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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

No Pockets In a Shroud

cover image By: McCoy, Horace (male)
Publisher: New American Library (Signet Books 690)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 327: PS3525 .A1715 N6 1948
Contributor: W. Prout


Era: 1930s Author as on Cover: Horace McCoy Geographic Locale: Colton, California Date of Publication: 1948  |  Original Date: 1937 Setting: urban; newspaper offices and printing factories; torrid pace mirrors the high energy level of the protagonist. Motives: jealousy, revenge

Plot Summary

In the city of Colton, California, reporter Mike Dolan decides that he must tell the truth and expose the city's many cover-ups and corruption. He quits his job at the paper and begins his own weekly periodical where he exposes the sheriff's brother as an abortionist, players on the local professional baseball team throwing games, and a right-wing terrorist group called the Crusaders as being led by some of the most prominent city fathers. Dolan's exposs, plus his many sexual conquests mark him as a target for the jealousy and vengeance of a great many of Colton's citizens.

Major Characters

Jack Carlile adult male, 50s, big, strong, sheriff

Mike Dolan adult male, early 30s, very good looking, 5 feet 10 in., blonde, athletic, charismatic, reporter/publisher

Myra Barnovsky adult female, Russian ancestry, late 20s, beautiful, dark hair, dark eyes, secretary/reporter

Eddie Bishop adult male, 50s, older, stocky, reporter

David adult male, homosexual, 30s, short, fair, good-looking, producer of local theater



Level of Violence

shooting, tar and feathering, castration, suicide, beatings


a great deal!! Dolan and Myra, Dolan and April, Dolan and Lillian, Dolan and Mary Margaret, Dolan and Mary Margaret's mother. David is openly gay.

Gender Roles

the female characters are very liberated compared to other novels of this era.


several incidents: one of Dolan's housemates is black. He addresses everyone as "Mr. Mike" etc. while they all address him as Ulysses. There are incidents where the Crusaders tar and feather a black man. An Italian-American character is beaten, a foreign merchant is boycotted, and many people are accused of being Communist.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

moderate amount of drinking and smoking.

Added Features

McCoy seems to be trying to incorporate all the corruption he sees in the United States into Colton, California. Colton becomes a microcosm of the United States, and Mike Dolan is a Hamlet-like tragic figure.

Subject Headings

California - Colton/ Journalists/ Jealousy/ Revenge/ Corruption (In Politics)

Film Adaptations

Un Linceul N'a Pas de Poches (No Pockets in a Shroud), 1974, Balzac