After I posted my review of The Nightmare Blonde, by Morton Wolson, in which I included all I knew about the author, his son, Peter Wolson, left a comment, which because of some HTML peculiarities, was truncated after only the first few lines. The Nightmare Blonde was Morton Wolson’s only mystery novel, but to pulp readers and collectors, he’s far better known as Peter Paige, author of the Cash Wale stories for Dime Detective, plus many other short stories for the pulp magazines throughout the 1940s.

   Here now is the complete version of what Peter Wolson had to say about his father, as he sent it to me later via email.   –Steve

   I am Mort Wolson’s son, a psychoanalyst in Beverly Hills, and can tell you a lot about him. But first some corrections. He was living in Leisure World in Laguna Hills, with his wife Gaye when he died of congestive heart failure. He was 89.

   The William Bendix episode, “Prime Suspect,” was based on his story, “The Attacker.”

   His first published ‘pulp’ narrative was “I Guard Nudes,” when he was a bouncer at the Cuban Village in the 1939 World Fair in which he described his job protecting the strippers from overly enthusiastic men and putting wraps on their bodies as they left the stage. It was printed in the pulp magazine Black Mask in September, 1939.

   The Nightmare Blonde was based on a previous novella, “Softly Creep, Softly Kill,” which anticipated The Bad Seed. “Softly Creep, Softly Kill” was published in Detective Tales, August, 1947. Mort always felt that this work was plagiarized by the author of The Bad Seed.

   Mort always regarded his detective stories as puzzles in which he would constantly try to fool the reader, while the clues for the denouement would be embedded in the material. But they came easily to him and, unfortunately, he did not regard them as valuable as writing the great American novel. So he spent the bulk of his time and energy during the fifties and beyond writing what he regarded as “serious fiction.”

   One such attempt was about a dual personality. In in one internal world, the assumption prevailed that Hannibal had successfully crossed the alps and defeated the Romans, with civilization developing in North Africa, in which blacks became the majority population and whites, the minority. In the other split-off personality, the world was as it is today, with the clash between the worlds occurring in the individual’s mind.

   Another novel was entitled Nightmare Bullet, in which a scientist had discovered how to insert a nuclear device in a bullet, and this involved foreign espionage. Mort also wrote a book about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, called The Dragon Lady and I. He also wrote over a hundred sonnets to Gaye, his third wife, in the literary form of true Shakespearean sonnets.

   Clearly, he did best at writing pulp detective stories, and most of his stories published in Black Mask and Dime Detective, were the main feature, with the magazine covers representing their themes. He respected Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich and Dashiell Hammet, but had contempt for Mickey Spillane, feeling that he cheated to earn his fame by exaggerating blood and gore.

   The lapse in his writing was due to his efforts to earn a living as a furniture store owner, which occupied most of his time. In retirement, he was able to write The Nightmare Blonde and his memoirs.

   Mort was a very good-looking, manly, powerfully built, blond-haired individual, who smoked a pipe and loved to argue. He prided himself on being a divergent thinker, and loved to take the most oppositional point of view in any discussion, to the delight of some, and to the dismay of others.

   Thanks for your interest in him.

Peter Wolson