Russell Teed

Created by David Montrose (pseudonym of Charles Ross Graham; 1920-68)

A Montreal eye!

RUSSELL TEED, "Montreal's version of the tough private eye" appeared in three novels set in my hometown back in the early fifties.

And Bob and Doug would be proud of this particular hoser. Dow? Molson? Labatt? The pages are practically soaked in it.

Tremendous amounts of beer are swigged throughout the series by both Russ and his best pal and one-time co-worker, MacArnold, a "by-line bum" working for The Montreal Clarion, the town's English-language morning paper. Hell, in one scene, they work through Teed's beer supply with the help of (on-duty) Montreal homicide dick Raoul Frambroise.

Teed went to McGill, worked for a while as a reporter, and then toddled off to WWII to fight for his King and Country, where he saw more than enough of what men can do to other men.

Upon his return, he became, as MacArnold explains, "A private operative. Very big time. All sorts of contracts. Does mostly company work. Not the cases where the bookkeeper skips with a thousand iron men, the cases where the chairman of the board thinks the secretary-treasurer has been cooking the company balance sheet to buy himself a small republic in South America."

It evidently pays well -- Teed may not be rich, but he has a swinging little bachelor flat on Côte des Neiges, right near Westmount Boulevard, and he tools around town in a spiffy little Riley roadster (which he annoyingly calls Riley).

Despite his corporate work, though, Russ somehow manages to get involved in some pretty bloody business. They may not have the most logical of solutions, and coincidence seems to be his chief strategy, while the violence may be overblown and the racist and sexist attitudes hopelessly outdated, but who cares? This is my hometown, and no book written about Montreal could ever please all the solitudes, never mind the big two. It's certainly no worse -- and often a hell of a lot better -- than a lot of generic stuff of that period. And the local colour seem just about perfect. This truly is pulp fiction chez nous. As vivid as Chandler’s Los Angeles, as Montreal as a quart of Molson.

So perfect, in fact, that Montreal's own Véhicule Press, a prestigious literary publisher, began reprinting the Teed books under its own Ricochet pulp imprint in 2010.

Beauty, eh?

UNDER OATH

  • "Two blondes, one brunette, a roadster and a whole lotta Dow. It doesn't get much better."

-- Brian Busby on The Crime on Côte des Neiges (December 2010)

  • "They’re cheap, gritty, good reads, and they feel like home."

-- Katia Grubisic

NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

A listing of Montréal eyes.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith (original report, February 1999).


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