Created by D.L. Champion (1903-68)
Billing himself as a detectivo particular, Mercado appeared in eight novelettes in Dime Detective, between 1944 and 1948. The stories were narrated by Latham who seems to be the North American assistant of Mercado. In "The Shabby Shroud," he describes Mercado as "a little brown man with a shrewd mind, a great deal of physical courage where bacteria was not concerned; a taste for clothing loud as a thunderbolt, and a fearful hypochondria."
Mercado's germ phobia, which he carries to obsessive and ridiculous lengths, adds a humorous edge to the story, as does his multi-hued wardrobe (a "bright, jealous green suit", shoes "yellow as the proverbial dog", and a shirt "pink as an embarrassed salmon's underbelly.") But germs or bad fashion sense aren't his only problem -- Mercado, at one point referred to as "the smartest detective in Mexico," has an ongoing feud with the corrupt and lazy Coronel Gomez of the Federal District Police, who nonetheless often benefits from the P.I.'s investigations.
Author Champion was born in Australia and educated in New York. He served with the British Army in World War I, worked in the merchant marine, and read copy for a slew of magazines, before turning to writing himself. He was also the creator of eccentric skinflint private eye Rex Sackler and legless, cantankerous "unofficial" homicide dick Inspector Allhoff.
Respectfully submitted by Manuel Ramos. Mucho gracias!
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