Barr Breed
Created by Bill S. Ballinger (1912-1980)

Ballinger wrote a pair of novels about Chicago P.I. BARR BREED who had a staff of three operatives. The first book, The Body in the Bed (1948), has Breed tracking down Caroline MacKormick's killer in a plot clearly derivative of the Maltese Falcon.

The second novel, The Body Beautiful, has Breed hot on the trail of those responsible for the knifing of his girlfriend, Coffee Stearns, during one of her performances as a showgirl.

Ballinger went on to write other novels, including one with a NY PI named Bryce Patch, and a series about Joaquin Hawks, an American Indian CIA agent operating in Southeast Asia.

Born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Ballinger was an associate professor of writing at the California State University, Northridge for a few years and worked in advertising and broadcasting in Chicago and New York, before moving to California to try his hand at screenwriting. He was eventually credited with scripts for eight feature films and over 150 teleplays, from Mike Hammer in the '50s to Cannon in the '70s. In 1960, he won an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America for his adaptation of the Stanley Ellin short story "The Day of the Bullet," which was shown on Alfred Hitchcock Presents..


  • "A shabby museum of every cliché of plot, style and action."
    -- Anthony Boucher, reviewing The Body Beautiful


  • The Body In The Bed (1948)
  • The Body Beautiful (1949)

Report respectfully submitted by Dale Stoyer.

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