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George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

The Brave, Bad Girls

cover image By: Dewey, Thomas B. (male)
Publisher: Pocket Books, Inc. (Permabook edition M-3089)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 229: PS3507 .E883 B73 1957
Contributor: K. Quinlivan


Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: Thomas B. Dewey Geographic Locale: Chicago, Illinois Date of Publication: 1957  |  Original Date: 1956 Setting: urban and suburban neighborhoods, including seedy hotels, middle-class apartments and homes, offices, police headquarters Motives: murder, revenge

Plot Summary

A cynical private investigator known as Mac is called to a nightclub late one night by a beautiful young woman who asks him to escort her home. Mac later discovers this young woman alone in an apartment with the body of her dead boyfriend. Mac tries to arrange protection for her, despite the fact that she refuses to reveal the truth about the murder. As Mac begins to search for the murderer, he delves into the past and present lives of several different women in an attempt to sort out their connections with the dead man. His investigation leads Mac into a complicated network of corrupt politicians, shady businessmen and abusive cops before he manages to sort out the legal and romantic entanglements and solve the case.

Major Characters

Mac adult male, early 40s, ex-police officer turned private investigator

Georgiana Hennessey adult female, medium height, blonde hair, ex-police officer, now a private investigator, she assists Mac with his cases

Sherry Turner adult female, 22 years old, dark hair, brown eyes, beautiful daughter of a wealthy businessman

Roscoe Turner adult male, middle aged, wealthy corporate executive who seems to think that everyone has their price

Karel Kadek "Karl", adult male, 32 years old, immigrant from central Europe, musician with a reputation as a ladies' man, separated from his wife, Lorraine (Jarvis) Kadek and dating Sherry Turner

Lorraine Jarvis Kadek adult female, blonde, gray eyes, mid-20s, teacher who has recently come under scrutiny by the school board

Esther Jarvis adult female, 30s, tall, big-boned, former secretary who looks after her sister and niece

Bud Phelps adult male, mid-30s, piano player, longtime friend of Karl Kadek, enjoys the company of attractive women

Catherine Colby adult female, middle-aged, elementary school principal, she wants to find out if someone is running a smear campaign against Lorraine Kadek

Lieutenant Donovan adult male, middle-aged, tough but fair-minded police detective, Mac's mentor


guns, fists

Level of Violence

the murder scene is described very briefly. Mac is severely roughed up by the police on several occasions, but he seems to expect this as a consequence of his investigation. He literally has no problem rolling with the punches, and is well able to handle himself in a fight, no matter what the odds are against him.


Mac and Georgiana are old friends and colleagues whose long-standing relationship includes an occasional brief kiss while holding the promise of something more. Most of the women in the story are attracted to Mac, something he enjoys but doesn't let distract him from his job.

Gender Roles

Georgiana, the female private eye, is the only woman who holds a non-traditional job. She is depicted as successful in a man's world, in part because she's learned from her male colleagues how to be just as tough and cynical as they are in order to survive. Most of the other female characters are depicted as weak, emotional, and easily distracted. The men seem concerned but distant.


race is not a factor, aside from a brief reference to the fact that African-Americans are not allowed into a certain nightclub.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

most characters drink and smoke regularly, both as a means of relaxation at home and socially in bars. Alcohol is used as a painkiller in some situations.

Law Enforcement

several police officers are brutal and violent when questioning suspects; they seem quite willing, if not downright eager, to use physical force against Mac in an attempt to get him to divulge what he knows. Lt. Donovan is depicted as tough, but he has a soft spot for Mac and helps him out whenever possible. Mac has little respect for the police or the district attorney, and doesn't hesitate to tell them so.

Added Features

several references are made to the political beliefs of certain characters and whether or not they are Communists. Mac views the entire justice system as corrupt, and this is one of the reasons why he left the police force in favor of operating as an independent investigator.

Subject Headings

Detectives, Private/ Illinois - Chicago/ Murder/ Police/ Corruption (In Politics)

Psychological Elements

Esther is mentally unstable and ultimately delusional; although no exact diagnosis is given, her condition is attributed to abuse she suffered when she was younger.