Burns Bannion

Created by Earl Norman (pseud. of Norman Thomson)

Is he turning Japanese? I really think so...

BURNS BANNION is an American GI who stayed in Tokyo as a Karate student after World War II. He became a private op entirely by accident when he was originally mistaken for a real private investigator from California. He went on to work the "private eye bit" in a string of paperback originals written by Earl Norman in the late fifties and early sixties.

In Burns' case, one or two cover blurbs are worth a thousand words. They tout the ex-pat as a "blood brother to Shell Scott and Mike Hammer" (though more Hammer than Scott) who "keeps running into his two favorite pastimes -- gorgeous girls and deadly killers." Racial stereotypes abound, and I'm sure even back then many readers raised an eyebrow at such phrases as "slant-eyed babes."

Still, if you can get past the political-incorrectness of it all, these are enjoyable, albeit definitely in the so-bad-it's-good school of detective writing.

Say "Cheese!"

I really think so...

Earl Norman was actually Norman Thomson, a radio, stage and film actor who worked as an entertainment supervisor for U.S. military bases in the Far East after the second World War, spending 30 years in Tokyo.


  • "What I have always found interesting was that Mr. Norman was the first novelist, in my reading and to my research, to use Kara-te as a plot device. Since I started my study of the art in November of 1958, I was acutely aware of the significance when I saw the first one show up on the rack at my local bookshop."

-- Geoffrey Krauss


  • Kill Me in Tokyo (1958)
  • Kill Me in Shimbashi (1959)
  • Kill Me in Yokohama (1960)
  • Kill Me in Yoshiwara (1961)
  • Kill Me in Shinjunku (1961)
  • Kill Me in Atami (1962)
  • Kill Me on the Ginza (1962)
  • Kill Me In Yokosuka (1966)
  • Kill Me in Roppongi (1967)
  • Kill Me in Hong Kong (1976)


Japanese eyes.

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Al and Dale for putting me straight on this one. And Geoffrey wants to let it be known that he wouldn't mind getting in touch with other Bannionites.

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