Buck Whalen
Created by John A. Saxon (pseud. of Robert Leslie Bellem, 1902-68)

"Fatal Make-Up", which appeared in the October 1936 issue of Detective Fiction Weekly under the byline of John A. Saxon, is a bit of a curiosity.

Saxon was a pseudonym of Robert Leslie Bellum, best known as the creator of legendary Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective. Turner, of course, appeared in about a zillion stories, starting in Spicy Detective and eventually lending up with his own pulp.

But "Fatal Make-Up" stars a different Hollywood detective: one BUCK WHALEN. And, at least on the surface, Buck's no Dan Turner -- if anything, he's the polar opposite of jive-talking, roscoe-spatting Dan. The closest we get is when Buck Whalen comes to after being katoed:

"His mind began to function, jerkily. It was darker than the inside of a cow in that closet."

And that's the other major difference: the Dan Turner capers were usually first person, and this one's in the third. But except for the name change, this may as well have been a Dan Turner mystery. It has all the Hollywood milieu; the starlets, producers, and backlot action ou'd come to expect from a Turner story. Not a great one, perhaps, but an interesting provenance.


  • "Fatal Make-Up" (October 3, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)

Respectfully submitted by Mark L. Pruett.

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