Joe Shaw

Created by Keith Laumer

Tough, cynical JOE SHAW's the man in this one-time, heavy-on-the-Chandler effort by a writer better more for his science fiction, although, according to Bill Crider, " a number of Keith Laumer's SF novels have a nice hardboiled feel to them."

In his only appearance to date, Joe gets hooked up with a wacko wealthy family of screwballs while trying to track down the long lost daughter of a mobster on the run from his former gang. Not bad, not bad at all.

In fact, it's even dedicated, in its cheekiness, to "the incomparable Raymond Chandler, And to his peerless private eye, Philip Marlowe."

It was later made into a so-so flick, 1975's Peeper (also known as"Fat Chance"), starring Michael Caine and directed by Peter Hyams. But for some reason, hard-boiled Shaw became a bespectacled, bookish-looking nerd called LESLIE C. TUCKER. It was played mostly for nostalgic kitsch (the opening credits are spoken by a Humphrey Bogart impersonator) and laughs, though there weren't too many of the latter.

Hymans did a much better job of spoofing the P.I. genre a few years earlier in Good Night, My Love, a 1972 made-for-TV movie.


  • "It could not be more complicated (i.e. rigged) but it's all dished up fast from that steam table with a hard formica finish."

-- Kirkus Reviews on the novel



  • PEEPER...Buy this DVD...Watch it now!
    (aka "Fat Chance")

    (1975, 20th Century-Fox)
    Based on the novel Deadfall by Keith Laumer
    Screenplay by W.D. Richter
    Directed by Peter Hyams
    Produced by Irwin winkler and Robert Chartoff
    Starring Michael Caine as LESLIE C. TUCKER ("Joe Shaw" in novel)
    Also starring Natalie Wood, Kitty Winn, Michael Constantine, Liam Dunn, Timothy Agoglia Carey

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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