Hi Steve

Can you tell me whether your MR. CLACKWORTHY volume from Wildside contains any tales not collected in the two Chelsea House volumes of the 20’s? I have one of them but not the other.

Best wishes for 2007.

Doug Greene

This may be more than the rest of the world wants to know, but after I wrote a review of the first Mr. Clackworthy collection, word got around, and I somehow became known as the expert on the character, who was created by Christopher B. Booth and who first appeared in a long series of stories for Detective Story Magazine. Little did anyone know that the stories in Mr. Clackworthy (Chelsea House, 1925) were all that I knew about the fellow, a gentleman con man who preyed on unscrupulous bankers, stockbrokers and other chiselers, thereby striking a certain chord in the hearts of thousands of readers in the Depression era. The stories were quite popular.

Mr. C

But the limited knowledge that I had certainly did not prevent me from being asked to provide the introduction to the recent Wildside collection of Clackworthy adventures — nor prevent me from accepting for that matter, either.

Which of course obliged me to not completely fake it. Even after the Wildside book was published, I continued to hunt around to find as much information as I could come up with. I have the first and third of the three volumes below, but not the second. The stories in the first of the two Chelsea House books are not identified by name. It’s what’s called a fix-up novel: a collection of stories combined into what is called a novel, but is, simply speaking, a collection of stories combined into a novel, some related to each other, others not.

I suspect, but do not know for sure, that the second Chelsea House collection is structured the same way. For the titles of the stories in both books, I am indebted to Gordon W. Huber’s Chelsea House: A Bibliography (June 2001), with the relevant data sent on to me by Don Davidson. For the first book, I matched the story lines with the titles that Gordon listed, his data coming directly from the Street and Smith files located at Syracuse University. (Street and Smith was the publisher of Detective Story Magazine, among tons of other pulp magazines and dime novels over the first half of the past century.)


All of the stories below originally appeared in Detective Story Magazine. There has been no attempt to ascertain which Mr. Clackworthy stories have so far not been collected.

In the first collection, there is one more story than I can match up with a title. Two of the titles have been established by guesswork only, as indicated, and even so, all of the matching should be considered questionable.

Chelsea House, hardcover, 1925.

Chapters 1-3. The Million Dollar Air Bag. March 9, 1920

Chapters 4-7. Blasted Reputations. March 23, 1920

Chapters 8-10. Painful Extraction. April 27, 1920

Chapters 11-13. The Comeback. May 11, 1920

Chapters 14-20?? Mr. Clackworthy Stakes a Friend. September 28, 1920

Chapters 21-24. Mr. Clackworthy Tells the Truth. October 19, 1920 (a)

Chapters 25-26. [unknown story title]

Chapters 27-28?? A Modern Lazarus. March 30, 1920

Chapters 29-32. Mr. Clackworthy Digs a Hole. July 16, 1921

(a) Contained in the Wildside collection below.

In the second collection, the following titles have been identified. They may not appear in this order in the book, which I have not seen.

Chelsea House, hardcover, 1927.

Mr. Clackworthy Forgets His Tonic. January 14, 1922

When Mr. Clackworthy Needed a Bracer. January 21, 1922

Mr. Clackworthy and the Auto Rim. January 28, 1922

Mr. Clackworthy Sells a Gold Brick. March 25, 1922

Clackworthy Coddles a Contract. June 3, 1922

Mr. Clackworthy Pays His Income Tax. June 9, 1923

Mr. Clackworthy Takes a Dip in Rye. June 30, 1923

Mr. Clackworthy Tips a Teapot. April 19, 1924

In this latest collection, there seems to be only one overlap with either of the earlier ones.

Wildside Press. Hardcover & Trade Paperback, 2006.

Mr. Clackworthy Tells the Truth. October 19, 1920 (a)

Mr. Clackworthy Within the Law. August 13, 1921

Mr. Clackworthy’s Pipe Dream. March 11, 1922

Mr. Clackworthy Turns Chemist. December 17, 1921

Mr. Clackworthy Digs a Hole. July 16, 1921 (b)

Mr. Clackworthy Revives a Town. September 24, 1921

Mr. Clackworthy Sells Short. February 26, 1921 (b)

Mr. Clackworthy’s Pot of Gold. October 7, 1922.

(a) Appeared in the first Chelsea House collection. The story is also available online.

(b) The dates are in error as given on the copyright page. The ones given here are correct.