Created by Merle Constiner (1902-79)
LUTHER McGAVOCK was a Memphis-based private eye whose cases on behalf of agency boss Atherton Browne took him all over the rural American South. He appeared in some eleven stories in Black Mask, all full of peculiar goings-on, bizarre characters and oddball plots, often revolving around the most arcane bits of trivia, not unlike Constiner's other pulp character, the fortunetelling con artist/gumshoe known as The Dean.
But the stories featuring McGavock tended to the darker side, full of odd, black humour and some pretty bloody doings. Nobody was ever completely trustworthy in the series, including McGavock himself. Nor was he entirely likable, being a mite surly and less than tactful, one of the reasons he'd bounced around almost every detective agency in the South. Seems the agencies loved the results he would get, but weren't too fond of the man himself.
Constiner was born in Ohio, but lived most of his life elsewhere, much of it in the South. He had a master's degree from Vanderbilt University, and minored in medieval history.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Much thanks to Monte Herridge for helping to fill in the blanks here.
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