Although he wasn't really a private eye, STEVE MIDNIGHT sure acted like one. Steven Middleton Knight earned his nickname from the moneyed days of his youth when he had a rep as a"midnight playboy on a nation-wide scale." But the depression hit, and his father committed suicide, after losing everything. The sole support of his sainted mother and sickly sister, Steve now jockeys the cabs he used to ride on the midnight shift, for the Red Owl Cab Company of Los Angeles. And when Danger! Mystery! or Murder! flagged his cab, he always gave them a ride.
Perhaps because he once had money, Steve no longer has much use for it, and refuses to be bought off. He usually takes a case for personal reasons, to collect a fare he was owed, or to get himself out of a jam.
Ultimately, honest, working-class Steve usually finds himself going up against wealthy but crooked members of the upper classes, whose smooth, respectable surface hides all manner of greed and corruption, lending a sense of political and class consciousness to the stories. He comes across as a refreshingly honest, compassionate hero, not at all cynical or venal, unlike so many of his contemporaries, and his description of Los Angeles ranks right up there with Chandler's.
One of the great lost series, rarely if ever reprinted, at least until 1998 , when a small publisher, Adventure House, evidently released At the Stroke of Midnight, a complete collection of all nine of the Steve Midnight stories, all of which first appeared in Dime Detective.
Butler created non-P.I. P.I., telephone company investigator Rod Case, who starred in foiur stories in Black Mask.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
| Home | Detectives A-L M-Z | Film | Radio | Television | Web Comics | Comics | FAQs |
Drop a dime. Your comments, suggestions, corrections and contributions are always welcome.