by Keith Chapman

   Part One of this two-part article can be found here.

   The Detective Weekly cover (1937) is from the FictionMags Index. This is the issue that ran The Gold Kimono, which was written by Cheyney under his Stephen Law byline. Note that it has the title as “Gold” not “Golden”, as recorded in the FictionMags listings, and which I now believe might be a mistake.

   The art is unmistakably by Eric Parker who was still working for the Amalgamated Press (by then Fleetway Publications) when I got my first-ever job on leaving school (as an editorial assistant on the staff of the Sexton Blake Library). Later (1964), I commissioned Eric to do interior illustrations for the Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine when I founded and edited this digest for Micron Publications.

   And here below is the Detective Weekly cover for The Riddle of the Strange Last Words, another Stephen Law novella, which I believe was a version of the newspaper story Death Chair. Roy Glashan informs me that Detective Weekly used the wrong artwork for this issue. The illustration in fact depicts a scene from another newspaper serial, the Vengeance of Hop Fi, which DW was to use as The Mark of Hop Fi.

   I have found a Collectors’ Digest article by Brian Doyle at Google that throws a little more light on the early Cheyney career. I noted in particular this piece:

    “In 1926 he founded and directed the Editorial and Literary Services Agency. He and his staff researched, wrote and sold stories and features to newspapers and magazines throughout Britain and overseas. His agency was extremely successful and sold nearly 800 press features in its first year alone. Cheyney specialised in writing about real-life crime and criminals…”

   I surmise that the four full-length Cheyney works just discovered in the digitized Australian and New Zealand newspapers were bought from this agency … also that the loss of Cheyney’s “massive set of files on criminal activity in London …destroyed during the Blitz in 1941” (Wikipedia) possibly included the newspaper serials.

   Although I’d read before of Cheyney’s part in writing “Tinker’s Notebook” (a Sexton Blake feature in the story paper Union Jack), I didn’t know that he’d attempted a Blake yarn of his own and had it rejected. I did know that his friend Gerald Verner (aka Blake author Donald Stuart) had a hand in adapting Cheyney novels for the stage.

Note:   This article has been slightly revised and expanded since it was first posted.