Singer Batts

Created by Thomas B. Dewey (1951-81)

Whatever fame the great but unjustly ignored Thomas B. Dewey managed to claim was for his two fine private eye series, featuring the husband-and-wife team of Pete and Jeanne Schofield and hard-boiled Chicago gumshoe Mac respectively.

But he created another very entertaining series, featuring SINGER BATTS, a hotel owner in Preston, Ohio, as well as a bookworm, Shakespeare expert, history buff and full-tilt oddball. Not a private eye, perhaps, but considering the type of shenanigans he and his hard-nosed hotel manager Joe Spinder routinely get involved in, he might as well have been.

Cranky and persnickety, Singer hates being interrupted when he's reading, and doesn't even like stopping to eat or drink. But set him on the trail of a murderer, and Singer makes for an unlikely hard-boiled dick, witty, clever and determined.

Batts appeared in four novels, making his first appearance in Hue and Cry (1944) which was also Dewey's first book.


  • Hue and Cry (1944; aka "Room For Murder," "The Murder of Marion Mason")
  • As Good As Dead (1946)
  • Mourning After (1950). Buy this book
  • Handle With Fear (1951). Buy this book


A brief bio, taken from Brian Ritt's Paperback Confidential (2013).

J. Kingston Pierce's telling June 2014 take on Dewey, from Kirkus.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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