Created by John Spain (pseudonym of Cleve F. Adams, 1895-1949)
John Spain's BILL RYE is a cynical op whose description will probably remind you of Hammett's description of Sam Spade (or at least that's who I was reminded of). He works for a gent named Callahan, who raised himself from penniless immigrant to big-time operator and who now has plenty of political power (and enemies), along with plenty of family problems (a straying wife, a wild weakling son).
And now a woman shows up claiming to be his long-lost illegitimate daughter. People start getting killed, and the plot gets really complex. Rye isn't above bribery and perjury when it comes to protecting Callahan, and there's plenty of action, all done in the clean Black Mask style. Highly recommended.
Adams is of course the creator of notorious LA PIs Rex McBride and John J. Shannon, not to mention Violet McDade and her partner, Nevada Alvarado, two of the very first hardboiled lady eyes, who slugged their way through a string of stories in the pulps. But for some reason, when Dig Me a Grave was first released, its publishers, Dutton, kept the popular author's name a secret, challenging the public to guess the real identity of John Spain. Even Anthony Boucher gave a whack at it in his Criminals at Large column in The New York Times Book Review:
-- Anthony Boucher on Dig Me a Grave
-- James Sandoe on Dig Me a Grave
--Anthony Boucher, October 10, 1943, on Death Is Like That.
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