Tue 22 Apr 2008
As a brief introduction to this piece, I’ll begin by saying that mystery writer John T. McIntyre was the subject of a post you saw here last Saturday, albeit somewhat accidentally so: he was the author of “Blows in the Dark,” the lead story in Complete Detective Novel Magazine for November 1931.
Thanks go first to Mike Grost for the comments he left after that percending post, during the course of which in part he reviewed Ashton-Kirk: Secret Agent. According to Mike, it starts out as a pure imitation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, then dissipates its early promise into becoming a cliched and routine espionage novel. Not a surprising report, I suppose, given the lack of name recognition that McIntyre has a writer today, but still a disappointing one.
But here is some news. I’ve conferred with Al Hubin, and in the next installment of the online Addenda to the Revised Crime Fiction IV, the books in the following separate entry will be merged with those of John T. McIntyre. (Note the previous misspelling of the author’s name.)
MacINTYRE, JOHN THOMAS. 1871-1951. Pseudonym Kerry O’Neil, q.v.
O’NEIL, KERRY. Pseudonym of John MacIntyre, 1871-1951, q.v.
Mooney Moves Around (n.) Reynal 1939 [Jerry Mooney; Philadelphia, PA] “Private detective murder mystery surrounding the fashion industry.” NOTE: This novel was a SEALED Bonus Mystery. The last chapter of the book, containing the solution to the murder, was tightly sealed in a paper wraparound with printed bonus certificate. The reader would have to break the seal to finish the book. If unbroken, the book could be returned for a full refund; otherwise the purchaser could redeem the coupon for 35 cents.
Death at Dakar (n.) Doubleday 1942 [Senegal] “In which an American newspaperwoman [Patricia Cornell] trumps her opponent’s ace.” Add to setting: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ninth Floor: Middle City Tower (n.) Farrar 1943 [Jerry Mooney; Philadelphia, PA] “Jerry Mooney, a cop turned private detective, investigates the disappearance of an expensive ruby and the murder that follows.”
Death Strikes at Heron House (n.) Farrar 1944 [Jerry Mooney; Philadelphia, PA]
At the moment I don’t know much more about Jerry Mooney. He’s not included in Kevin Burton Smith online directory of private eyes, and what I do know (see above), I’ll pass along to him.
Checking out the pulp fiction written by Kerry O’Neil, I’ve discovered a story written as by him in the October 10,1948, issue of Short Stories, a work called “A Short Shot at Purdy.”. Given that John McIntyre’s first entry in CFIV was In the Toils, a criminous play published by Penn in 1898, it certainly makes for a long if not entirely illustrious career.
[UPDATE.] Later the same day. Google is wonderful. I’ve found a long, meaty profile of John McIntyre online here. It’s entitled “Noir Town: The hard life of John McIntyre, the legendary Philly novelist nobody’s heard of,” by Kevin Plunkett (2006). I’d love to reprint it here on the blog, but I’ll remain content to have you follow the link and read it for yourself. Highly recommended!
Here are the last couple of paragraphs:
“At his death, John McIntyre was already fading into obscurity. The intervening decades took care of the rest.
“Today his hard-edged Philadelphia novels are forgotten and ‘only hard core mystery buffs’ are aware of the gutsy writer from Northern Liberties, notes Thomas Whitehead [manager of Temple University's Special Collections Department]. And hardly a soul peruses the John T. McIntyre Papers. And that’s a shame. Because McIntyre rendered Philadelphia’s darker edges into some of the toughest and finest fiction this city has ever seen. ‘He was the Philadelphia writer who captured the realistic parts of city life: the street life, the politics, the ethnic groups in the city, all the relationships,’ Whitehead says. ‘I think he did it well.’”