Created by Richard Deming
MANVILLE "MANNY" MOON is one of the great unknown series eyes that somehow slipped through the cracks. He's tough, honest and handy with the wisecracks, but he's a whole lot more. He's pulp, through and through, but he also displays a compassionate side that neatly echoes or anticipates Lew Archer, Dan Fortune et al.
Part of his empathy no doubt stems from the fact that he's literally "walking wounded." He's got a grim contraption of cork, steel, aluminum and leather, where his right leg used to be, courtesy of his stint working for Uncle Sam during WWII, and a face a woman once referred to as "a battered Saint Bernard." His stomping ground is Buffalo, New York, where he plies his trade, and keeps an eye on Fausta Moreni, the lovely proprietor of the El Patio Café.
At least, I think it's Buffalo. In Gallows in My Garden (1952), a suspect takes a ferry "across the river" to Illinois. That would place him somewhere in the Midwest. Yet I could have sworn some of the earlier stories take place in Buffalo. Or am I confusing him with Deming's other P.I., Barney Calhoun, who appeared in at least one book, Hit and Run. It doesn't help that Deming doesn't actually name the city he's in, as far as I can recall, although he does offer a lot of other details and his depection of a rough-and-tumble town with more than its share of rough edges is rendered with verve and grit.
Deming did a lot of hack work in his long career, but he also churned out some pretty solid stuff as well. He wrote for the pulps and digests, did several novels under the house pseudonym of Ellery Queen, and numerous tie-ins for such crime shows as Dragnet, Mod Squad, Charlie's Angels, Vega$ and Starsky and Hutch, often under the penname of Max Franklin. A consumate pro, he re-wrote on The Clue of the Broken Blade, one of The Hardy Boys adventures, and even dabbled in television.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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