Greg "Big Eye" Graves
Created by Ivy Gordon Edmond

I've been meaning to write something about american author I.G. Edmonds's private eye books for some time, and particularly the fact that they have apparently only been published in Finnish. It seemed unlikely, and yet they weren't to be found in any English crime fiction bibliographies. Upon receiving confirmation from the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, though, it turned out my suspicions were 100 % correct (though they didn't even know the books were published in Finland, not Sweden or Norway,as their records state -- which means the Finnish editions were probably pirated).

Edmonds's hero in these four books is GREG GRAVES, a private detective with the unfortunate nickname of "BIG EYE." He got his moniker from a reporter and is not pleased with it. He owns the Seven Seas investigation office and says that his holy things are "money, scotch and beautiful dames" (as if you didn't know that by now). He seems to be a bit of woman-hater, though, since he also says: "The women-hating hermits are the only real wise men in this crazy world."

It seems to me that the Big Eye books are parodies of the genre and the clichés so many paperback originals had reverted to in the fifties and the sixties. They remind me of Richard Prather's Shell Scott books, but are nowhere near as funny.

There were four books, all translated from the original English into Finnish. I don't know the original writing years, but I should suspect they are from the early sixties and had been circulating back and forth between disinterested paperback publishers for several years before finally finding their home in Northern Europe. One wonders why a cheap American publisher like Beacon or even Kozy Books didn't take these. Maybe someone could dig these up and publish them in English for the first time...(Hey, HardCase!).

Big Eye and the Torrid Target (published as Etsi sinä - minä tapan, literally "You Find - I Kill," in 1970) starts when Big Eye receives a call from a stripper, who warns him he's going to be killed. In Big Eye and the Scorched Bikini (Tulenarka bikini), Big Eye finds a curvy dame in his office, with a literally scorched bikini on her. The books, or at least some of them, were published with Robert McGinnis covers, which makes them rather nice.

Ivy Gordon Edmonds wrote over fifty books through the fifties, sixties and seventies, not just thrillers but also children's books (including a series about Tadasuke Ooka, a judge in eighteenth century Japan), non-fiction (everything from funny car racing and magic tricks to biographies of Harry Houdini and the Shah of Iran) and even television tie-ins (Lassie, The Rat Patrol). In other words, anything that would pay. There's also a war paperback published as by I.G. Edmonds, called The Devil Cheaters (Pirullinen tehtävä),which has also never been published in America.


Report respectfully submitted by Juri Nummelin. Portions of this report first published n January 2008 on Juri's amazing pulpetti blog. Used with permission.

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