Johnny Buchanan
Written by John Brenner (possibly a pseudonym) and K. T. McCall (pseudonym of
Audrey Armitage and Muriel Watkins)

JOHNNY BUCHANAN was a fast-talking dick for the Silver Star Insurance Company, based in New York. Although he generally stuck close to home, Johnny did manage to occasionally hit such exotic hot spots as Havana and Miami and even once cracked a case aboard a ship. And despite the often violent nature of his cases, he never packed heat -- preferring to rely on his gift of gab to get him out of jams.

There were at least twenty five of these huffy, puffy novelettes, all machine-gun fire prose and cheesy covers boasting juicy titles like Shroud for Her Shame and Black Lace Blackmail, put out for the lucrative Australian pulp market in the fifties.

Assuming it's the same Johnny Buchanan, he first appeared in 1956 in $ Marked Her Sin written by John Brenner (whoever he was), followed in short order by two more books.

But the remainder of the books were penned by "K. T. McCall," the pen name of Audrey Armitage and Muriel Watkins. That's one of the reasons the Johnny Buchanan series is so sought after by collectors, as well as what makes it so notable.

Armitage and Watkins were two of the few women pulp writers of the era, and and using the K.T. McCall pen name, penned over two dozen novels, mostly in the Buchanan series (they also wrote as "Gerry North").  The novelty of a woman writing hard-boiled detective books was a great marketing angle for Horowitz, which plastered the blurb "Crime fiction's best selling woman author" all over the covers and described "KT McCall" on the back as "blonde, beautiful and with brains." Not that the photo was of either of the actual authors -- it was actually a model from the local June Dally-Watkins Agency.

"We'd be given a picture of the cover and... the title, along with a few words," Armitage said in a 2005 interview in the Sydney Morning Herald. "From that you prepared the plot and wrote the story. One of the rules of the game was that you started off with a body - either two in bed or somebody dead"


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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