Created by Anthony Boucher (pseudonym of William A. P. White; 1911-1968)
It's hard to believe that a guy with a monicker like FERGUS O'BREEN is Irish, but IT'S TRUE!!!
He's also one of the most deliberately eccentric private eyes to ever pop up in print. He's a wild, red-haired mick who runs the one-man O'Breen Detective Agency in Los Angeles and has more quirks than you can shake a stick at. He's deathly allergic to cats, and sneezes seven times (not six, not eight) in their presence. He's a gourmet chef, a huge football fan, extremely well-read, and has a serious jones for the music of Beethoven and loud, brightly-coloured clothing in obnoxiously garish combinations. He's also partial to reciting dirty limericks and pacing, which often drives suspects right around the bend. He's drives a bright yellow roadster and is inordinately fond of whiskey, but he's no hard-boiled he-man. He relies, instead, on his brains to crack cases, and admits he's "unorthodox as hell," an "introspective extrovert with manic-depressive tendencies."
The stories themselves are also off-beat. They're also, according to Mike W. Barr, "great fun. In 1942 Boucher, for some reason, set the character up in supernatural and sci-fi situations, maybe the first time a purely naturalistic sleuth hopped over to horror/s-f. Mighty strange."
O'Breen's creator, Anthony Boucher, was an editor and critic, a name to be reckoned with in both the mystery and fantasy and science-fiction fields, often over-shadowing his own excellent fictional efforts in both genres. In fact, he was several names to be reckoned with, including "H.H. Holmes," and "Herman W. Mudgett", names he allegedly lifted from mass-murderers. He co-founded and edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, reviewed mysteries for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, The New York Herald Tribune and The New York Times, wrote scripts for the Sherlock Holmes and Gregory Hood radio shows and edited countless anthologies in both genres. And he was one of the first to write sci-fi/mystery cross-overs. Indeed, many of Fergus' cases actually involve fantastic or science-fictional problems.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. A special thanks to Mike Barr for setting me straight.
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