Violet McDade & Nevada Alvarado
Created by Cleve F. Adams (1895-1949)

"Violet hit him. Not hard, just a backhanded sweep across the room."
-- Nevada relates how her boss handles men.

The honour of being the first hardboiled lady private eye belongs to the buxom young lass over there to the left, Cleve F. Adams VIOLET McDADE, who made her debut in the pulp, Clues, way back in 1935. Violet's not some demure, addle-brained cheesecake, either. A former circus fat lady, she weighed in at anywhere from 300 to 400 pounds, depending on whether she was dieting or not, and she was at least as tough as any of her male contemporaries, and often as morally flexible. Clever, cunning, greedy; a "two-fisted Tugboat Annie" with an eye always out for a quick buck, Violet wasn't the least bit shy about using the twin guns she carried up her sleeves. And when she hit someone, man, he stayed hit.

The stories are narrated by Violet's partner in the McDade and Alvarado Detective Agency, NEVADA ALVARADO, a slim, dark-haired beauty, no cream puff herself, who had decidedly mixed feelings about her boss. For her part, Violet often refers to Nevada derisively as "Mex". Certainly the toughest pair of female eyes I've come across, and a far cry from most of their more genteel modern day counterparts.

The Violet McDade series was author Adams' first major pulp series. He went on to write several novels about hardboiled eyes such as Rex McBride, John J. Shannon, Bill Rye, and Steve McCloud.

SHORT STORIES

  • "Page Violet McDade!" (January 1935, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Shrinking Violet" (July 1935, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Visions of Violet" (February 1936, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Flowers for Violet" (May 1936, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Compromising Violet" (October 1936, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Important Money" (December 1936, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Violet to Orchid" (February 1937, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Murder City" (April 1937, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Bloody Bullets" (November 1937, Clues Detective Stories)
  • "Page Violet McDade!" (January 1935, Clues Detective Stories)
    "Shrinking Violet" (July 1935, Clues Detective Stories) "Mexican Bargain" (Aug. 1935, Clues Detective Stories) "Visions of Violet" (February 1936, Clues Detective Stories)
    "Flowers for Violet" (May 1936, Clues Detective Stories)

HUH?

  • "There is some implication that (Violet and Nevada's) relationship goes beyond the professional realm. Like Holmes and Watson before them, McDade and Nevada share accommiodations. McDade's tough talk and masculine mannerisms contrast with Nevada's feminine charm... to form a stereotypical lesbian couple."
    -- Catherine Anne May Jenkins in
    The Hardboiled Outsider: Hardboiled American Fiction as an Existential Literature, Trent University, 1995 (academics on crack!)

RELATED LINKS

  • Dangerous Dames
    A timeline of some of the significant fFemale eyes, and the date of their first appearance.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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