Ed Jenkins, "The Phantom Crook"

Created by Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970)

"I'm my own law... my own judge, jury and executioner, and if a fellow starts after my scalp... well, I'm still wearing it."

Gardner, who went on to create the world's most famous lawyer, Perry Mason, actually cut his teeth in the pulps, literally writing millions of words, and publishing countless stories featuring countless characters, from both sides of the law, and often both, at the same time.

And none of his pulp characters was more popular than ED JENKINS, "The Phantom Crook," who appeared in the pages of Black Mask. In fact, Jenkins starred in more Gardner stories than any of his other creations, even Mason, making an astounding 73 appearances and when, at one point, the author considered dropping Jenkins, his fans protested mightily, and convinced Gardner to keep onwriting about him. Indeed, long after he'd stopped writing for Black Mask (and Jenkins had, in fact, been toast for over a decade), Gardner brought the man back in 1961 for a final shot in the pages of Argosy, thirty-six years after he'd first made his debut in Black Mask.

Jenkins was a loner and a fugitive, a master of disguise and a con artist supreme, a self-confessed "outlaw, desperado and famous lone wolf," working both sides of the law, pitting cops against crooks, and all in the name of his personal gain. Make no mistake. Jenkins is ultimately looking out for only one person: himself. He's only five foot seven-and-a-quarter (Gardner's exact height, in fact) but he's plenty tough. The stories are hard, fast reads, furiously-paced, and full of enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, as Jenkins is constantly on the run, from both crooks and the police. As The Coast Book Review once stated, "Della and Perry were never like this!"


  • "Beyond the Law" (September 1925, Black Mask)
  • "Hard As Nails" (March 1925, Black Mask)
  • "Not So Darn Bad" (June 1925, Black Mask)
  • "Three O'Clock in the Morning" (July 1925, Black Mask)
  • "The Triple Cross" (December 1925, Black Mask)
  • "According to Law" (January 1926, Black Mask)
  • "Register Rage" (April 1926, Black Mask)
  • "Thisissosudden!" (May 1926, Black Mask)
  • "Forget 'em All" (June 1926, Black Mask)
  • "Laugh That Off" (September 1926, Black Mask)
  • "Money, Marbles and Chalk" (November 1926, Black Mask)
  • "Dead Men's Letters" (December 1926, Black Mask)
  • "The Cat-Woman" (February 1927, Black Mask)
  • "This Way Out" " (March 1927, Black Mask)
  • "Come and Get It" " (April 1927, Black Mask)
  • "In Full of Account" (May 1927, Black Mask)
  • "The Wax Dragon" (November 1927, Black Mask)
  • "Grinning Gods" (December 1927, Black Mask)
  • "Yellow Shadows" (February 1928, Black Mask)
  • "Whispering Feet" (March 1928, Black Mask)
  • "Snow Bird" (April 1928, Black Mask)
  • "Out of the Shadows" (May 1928, Black Mask)
  • "The Next Stiff" (December 1928, Black Mask)
  • "One Crook to Another" (January 1929, Black Mask)
  • "Bracelets for Two" (February 1929, Black Mask)
  • "Hooking the Crooks" (March 1929, Black Mask)
  • "No Questions Asked" (April 1929, Black Mask)
  • "Straight from the Shoulder" (October 1929, Black Mask)
  • "Brass Tacks" (November 1929, Black Mask)
  • "Triple Treachery" (December 1929, Black Mask)
  • "Double or Quits" (January 1930, Black Mask)
  • "The Crime Crusher" (May 1930, Black Mask)
  • "Hell's Kettle" (June 1930, Black Mask; also 1985, The Black Mask Boys)
  • "Big Shot" (July 1930, Black Mask)
  • "Tommy Talk" (July 1931, Black Mask)
  • "Hairy Hands" (August 1931, Black Mask)
  • "Promise to Pay" (September 1931, Black Mask)
  • "The Hot Squat" (October 1931, Black Mask)
  • "Strictly Personal" (December 1931, Black Mask)
  • "Face Up" (January 1932, Black Mask)
  • "Feet First" (March 1932, Black Mask)
  • "Straight Crooks" (April 1932, Black Mask)
  • "Under the Guns" (May 1932, Black Mask)
  • "Crooking Crooks" (June 1932, Black Mask)
  • "Rough Stuff" (July 1932, Black Mask)
  • "Black and White" (September 1932, Black Mask)
  • "The Hour of the Rat" (February 1933, Black Mask)
  • "Red Jade" (March 1933, Black Mask)
  • "Chinatown Murder" (April 1933, Black Mask)
  • "The Weapons of a Crook" (May 1933, Black Mask)
  • "Whispering Justice" (September 1933, Black Mask)
  • "The Murder Push (October 1933, Black Mask)
  • "Dead Men's Shoes" (December 1933, Black Mask)
  • "A Guest of the House" (January 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Cop Killers" (March 1934, Black Mask)
  • "New Twenties" (April 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Burnt Fingers" (June 1934, Black Mask)
  • "The Heavenly Rat" (September 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Hot Cash" (November 1934, Black Mask)
  • "A Chance to Cheat" May 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Crash and Carry" (October 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Above the Law" (December 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Beating the Bulls" (May 1936, Black Mask)
  • "This Way Out" (March 1937, Black Mask)
  • "Muscle Out" (April 1938, Black Mask)
  • "Dark Alleys" (September 1939, Black Mask)
  • "Tong Trouble" (June 1940, Black Mask)
  • "Jade Sanctuary" (December 1940, Black Mask)
  • "The Chinese People" (May 1941, Black Mask)
  • "Rain Check" (December 1941, Black Mask)
  • "Two Dead Hands" (April 1942, Black Mask)
  • "The Incredible Mr. Smith" (March 1943, Black Mask)
  • "The Gong of Vengeance" (September 1943, Black Mask)
  • "Ther Blonde in Lower Six" (September 1961, Argosy)


  • The Blonde in Lower Six (1990)

Three short stories from Black Mask, and the novella from Argosy.

  • Dead Men's Letters (1990)

Six short novels from Black Mask.

  • Honest Money (1991)

Six stories from Black Mask

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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