Desmond Shannon
Created by M.V. Heberden

DESMOND SHANNON is supposedly the "highest paid private eye in New York City" in a fast-paced, tough series of novels written, perhaps surprisingly for the time, by a woman–Mary Violet Heberden.

Desmond's a large, husky red-headed Irishman who doesn't shy away from the rough stuff and can more than hold himself in a brawl -- much to the occasional dismay of sam Ross, his "homely assistant."

But Shannon evidently has brains as well as brawn. He's a literate kinda dick, with a special interest in philosophy. He also has a thing for communism–he doesn't like it. In one case, in fact, he works for free, to clear a young man framed for murder by those nasty reds. The final book in the series, You'll Fry Tomorrow, was praised by Anthony Boucher in The New York Times, who said the story "moves at a fast clip."

Mind you, the fast clip might be partially explained by Desmond's occassional use of bennies -- according to the blurb in the Dell Mapback edition of They Can't All Be Guilty, he lives on "bourbon, benzedrine asnd tough steaks."

Heberden was also one of the few women mentioned in mystery critic James Sandoe's oft-reprinted and anthologized personal checklist of favorite hardboiled authors. She was also responsible for another private eye, Rick Vanner and a sorta private eye/spy, Paul Kerrigan, under the pen name of Charles B. Leonard. She was born in England and besides writing was known as a world traveler; office manager and timber importer.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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