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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

I, the Jury

cover image By: Spillane, Mickey (male)
Publisher: New American Library (Signet Books P3382)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 374: PS3537 .P652 I3 1947
Contributor: W. Hepfer


Era: 1940s Author as on Cover: Mickey Spillane Geographic Locale: New York City Date of Publication: 1968  |  Original Date: 1947 Setting: urban Motives: revenge - Mike Hammer is intent on finding the sadistic killer who shot his best friend. Jack Williams lost an arm saving Mike's life when they were soldiers in World War II, and Mike vows to get revenge without regard for legal regulations.

Plot Summary

Mike Hammer is a World War II veteran intent on avenging the murder of his best friend, a man who lost his leg saving Hammer's life in the South Pacific. Hammer disregards legality as he roughs up thugs and shoots to kill when his life is in danger.

Major Characters

Mike Hammer adult male, private investigator

Charlotte Manning adult female, feminine, beautiful, sexy, "almost white" hair, psychiatrist

George Kalecki adult male, possibly homosexual, middle-aged, cigar smoker, businessman/racketeer

Hal Kincs a.k.a. John Hanson, adult male, 20s, crew-cut, cigarette smoker, medical student, associate of George Kalecki

Jack Williams adult male, paraplegic (lost his arm saving Mike Hammer's life in World War II), policeman

Myrna Devlin adult female, ex-drug addict, fiance of Jack Williams

Bobo Hopper adult male, retarded, beekeeper, numbers runner

Pat Chambers adult male, police officer, captain of the Homicide Department

Velda adult female, coal-black pageboy hair, beautiful, shapely, Mike Hammer's secretary, licensed as a private investigator

Mary and Esther Bellamy adult females, identical twins, 29 years old, beautiful, shapely, Esther has a strawberry birthmark, inherited wealth


handguns and fists; Jack Williams was killed by a .45 caliber bullet that had been modified to make it more lethal and painful.

Level of Violence

Mike Hammer fights rough and inflicts lots of pain. He uses toughness to intimidate reluctant informants, and regards his own fighting and killing as justifiable means to an end.


Mike gets involved in several seductions, sometimes as the seducer and sometimes as the seduced. All sexual activity is heterosexual, and intercourse is implied. Mike is usually confident that attractive women find him irresistible.

Gender Roles

Mike makes disparaging remarks about an unfeminine woman, and a man with a minced walk is called a "fruit." Mike views husbands as dominant marriage partners, and proclaims that "no wife of mine is going to work." His romantic marriage proposal to Charlotte Manning goes: "Okay, minx,....will you marry me?" And then he rebuffs her advances because he wants them to wait for sex until after they're married. On the other hand, he's not opposed to casual sex with the nymphomaniacal twins, but they are not the type he'd ever want to marry.


Charlotte Manning's African-American maid speaks in black dialect. Mike is friendly to her, although he refers to her as a "darky maid." Other kindly minorities also speak in dialect, but two ethnic thugs are referred to as "the high yellow" and the "coal black" or "Negro." Other disreputable African-American characters are called "colored," "jigs," "monkeys," and "bogies."

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

cigarette and cigar smoking are commonplace. Alcohol is present but not abused. Drugs are not mentioned.

Law Enforcement

Mike's best friend, Jack Williams, was a police officer, and his friend Pat Chambers is a homicide captain. The local police are respected, but Mike thinks they're restricted by too many regulations. His strong sense of justice won't be impeded by having to follow rules.

Subject Headings

Veterans/ Detectives, Private/ New York (N.Y.)/ Hammer, Mike/ Revenge/ Murder

Psychological Elements

Mike's vengefulness is fueled by a sense of fairness that wants to cause as much pain and suffering on the villain as was inflicted on the victim.

Film Adaptations

I, the Jury, 1953, United Artists
I, the Jury, 1982, American Cinema