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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

Simon Lash: Private Detective

cover image By: Gruber, Frank (male)
Publisher: Penguin Books (562)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 261: PS3513 .R866 S55 1945
Contributor: W. Prout


Era: 1940s Author as on Cover: Frank Gruber Geographic Locale: Los Angeles and Hollywood, California; desert southwest of New Mexico and Arizona Date of Publication: 1945  |  Original Date: 1941 Setting: urban and rural; Lash deals with the new rich, the emerging upper middle class, and it is apparent he dislikes them, or is jealous of them Motives: money

Plot Summary

Simon Lash, a former lawyer turned private detective, is reluctant, but is finally persuaded by his former girlfriend, Joyce Bonniwell, to help locate her missing husband. The case leads Lash to a mink ranch in the mountains of California and on a high-speed chase across the desert Southwest to an outlaw lair in New Mexico.

Major Characters

Simon Lash adult male, mid-to-late thirties, tough, sarcastic, former lawyer turned private detective

James Bonniwell adult male, age 45, banker

Joyce Bonniwell adult female, 31 years old, dark hair, slim, attractive

Jeff Spotted Tail adult male, Native American, short, tough, well-built, sheriff

Peter Connors adult male, late fifties, big, burly, owns a ranch used as criminal house

Ben Castleman adult male, forties, big, well-built, strong, mink rancher

Vincent Springer adult male, late forties, overweight, average, middle aged, bank vice-president

Evelyn Price adult female, early twenties, small, slim, good-looking, red hair, taxi dancer/mistress

Eddie Slocum adult male, thirties, small, wiry, Lash's personal assistant



Level of Violence

three killings, but they are only alluded to


mild; some allusions to affairs and mistresses, but no detailed descriptions

Gender Roles



some descriptions of the poverty of Native Americans in the Southwest

Alcohol/Drug Abuse


Law Enforcement

police chases, county sheriff, crooked sheriff

Added Features

very fast-paced, well-plotted; the narrative is very tightly written

Subject Headings

Detectives, Private/ Sheriffs/ New Mexico/ Arizona/ California - Hollywood/ California - Los Angeles/ Indians of North America/ Bankers

Film Adaptations

Accomplice, 1946, Pathe