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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection


cover image By: Blochman, Lawrence G. (male)
Publisher: Quinn Publishing Company, Inc. (Handi-Books - 128)
Place of Publication: Kingston, New York
Catalog #: Kelley Box 201: PS3503 .L72 P87 1951
Contributor: K. Quinlivan


Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: Lawrence G. Blochman Geographic Locale: northern California and Oregon Date of Publication: 1951  |  Original Date: 1951 Setting: rural; coastal highways leading from California to Oregon, dingy backwoods motor camps, redwood forests and small logging towns Motives: kidnapping, greed

Plot Summary

Ed Mitchell, a former All-American football player and would-be detective, is offered a fat fee by the head of the Shawn International Detective Agency if he can successfully deliver little Betty Dorin, a six-year old heiress from her greedy, scheming aunt in California to her millionaire mother in New York. In addition to his precocious pint-sized charge and her pooch, "Mister Susie", Mitch is joined on his cross-country trip by Sylvia Furness, a beautiful female detective hired to care for Betty during the journey. This unlikely trio sets out from San Francisco, traveling by car in the hope of avoiding recognition at airports and train stations. Sparks soon fly between Mitch and Sylvia although they aren't certain whether or not they can trust each other. Throughout their wild road trip, they are pursued by a rival detective, two professional kidnappers, and various local law enforcement agencies that will go to any length to get their hands on little Betty.

Major Characters

Edward T. Mitchell "Ed" adult male, powerful, big-boned, former star college football player now a private detective

Frankie Hale adult male, tall, sharp chin, former gunman who resembles a "contented undertaker", now a private detective

Sylvia Furness adult female, reddish fair, full lips, mid-20s, beautiful, private detective and undercover government agent

Betty Dorin female, 6 year old child, curly blonde hair, spoiled heiress

Tom Reynolds adult male, federal agent disguised as an unemployed paperhanger from Kansas

David Feigleman adult male, long, dark hair, high cheek bones, musician traveling across the country with a stolen Stradivarius

Three-Fingered Zendt adult male, bulging eyes, blunt nose, missing two fingers, ex-bootlegger and kidnapper

Mike-the-Dude Wossek adult male, mustache, patent leather shoes, ex-bootlegger and kidnapper from Chicago


guns, monkey wrenches, knife, fists

Level of Violence

moderate amount of violence, including several fistfights. The murder victim is shot, but this is mentioned briefly and after-the-fact. Even the bad guys don't get hurt too severely.


Mitch is strongly attracted to Sylvia, but he is frustrated by the fact that he has promised himself their relationship should remain purely professional. Since they are traveling in close quarters with a small child, they have little opportunity for anything beyond a few passionate kisses.

Gender Roles

fairly progressive. Betty's mother is a successful businesswoman who "sometimes smoked cigars with her male business associates." She is accused of allowing her business drive to overshadow her maternal instinct, and is considered an unfit mother by her sister. Sylvia Furness is a federal agent; smart, independent, and quick-thinking. Mitch hates the thought of accepting orders from a woman, even one as beautiful as Sylvia. Most of the male characters on both sides of the law are tough-talking, forceful and quick with their fists.


most characters seem to be white European-Americans. The Jewish violinist and a family of Italian immigrants are slightly stereotypical, but play minor roles. One character refers to "an Eyetalian place" which serves strong brandy.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

alcohol does not play a significant role, but the logging mill towns enforce a ban on alcohol. Cigarettes and cigars are a matter of habit for several characters. There is a brief reference to "Slumbermix" tablets, two for a dime, that "all the truck drivers on night runs" use.

Law Enforcement

the local police are portrayed as country hicks, ignorant and uneducated. The federal agents, on the other hand, are well-trained professionals.

Added Features

humor is much in evidence throughout the novel

Subject Headings

California/ Kidnapping/ Detectives, Private

Film Adaptations

Pursuit, 1935, MGM