Created by Paul Ernst (pseudonyms included Frederick Carr & Ernest Jason Fredericks)
Arguably the first "defective detective," Paul Ernst's SEEKAY was a Chicago private eye who appeared in just five short stories in the pulps of the thirties, and whose claim to fame was that he had no face.
Well, not precisely. He did have a face, but it was hideously (of course) disfigured, and he hid it behind a featureless celluloid mask. Other than that, he's a true man of mystery. He must have been well off, because he seems to only take cases that pique his interest, and he works out of a book-lined study in a "bizarre house" on the near North Side, but other than that, who knows? We never find out how he received his injuries (the war?) or where exactly he got those Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction. His past is as blank as his mask.
Paul Ernst was born in West Peoria, Illinois, and wrote hundreds of short stories and novels between 1926 and 1966. He's probably best remembered for penning 24 Avenger novels under the house name of Kenneth Robeson for Street & Smith. He also was the author of the Dr. Satan series that ran in Weird Tales starting in 1935 and featured the evil Doc Satan, usually pitted against a wealthy occult detective named August Keane and his secretary Betty Dale. After the pulps died out he transitioned to the slicks writing for Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping. He was still writing at the time of his death in Zepher, Florida in 1985.
- "Madam Murder -- and the Corpse Brigade" (October 1937, Strange Detective Mysteries)
- "The Corpse with the Third Eye" (November 1937, Strange Detective Mysteries)
- "Case of the Smoking Skulls" (March 1938, Detective Tales)
- "Two Tickets to Hell" (July 1938, Detective Tales)
- "Widow of the Talking Head" (November 1938, Detective Tales)
- The Casebook of Seekay and Other Prototypes of The Avenger (2013) ..Kindle it!
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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