Al Colby

Created by David Dodge (1910-74)

David Dodge's second series character, AL COLBY, is a private eye based in Mexico City. Colby is a tough-guy adventurer whose investigations take him throughout Central and South America. He is a norteamericano but was born in Mexico, lived most of his life there, and speaks fluent Spanish. Colby is a loner who, although never lacking for female companionship, is unable to commit himself to a relationship.

In the first Colby novel, The Long Escape (1948), he tracks a runaway husband from Mexico to Santiago, Chile; in Plunder of the Sun (1949) he is hired to recover lost Inca treasure in Peru; and in The Red Tassel (1950) Colby faces off against saboteurs and witch-doctors at a silver mine in the high altitudes of the Bolivian Andes.

There was even a film made of Plunder of the Sun, and it's actually quite good, with Glenn Ford excellent in the role of Colby. But the script changes the locale from Peru to Mexico and now they're looking for Aztec, not Incan goodies.

Colby's cynicism and expatriate status make him a more hardboiled character than Dodge's previous series hero, San Francisco tax accountant James "Whit" Whitney. The Colby adventures are distinguished by their suspense-filled atmospheres and exotic locales. Dodge was an inveterate world-traveler and he drew on his experiences as settings for his novels, as well as for a highly successful series of humorous travel books.



Produced by John Wayne's Batjac production company. A typically solid performance by Ford, and some spectacular shots of the ruins at Mitla and Monte Alban near Oaxaca, Mexico lift this one up above average, yet somehow it's fallen between the cracks.


Randal Brandt, in collaboration with the author's daughter, is the creator/manager of one of the finest single-author sites I've ever seen. Check this one out--you won't regret it.

Respectfully submitted by Randal Brandt (June 1999).

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