by W. Murray Graydon and appeared in Boy's Herald.

Royston Gower. Gower was created by Alec G. Pearson and appeared in Boys' Friend, among other magazines.

Gordon Grey. Grey was created by Maxwell Scott and appeared in Detective Library.

Maxwell Grey. Grey appeared in Union Jack.

Michael Hearne. Hearne appeared in Boys' Herald.

Harold Hood. Hood appeared in Boys' Friend.

Max Hushwing. Max Hushwing, created by S.H. Agnew, appeared in Nugget Library and The Big Comic.

Norton Keen. Keen was created by Duncan Sterne and appeared for five issues in Champion Library in the 1930s. He was a Master Detective similar to Sexton Blake. His assistant, the Tinker-ish Billy Bent, was rescued by Keen from the Liverpool docks.

Randall Keene. Keene appeared in Boys' Journal.

Abel Link. Link was created by William Murray Graydon and appeared in Boys' Friend.

John Lyon. Lyon was created by Stephen Agnew and appeared in Nugget Library.

Rodney Manderson. Manderson was created by Cecil Fanshaw and appeared in Champion Library in the 1930s.

Harry Marks. Marks was created by Bracebridge Hemyng, creator of Jack Harkaway, and appeared in True Blue.

Dr. Messina. Dr. Messina was created by Alec G. Pearson and appeared in Jester and Boys' Friend.

Middleton Moore. Moore was created by Jack North and appeared in Pluck.

Dr. Nevada. Dr. Nevada was created by Alec G. Pearson and appeared in Pluck, among other places.

Nemo. Nemo was created by Phil Rayburn and appeared in The Gleam.

Ras Pagan. Pagan--I'm not making his name up, you know--was created by Julian Jackson and appeared in Halfpenny Marvel.

Martin Quest. Martin Quest, aka “Q, the Solver of Mysteries,” appeared in Champion.

Vernon Read. Read was created by Maxwell Scott and appeared in Boys' Leader and Big Budget.

Fergus Scarth. Scarth was created by Escott Lynn and appeared in True Blue.

Anthony Sharpe. Anthony Sharpe, created by Edmund Burton, appeared in The Gem in the late 1920s. He was assisted by the Nipper-like Tim O’Carroll.

George Sleath. Sleath was created by Cedric Wolfe and appeared in Halfpenny Marvel.

Paul Sleuth. Sleuth appeared in Union Jack.

John Smith. Smith was created by Mark Darran and appeared in Pluck.

Will Spearing. Spearing was created by Mark Darran and appeared in Pluck.

Martin Steele. Steele appeared in Comic Cuts. He was notable for his twelve lovely young female assistants, with a different one helping Steele solve the case and catch the criminal every week.

Shirley Steele. Steele appeared in Halfpenny Marvel.

Martin Stern. Stern appeared in Pluck.

Geoffrey Temple. Temple appeared in Fun and Fiction in 1912.

Fielding Torrance. Torrance was created by Stewart Young and appeared in Boys' Herald.

Herbert Trackett. Trackett was created by Alec G. Pearson and appeared in Boys' Friend.

Martin Trackmann. Trackmann was created by John G. Howard and appeared in Football Favourite.

Vernon Trew. Trew was created by Donovan Mart and appeared in Big Budget.

Raymond Weird. Weird was created by Edgar G. Murray, creator of Ferrers Lord, and appeared in Jester.

Darrell Yorke. Yorke was created by Arthur St. John and appeared in Vanguard.

Broncho Rider Boys. The Boys were created by Frank Fowler and appeared in the six-volume "Broncho Rider Boys Series," beginning with The Broncho Rider Boys at Keystone Ranch, or, Three Chums of the Saddle and Lariat (1914) and appearing through 1916. The Boys are Adrian Sherwood, Billie (aka Little Billie aka Bronco Billie aka William Stonewall Jackson Winkle, and with a name like that I'd be "Billie," too) and Donald Mackay, and they're a bunch of 10 to 12-year-olds who fought evil and crime and Mexican banditos (including a thinly-veiled stand-in for Pancho Villa) and Donald's old enemy, the "conceited" Clement Deering (who was "tricky, unscrupulous, and bold in attempting to gain his ends by trickery when other means failed") across the American Southwest.

Brooke, Stanley. Stanley Brooke was created by the vile E. P. Oppenheim, author of Mr. Sabin, and appeared in Munsey’s Magazine beginning in December 1913 and running through July of the following year. The Honorable Stanley Brooke evolves over the course of the series, starting as a bumbling amateur detective and eventually becoming much better at it and a character obviously under the influence of Sherlock Holmes, though far more vulnerable. Brooke is more of an action figure, able and willing to use his revolver. Brooke is also vulnerable to the attractions of Constance Robinson, a waspish young woman of some intellect and, when cleaned up and properly dressed, beauty. Brooke helps save her life and then takes her into his newly-formed detective agency, where her official position is typist but her real activity is co-detecting. At series’ end she agrees to marry him after several stories of rejecting, coldly and not so coldly, his proposals.

Brown, Vee. Vee Brown was created by Carroll John Daly, who invented the first hard-boiled detective, and appeared in Dime Detective in 1932 and in a novel, Emperor of Evil, in 1936. Brown was a private eye who was rather more violent than many of his counterparts--at least, the body count in his stories was much higher than in many p.i. stories--and who had an extremely quick draw, but who was also a writer of pop songs. Quite a successful one, too; he was known as "Master of Melodies." He lives in a lush Park Avenue penthouse and is a "small, almost delicate" man. He was a "combination of Race Williams and Philo Vance, a sort of hard-boiled fop," to quote one critic. In his novel he took on the Black Death organization, which was headed by a "human devil" who, despite successfully concealing his guilt from everyone, still goes down to Brown's guns. Brown was assisted by an old friend, Dean, who worshiped Vee.

Brown, Father. Created by G.K. Chesterton and debuting in The Storyteller on September 1910, the mild and unassuming Father Brown is a skilled and intuitive investigator who has great success in solving crimes, legal and moral, and capturing or at least seeing to the punishing of the culprits. The stories themselves are written with a high level of skill--Chesterton was a very good writer--and Brown has many attractive attributes. I'd go into more detail, as Father Brown is greatly loved by thousands of devoted fans and had an exceptionally long run, but the anti-Semitism of Father Brown, which reflects that of his creator, Chesterton, so revolts me that I don't have the stomach to give Brown any more space. It's one thing if the creator is a bigot but that his or her hatred does not affect his or her work; it is quite another matter altogether when the bigotry and hatred creeps into the work itself, as it did on a few occasions in the Father Brown stories. The ongoing refusal of Fr. Brown's fans to face this fact boggles my mind.

Bruce, Bill. Bill Bruce was created by Hap Arnold and appeared in the six book "Bill Bruce Series," which appeared in 1928, beginning with Bill Bruce and the pioneer aviators. Bruce began as a child, witnessing the early flights of the Wright Brothers. During World War One he learned how to fly and became an ace for the Allied air forces. After the war he worked for the "forest patrol" and the border patrol as well as taking part in and winning a trans-continental air race.

Bryan, Becky. Becky Bryan was created by Betty Baxter and appeared in the three-book "Becky Bryan" series, beginning with Becky Bryan's Secret (1937). Becky was the daughter of a Coast Guard Captain and had various crime- and sea-related adventures.

Bryce, Wireless. Captain John “Jack” Richard Plantagenet Bryce was created by John Anstruther and appeared in The Sunday Post from 1920 to 1921, his stories later being collected as The Iron Grip (1929). Wireless Bryce was a decorated veteran of World War One, a brave and doughty fighter and exceptional officer, but with the end of the war he is left jobless and on the streets. Rather than taking to crime, however, as the Brigand did, Bryce pawned his possessions and kept job hunting. Finally, with no hope left, he applied for a job at Hemmer and Hemmer, a law firm of some note. They have a problem: their clientele is large and varied and they are often in troubles so dire that the police and private detectives cannot help them. Bryce has a problem: he’s out of a job. And so the twain meet. In addition to his other skills, Bryce has one other advantage that helps Hemmer & Hemmer: his strength. He is almost supernaturally strong, able to casually throw prize-fighters through windows. Bryce saves various women and helps Hemmer and Hemmer, and eventually saves a Molly M’Greggor and marries her.

Bryn, Ben. Ben Bryn was created by Russell Gray and appeared in several stories in 1939 and 1940 in Dime Mystery. Bryn was a private eye who had been crippled, as a child, by polio. He’d been driven to compensate and so developed a strong upper body and a stronger mind. (He eventually exercised almost non-stop and restored his legs to normal) Bryn was one of the “defective detectives,” but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most feared p.i.s in New York State and from defeating various insane criminal masterminds.

Ben Bryn
Bryn's entry on the Thrilling Detective Page

Buckland, Coppernob. Coppernob Buckland was created by Lawrence Bourne and appeared in four novels, beginning with Coppernob Buckland (1925). Buckland was a tough, two-fisted, red-headed (hence the name "coppernob") adventurer in the South Seas who worked his way up from a lowly mate to owner of his own ship, all the while having adventures in the South Pacific.

Bunn, Smiler. Smiler Bunn was created by Bertram Atkey and appeared in a number of short stories and novels appearing from 1911 to 1940. Bunn is a light-hearted crook who swindles those who enrich themselves illegally; he "makes his living off society in a manner always devious and sometimes dark, but never mean." He is very clever and is a "condor-eyed, electric-witted and amazingly successful prowler among the perilous labyrinths of the shady side of life." His career as a crook has brought him wealth and comfort, and during the stories he is middle-aged and fat. He is assisted by his friend Henry Black, "the Squire."

Burgess, Jim. Jim Burgess was created by W.T. Brannon and appeared in various detective magazines, including Detective Story Magazine, from at least 1939. Burgess is a police Detective in Clearwater, Indiana, where he solves cases. He stands out from most policemen, though, in that he's exceedingly canny, and while not a genius is quite well-versed in the human encyclopedia.

Burr, Ethan. Ethan Burr was created by Russell Gray and appeared in a series of short stories in Strange Detective Mysteries in 1939. Burr is a p.i. in an unnamed city (which is explicitly not San Francisco or New York) who stacks the bodies around him with great abandon. He's called "the Practitioner of Death" because of his skill at killing--he's very quick with his .44--and because trouble always seems to seek him out. He had originally been a "carefree, exceptionally clever, first-grade homicide dick who was set to go far in the department." Unfortunately, his "charming young wife had died because Burr hadn't been able to afford the necessary surgical and medical expenses to save her life." Naturally, this leaves Burr feeling...unhappy, and the smile leaves his "hard, thin mouth" and "steel-gray eyes." He quits the force and opens a private detective agency, using the money he makes to support his two small children. "His services came high, and if one wanted an utterly ruthless and fearless machine of justice, his fees were worth it." He does always come through his cases unscathed--one blackmailer's knife leaves a scar across his cheek and mouth--but his enemies fare considerably worse. Interestingly, he's very well-inclined towards Chinese-Americans, viewing them without the racism so common to many other characters in the pulps. One of the few men he trusts, in fact, is Sam Ming, the "unofficial mayor of Chinatown."

Burton, Scott. Scott Burton was created by Edward G. Cheyney and appeared in the six-volume "Scott Burton Series," which ran from 1917 to 1926 and began with Scott Burton, Forester. Burton was a teenaged forest ranger who fought crime and stopped forest fires and floods and found adventure in America's West.

A. The Abbey Girls to Dusty Ayres
B. Bagley to Scott Burton
C. Orhan Cakiroglu to Dr. Theodore Cunliffe
D-E. Dana Girls to Don Everhard
F. Ralph Fairbanks to Miss Fury
G. The Gadget Man to G-8
H-I. Dr. Hackensaw to Baron Ixell
J. Jack, Doc & Reggie to Justice Syndicate
K. Calvin Kane to Kwa of the Jungle
L. Major John T. Lacy to Langhorne Lyte
M. Professor Maboul to Mr. Mystic
N. Lee Nace to Nyoka
O. Fergus O'Breen to Ozar the Aztec
P.  Penny Packer to Judge Pursuivant
Q.  Oliver Quade to Sebastian Quin
R. Ed Race to Captain Rybnikov
S. The Safety First Club to Tom Swift
T-U. Tahara to Godfrey Usher
V. Lieutenant Valcour to Norton Vyse
W. Inspector Wade to Dr. Xavier Wycherley
X-Z. X Bar X Boys to Zorro

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