James Hazell
Created by P.B. Yuill (Gordon Williams and Terry Venables)

"My name is James Hazell and I'm the biggest bastard who ever pushed your bell-button."
-- from
Hazell Plays Solomon

When cocky, Cockney private eye JAMES HAZELL first showed up in 1974, it opened up a whole new era in British crime fiction. No more tea-sipping Inspector Inbred-Jones inquiring into a wee spot of nastiness at the manor, or Millicient Teathorp discovering a body in the rose bushes. Nope, Hazell was the real goods, an "American"-style hardboiled dick prowling the meaner streets of London, the "biggest bastard who ever pushed your doorbell."

But he was more than a mere transplanted version of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade. He was a well-rounded, believable character more than capable of holding his own. Hazell was crude, rude, and not afraid to mix it up with whoever stood in his way, be it cops or robbers, and wasn't shy about taking the law into his own hands, either. As an ex-cop, this didn't exactly endear him to his former colleagues, particularly dour Scot CID man "Choc" Minty, who was always trying to get Hazell's license yanked.

You see, Hazell was booted off the force because of a "dodgy" ankle (coutesy of a wages gang who smashed it three or four times in a car door). The loss of employment, not to mention pride, lead to a bout with the bottle and a divorce. "That bloody ankle! It cost me my career, my marriage and almost my sanity" is the way Hazell puts it. Left to his own devices, he set up shop as a gumshoe with his cousin Tel, visions of Chandler no doubt dancing in his head. But the tawdriness of his new career, not to mention the regular beatings he went through, soon wore the glamour off. And it didn't help that the .44 Magnum he bought to play with the big boys scared him to death.

When Hazell arrived on television a few years later, another medium's status quo was shattered. The show was quite popular, despite the usual gripes about violence, disrespect for the British police, etc.

Creator P.B. Yuill was the pen name for the corrobative efforts of journalist and novelist Gordon Williams, who's probably best-known for penning the book that the controversial 1971 film The Straw Dogs was based on, and Terry Venables, popular British footballer and club manager. Hazell made his debut in a minor role in their first collaboration, 1974's The Bornless Keeper.

UNDER OATH

  • "The Hazell books (are) probably the best crime novels written by a former professional sportsman."
    -- John Williams, author of
    Into the Badlands

  • "The books are short, zesty and well-plotted and very easy to find second-hand -- you'd be a mug not to try one!"
    --
    Tipping My Fedora (5 fedora tips out of 5)

NOVELS

  • The Bornless Keeper (1974)
  • Hazell Plays Solomon (1974)
  • Hazell and the Three-Card Trick (1975)
  • Hazell and the Menacing Jester (1976)

SHORT STORIES

  • "Hazell and the Patriot" (1978; 1993, The Armchair Detective)

TELEVISION

  • HAZELL
    (1978-80, ITV)
    22 hour-long episodes
    Producers: June Roberts, Tim Aspinall
    A Thames Television Network Production
    Starring Nicholas Ball as JAMES HAZELL
    Also starring
    Roddy McMillan, Desmond McNamara
  • Season One
  • "Hazell Plays Solomon" (January 16, 1978)
  • "Hazell Pays a Debt"" (January 23, 1978)
  • "Hazell and the Walking Blur" (January 30, 1978)
  • "Hazell Settles the Accounts" (February 6, 1978)
  • "Hazell Meets the First Eleven" (February 13, 1978)
  • "Hazell and the Rubber-heel Brigade" (February 20, 1978)
  • "Hazell Goes to the Dogs" (February 27, 1978)
  • "Hazell and the Weekend Man" (March 6, 1978)
  • "Hazell Works for Nothing" (March 13, 1978)
  • "Hazell and the Maltese Vulture" (March 20, 1978)
  • "Hazell and the Baker Street Sleuth" (March 27, 1978)

  • Season Two
  • "Hazell and the Deptford Virgin" (April 26, 1979)
  • "Hazell Bangs the Drum" (May 3, 1979)
  • "Hazell Gets the Boot" (May 10, 1979)
  • "Hazell Gets the Bird" (May 17, 1979)
  • "Hazell and the Big Sleep" (May 24, 1979)
  • "Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost" (May 31, 1979)
  • "Hazell and Hyde" (June 7, 1979)
  • "Hazell and the Happy Couple" (June 14, 1979)
  • "Hazell Gets the Part" (June 21, 1979)
  • "Hazell and the Greasy Gunners" (June 28, 1979)
  • "Hazell and the Public Enemy" (July 5, 1979)

EXTRA POINTS

  • Hazell's lawyer, Gordon Gregory, works for the law firm of Venables, Venables, Williams and Gregory.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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