Roger Torrey
(pseuds: Sam Drake, Samuel Drake, John Ryan, R.D. Torrey
)
(1901-46)

............

Most readers of private detective fiction have probably never heard of pulp writer Roger Torrey.  It‘s understandable, I guess. He wrote only one novel, 42 Days of Murder, and almost everything else he ever wrote has never been reprinted.

And yet, over a relatively brief career spanning just thirteen years or so, between drinks, he pounded out over two hundred and eighty short stories and novellas, most of them crime and detective fiction, and was published in most of the top crime pulps of the day, including Black Mask, Dime Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly. Of those, over a hundred were cover stories and his name was prominently featured on over forty more, the reading public must have been interested in his fiction.

He wrote about bodyguards (Mike O'Dell), cops (Dal Prentice) and even several stories about a regular U.S. Army man (Bryant) working in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the South, but his forté was tough, hard-boiled, mostly Irish-American private dicks, and he created a slew of them, including George Killeen, Pete Halloran, Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers, Shean Connell, John Ryan, Terrance McGowan, James Halloran, Matt Keogh, Johnny Carr" (aka "Johnny Cass") and Hanigan and Irving.

When Torrey’s first published story, “Police Business”, made the January 1933 issue of Black Mask, he was a contemporary of George Harmon Coxe, Raymond Chandler, Norbert Davis and John K. Butler, to name a few; writers were carrying on -- and in many cases, expanding upon the “hardboiled school” established by Carroll John Daly and Dashiell Hammett in the 1920s.

* * * * *

Born May 5th, 1901 in Cadillac, Michigan, Torrey’s parents divorced and his mother, Rose, moved him and his younger sister, Ellenor, to Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Rose Torrey’s second husband, Harry W. Poole, built and owned theatres in the Klamath Falls area. After high school, a short stint with the Royal Canadian Rifles, and studies at the University of Oregon, Roger put his musical abilities to use in his step-father’s theatres.  Torrey began playing keyboards during the silent film era, then took the  position of Musical Director at the Liberty Theatre in the latter part of 1920, and later managed the Chiloquin Theatre.

1920s Chiloquin was a boom town nicknamed “little Chicago”, and nineteen year old Roger Torrey explored the pool halls, card rooms, and dance halls. In saloons he could ingratiate himself by playing barrelhouse piano for employees and customers, some of whom were cops. Memories from these days would be a bridge for his fiction and give the narratives authenticity. In one case, saloon patrons were the inspiration for a story.  In the January 1940 issue of Black Mask Torrey recounts the moment for a Marge and McCarthy story titled “Death Calls the Hand”:

“(It) wasn’t so tough to write because the opening was true. Naturally, I don’t go in low barrooms, (oh, my, no!) but a friend did, and saw this happen and told me of it.”

Torrey spent much of the 1920s rambling up and down the west coast from job to job, spending much of the time in Los Angels and San Francisco. Towards the end of the decade he married and became the owner/operator of a confection store. But by 1932 the marriage and business had failed.

One can speculate why Torrey made the move to New York City. Perhaps, after selling a few stories, an agent or editor encouraged him to come, reasoning that writing assignments would increase. Maybe that and a change of scenery was all he needed. But once there he not only made a good living, but developed friendships with fellow writers such as Steve Fisher and Frank Gruber, became acquainted with other authors like Cornell Woolrich, Lester Dent and Carrol John Daly, and met the woman who would spend the rest of his life with at an American Fiction Guild meeting.

Helen A. had appeared in pulp magazines, especially Romance titles, since 1929, and had one novel published with another in the works. They both liked to drink, so after moving in together an understanding was reached:  no drinking until the day’s page count was met.  Torrey worked quickly and once finished would pour a drink, then goad her for being slow.

* * * * *

Was the drinking begin to affect his work? Some editors began to be asked by the business offices not to accept stories by him due to his demands for money, although much this had to do with his alcohol consumption is hard to guage.  He did attend the first meeting of The Mystery Writer’s of America which was organized to look after the interests of MWA members.  At that first meeting the group decided on a slogan, “Crime Does Not Pay... Enough”.  Perhaps Roger took this to heart and felt emboldened when dealing with office people. Daisy Bacon, who was editing Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine, took the view that a story by Roger Torrey was worth the trouble and stuck with him.

Torrey could write both first and third person narratives, and often dipped into present tense. Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books likens Torrey’s style to sitting on a bar stool and the fellow next to you is telling a story.  The quality of his fiction would vary from magazine to magazine, but Torrey always made sure he got paid.

The quality of his fiction varied dramatically from magazine to magazine.  When detective pulps switched to stories with a more noir-minded narrative, as popularized by Woolrich, Fisher, and others, Torrey stuck with the “hardboiled” style that had made him popular.

Editors began turning down these stories. In one known instance, a story he submitted to Black Mask got turned down and received the same treatment in the office of Harry Widmer, editor of Ten Detective Aces.  Torrey ripped the manuscript in half out of frustration and left, seething. Widmer thought it was just an act, suspecting Torrey had a carbon of the story. But later Widmer was informed that Torrey did not make copies.

Perhaps it was his reluctance to meet editor’s demands, but Torrey deciding to write predominantly for the decidely less prestigious Trojan/Culture line of pulps, which included Hollywood Detective, Super Detective, Private Detective and Speed Detective.  There he could deliver formulaic stories for higher than average rates with no interference from their editors, and not have to alter his style.

In Frank Gruber’s The Pulp Jungle he recalled meeting a very drunk Torrey one morning on the street and could not tell if he got an early start drinking, or was carrying on from the evening before.  Gruber added, “Personally, Roger Torrey was a tough little guy, as hard as the characters he portrayed so well in his stories.“ This was when New York bars stayed open until 4 a.m. Occasionally, Torrey and friends would cab over to New Jersey where the bars remained open until 6 a.m.

On a visit to a doctor Torrey was told to quit drinking alcohol, the damage to his liver was severe.  He abstained for a month, then picked his old habit back up.  This decision cost his life.

Sometime in 1945 Roger and Helen left New York and headed for Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  According to Steve Fisher, who would write about his old friend years later, these were happy times for the two, but they came to an abrupt end.

On January 11th, 1946 Roger told Helen he did not feel well,  asked for a cup of tea, and lay down on the couch.  After sipping the tea, according to fellow writer Steve Fisher, he turned to her and said: "Hold my hand, Mommy, because I'm going to die."

She held his hand until the end.  Cause of death:  acute alcoholism.

* * * * *

At the time of Torrey’s death the pulp market was shrinking and paperbacks were going to take over.  Had he lived, Torrey might have had no choice but to write novels.  His realistic portrayals of crime and mayhem might have struck the same chord with the reading public that made Mickey Spillane a sensation in the 1950s.

UNDER OATH

  • "I'm not saying Torrey was a good as Hammett, but I find his prose reminiscent of... Hammett's best Continental Op stories."
    --
    Evan Lewis

SHORT STORIES

  • "Police Business" (January 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "A Night in Menlo" (March 1933, Black Mask; western)
  • "The Case-Hardened Samaritan" (April 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Robbery--With Violence" (June 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Hospital Case" (August 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Murder in Jail" (September 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Blackmail Is an Ugly Word" (October 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice; aka "Blackmail's An Ugly Word")
  • "Dal Prentice Thinks It Out" (October 1933, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
    A one-page "readers mystery" with the solution given in the next issue.
  • "Private War" (January 1934, Black Mask; George Killeen)
  • "Clean Sweep" (February 1934, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
    Included in The Hard-Boiled Omnibus
  • "Opals Are Unlucky" (February 15, 1934, Dime Detective Magazine; Johnny Cass; as by R.D. Torrey)
  • "Off-Stage" (March 1934, Black Mask; George Killeen)
  • "Party Murder" (April 1934, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Hot Money" (May 1, 1934, Dime Detective Magazine; Johnny Cass; as by R.D. Torrey)
  • "A Death in the Family" (June 1, 1934, Dime Detective Magazine; Johnny Carr; as by R.D. Torrey; aka "A Death in the Family")
  • "Curtains for Five" (July 1, 1934, Dime Detective Magazine; as by R.D. Torrey)
  • "Dice and No Dice" (September 15, 1934, Dime Detective Magazine; Johnny Carr; as by R.D. Torrey)
  • "The Breaks" (September 1934, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Law and Disorder" (November 1934, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "The Jade Beast" (December 1, 1934, Dime Detective Magazine; Johnny Carr; as by R.D. Torrey)
  • "Beginner's Luck" (January 1935, Black Mask; Mike O'Dell)
  • "Win - Place - and Show" (May 1935, Black Mask; Mike O'Dell)
  • "Dead Men Can Talk" (June 1935, Black Mask; Dal Prentice)
  • "Nose Trouble" (July 1935, Black Mask; Mike O'Dell)
  • "Dangerous Crossing" (August 1935, Black Mask; George Killeen)
  • "Too Much Action" (July 1936, Black Mask; Mike O'Dell)
  • "Border Blockade" (August 1936, Black Mask; George Killeen
  • "Jail Bait" (October 1936, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Earrings of Agony" (November 1936, Ten Detective Aces)
  • "Mail Racket" (November 1936, Black Mask; George Killeen)
  • "Back Alley" (December 5, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "The Irish Have It" (December 1936, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Trigger Man" (December 1936, Star Detective)
  • "High Homicide" (January 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
  • "Hit and Smash" (January 1937, Pocket Detective Magazine)
  • "Murder Frame" (January 1937, Black Mask)
  • "The Boy and the Butcher" (January/February 1937, Knockout Magazine)
  • "Crooked Wheels" (February 1937, Detective And Murder Mysteries)
  • "Justice Borrows Bullets" (February 1937, Secret Agent X)
  • "Murder's Never Funny" (February 1937, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Always a Lady" (March 1937, Black Mask)
  • "Double Gamble" (March 20, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Triple Cross" (March 1937, Star Detective Magazine)
  • "Rat Runaround" (May 1937, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "The Race Racket" (June 1, 1937, The Shadow)
  • "Hillbilly Stuff" (June 1937, Black Mask; Shean Connell)
  • "Ten Grand Trade" (June 26, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Case for a Killer" (July 17, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Death in the Hallway" (July 1937, The Whisperer)
  • "Without a Badge" (July 31, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Dark Corners" (August 1937, Pocket Detective Magazine)
  • "Grudge Grappler" (August 1937, Dime Sports Magazine)
  • "Just a Nice Girl" (August 1937, Black Mask; Shean Connell)
  • "Protection Plus" (August 1937, True Gang Life)
  • "The Hard Way" (4 September 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Hay Ride" (September 1937, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Sweet Charity" (September 1937, Detective And Murder Mysteries)
  • "Payment Arranged" (23 October 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Blackmail" (6 November 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "A Corpse Came Calling" (November 1937, Detective And Murder Mysteries)
  • "License for Murder" (November 1937, Five-Novels Monthly)
  • "Maybe It's Murder" (November 20, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "One Good Turn" (November 1937, Black Mask; Shean Connell)
  • "Wrong Number" (November 1937, Double Detective)
  • "The Meter Says Murder" (December 11, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Relative Trouble" (January 1938, Black Mask; Shean Connell)
  • "Sanitarium for Sale" (February 1938, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "There's Blood on My Hands" (February 1938, Detective Short Stories)
  • "Account Closed" (March 1938, Double Detective)
  • "Murder School" (March 1938, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Night Club" (March 1938, Private Detective Stories; as John Ryan)
  • "Blood of the Beast" (April 1938, Detective Short Stories)
  • "Three Little Maids from School" (April 1938, Romantic Detective)
  • "You Only Hang Once" (April 23, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Contact Man" (May 1938, Private Detective Stories; aka "Contact Man")
  • "Murder Link" (May 1938, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Murder Made in Reno" (Spring 1938, Detective Book Magazine)
  • "No Sale" (June 1938, Romantic Detective)
  • "One Step Behind" (June 1938, Double Detective)
  • "Gun Trap For a Money-Killer" (July 1938, Star Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Money Makes Trouble" (July 1938, Detective Short Stories)
  • "No Pockets in a Shroud" (July 1938, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Death Plays Tag" (August 1938, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Two Dead Men" (August 1938, Romantic Detective; John Linehan; by John Ryan)
  • "Clay Pigeon" (September 1938, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Labor Trouble" (September 17, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Troopers Die Hard" (September 1938, Detective Yarns)
  • "A Dead Man Forgets" (October 1938, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Family Affair" (October 1938, Romantic Detective)
  • "Rub Down" (October 1938, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Hole Card" (October 1938, Double Detective)
  • "Gardenia Kill" (October 1938, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "See No Evil" (October 1938, Candid Detective)
  • "A Hunch For Hanigan" (November 12, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "The Lady or the Lug" (November 1938, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Bodyguard" (December 1938, Private Detective)
  • "Concealed Weapon" (December 1938, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
    Included in The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps
  • "House Party" (December 1938, Romantic Detective)
  • "Dance Act" (January 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "A Death in the Family" (January1939, Candid Detective; Johnny Carr)
  • "Beginning With Murder" (February 1939, Romantic Detective)
  • "Blackmail Blast" (February 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Stake-out At the Morgue" (February 1939, Complete Detective)
  • "Girl in Trouble" (March 1939, Spicy Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Joker in the Deck" (March 1939, Candid Detective)
  • "Vacation with Murder" (March 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder on the Highway" (April 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Suicide Story" (April 15, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Country Kill" (May 27, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Road Show" (May 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Maid For Trouble" (June 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "House Cop" (July 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "A Bodyguard for Beano" (August 26, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Hay Time" (August 1939, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "On Guard" (August 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Road House Affair" (September 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Cook to Order" (October 1939, Spicy Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Kill That Witness" (October 1939, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Lost and Found" (October 1939, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder With a Backfire" (October 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Fire Test" (November, 1939, Dime Detective Magazine)
  • "Thirty Grand Reward" (November 1939, Black Mask)
  • "Tough Baby" (November 1939, Private Detective Stories)
  • "No-Money Payoff" (December 16, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "The Platinum Peke" (December 1939, Private Detective)
  • "Wanted -- One Watch" (December 1939, Private Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Death Calls the Hand" (January 1940, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Hotel Help" (January 1940, Private Detective)
  • "Appointment with Murder" (February 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "The Perfumed Murder" (February 1940, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "The Kill" (February 1940, Double Detective)
  • "Lock, Stock and Barrel" (February, 1940, Dime Detective Magazine)
  • "Murder for Your Money" (February 1940, Black Mask; Pat McCarthy & Marge Chalmers)
  • "Murder Tips the Scales" (February 24, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly; Hanigan and Irving)
  • "Black and White" (March 1940, Black Mask)
  • "Girl Trouble" (March 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Bad Samaritan" (April 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "The Vanishing Miss Vance" (April 1940, Black Mask)
  • "Blind Man's Bluff" (April 1940, Black Mask; by Samuel Drake)
  • "Life Or Death?" (April 1940, Double Detective)
  • "Mansion of Death" (May 25, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Taxi Trouble" (May, 1940, Dime Detective Magazine)
  • "Winner Take Nothing" (May 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Too Many Angles" (June 1940, Black Mask)
  • "Murder Backstage" (August 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder - For No Reason" (August 1940, Black Mask; Bryant)
  • "Angel Without Wings" (September 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Forest Blockade" (September 1940, Spicy-Adventure Stories; by Sam Drake)
  • "Three Dead Men" (September 1940, Thrilling Detective)
  • "Candidate for a Killing" (October, 1940, Dime Detective Magazine)
  • "Nominated or Murder" (October 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder on the Third Floor" (November 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "The Mill Pond Murders" (December 1940, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder -- the Hard Way" (January 1941, Spicy Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Case of the Doomed Debutante" (February 1941, Detective Short Stories)
  • "Little Miss Fortune" (February 1941, Spicy Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder for Rent" (February 1941, Private Detective Stories; James Halloran)
  • "Murder in the Backwoods" (February 1941, Spicy-Adventure Stories; by Sam Drake)
  • "No Gashes Were Deep" (February 1941, Black Mask; Bryant)
  • "Dead Man's Knock" (March 1941, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Death on Duty" (April 1941, Detective Short Stories)
  • "One Escort: Missing or Dead" (April 1941, Lone Wolf Detective)
  • "Law and Disorder" (April 1941, Black Mask; Johnny Riordan)
  • "Foreign Affair" (May 1941, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder With a Song" (May 1941, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan
  • "See You In Jail" (June 1941, Detective Short Stories)
  • "Snakes in the Grass" (June 1941, Black Mask; Bryant)
  • "Blind Death" (August 1941, Spicy-Adventure Stories; by Sam Drake
  • "Murder by Mail" (October 1941, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Frame for a Killer" (1 November 1941, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Beach Murder" (January 1942, Spicy-Adventure Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "A Corpse Will Call For You" (January 1942, Detective Short Stories)
  • "He Whispered of Murder" (January 1942, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder With Music" (January 1942, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder's Never Easy" (March 1942, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Coast Guard Capture" (April 1942, Private Detective Stories; by Sam Drake)
  • "Hell and High Water" (April 1942, Black Mask; Bryant)
  • "Tommy-Gun Wedding" (April 1942, Detective Short Stories)
  • "Death Picks the Unknown Blonde" (June 1942, Detective Story Magazine)
  • "The Countess and the Killer" (July 1942, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Lady Killer" (August 1942, Detective Story; Matt Keogh)
  • "The Frankie and Johnny Murder" (September 1942, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Death Has An Escort" (October 1942, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Hanging Evidence" (October 1942, Private Detective Stories; by Sam Drake)
  • "Dead Girls Can't Talk" (November 1942, Spicy Detective Stories; by John Ryan
  • "No Blackout for Murder" (November 1942, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine)
  • "Double Trouble" (December 1942, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Paper Pay-Off" (January 1943, Speed Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Three Women and A Corpse" (January 1943, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Dame in Dutch" (February 1943, Speed Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder Before Breakfast" (February 1943, Speed Detective)
  • "Murder Money" (February 1943, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Patent on Murder" (March 1943, Speed Detective)
  • "Plan For Murder" (March 1943, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Death Comes Double" (May 1943, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Death Wears a Ring" (May 1943, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine)
  • "Leave -- For Murder" (June 1943, Speed Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder Bars No Holds" (July 1943, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Death Dice" (September 1943, Speed Mystery)
  • "Two Down, One To Go" (September 1943, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Marriage Means Murder" (October 1943, Private Detective; John Ryan)
  • "Cabana Killing" (November 1943, Speed Detective, by John Ryan
  • "Death in the Pool" (November 1943, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine)
  • "Murder By Accident" (November 1943, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder Follows Suicide" (November 1943, Speed Detective)
  • "Clean-Up Kill" (December 1943, Super Detective)
  • "Cop Killer" (December 1943, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Two Men Missing" (December 1943, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder At Chantilly" (December 1943, Super Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Hot Wires" (January 1944, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder Camp" (January 1944, Speed Detective)
  • "Murder in a Motel" (January 1944, Speed Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Double-Cross Marks the Spot" (February 1944, Super Detective)
  • "Please -- Locate Murder" (February 1944, Super-Detective; Terrance McGowan; aka "The Quires Matter)
  • "Her Name Was Murder" (February 1944, Detective Story Magazine)
  • "You Can Hang But Once" (March 1944, Hollywood Detective)
  • "M Stands For Murder" (April 1944, Super Detective)
  • "Somebody Stole My Gal" (April 1944, Private Detective; John Ryan)
  • "A Murder For Teacher" (May 1944, Speed Detective; John Keogh)
  • "Death Does the Jitterbug" (June 1944, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine [Canadian edition])
  • "The Missing Mr. Link" (July 1944, Speed Detective)
  • "Numbered Death" (August 1944, Hollywood Detective)
  • "Black Murder" (August 1944, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Ticket To Death" (August 1944, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Arson Angle" (September 1944, Speed Mystery; by John Ryan)
  • "Death Wins the Lottery" (September 1944, Speed Mystery)
  • "Death is Elected" (September 1944, Super Detective)
  • "A Fool for Publicity" (September 1944, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine)
  • "Roll, Corpse, Roll" (September 1944, Hollywood Detective; John Ryan)
  • "Death Joins the Strike" (October 1944, Super-Detective)
  • "Path to the Death House" (October 1944, Private Detective Stories)
  • "The Thieves Fell Out" (October 1944, Speed Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Old Lady in the Lake" (November 1944, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Bury The Dead" (November 1944, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Death Child" (December 1944, Private Detective Stories; by Sam Drake)
  • "Death is a Rebel" (December 1944, Super Detective)
  • "Easy-Money Charlie" (December 1944, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Pick-Up Kill" (December 1944, Private Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "Murder Troupe" (December 1944, Detective Story Magazine; Shean Connell)
  • "The Sheriff Gets Knifed" (December 1944, Speed Detective)
  • "Death on River Road" (January 1945, Hollywood Detective)
  • "Fishing for Death" (January 1945, Hollywood Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Fools Die First" (January 1945, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder Fools Nobody" (January 1945, Speed Mystery; by John Ryan)
  • "Delayed Death" (February 1945, Private Detective Stories)
  • "For Fifty Grand" (February 1945, Speed Detective)
  • "Charnel House" (March 1945, Super Detective)
  • "The Suicide Murder" (March 1945, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Murder Was My Business" (April 1945, Super Detective)
  • "Peralta Pay-Off" (April 1945, Private Detective Stories)
  • "I Find Murder" (June 1945, Speed Detective)
  • "The Bookie Bets on Murder" (July 1945, Super-Detective)
  • "Death's Hand is Black" (August 1945, Hollywood Detective; Pete Halloran)
  • "Red Hot Murder" (August 1945, Speed Detective)
  • "Taxi Kill" (August 1945, Private Detective Stories; by Sam Drake)
  • "Printer's Ink Runs Red" (October 1945, Speed Detective)
  • "Excursion to Murder" (November 1945, Super Detective)
  • "The Stiff in the Solitary" (November 1945, Super Detective; by Ace Baldwin)
  • "Justifiable Homicide" (December 1945, Private Detective Stories)
  • "Two Little Men" (January 1946, Super-Detective)
  • "Dog Eat Dog" (February 1946, Speed Detective; John Ryan; by John Ryan)
  • "She Sang of Murder" (March 1946, Detective Story Magazine; Shean Connell)
  • "Stake-Out Kill" (March 1946, Super Detective)
  • "The Cemetery Slaying" (April 1946, G-Men Detective)
  • "Overseas Payoff" (April 1946, Hollywood Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Where There’s Smoke There’s Murder" (April 1946, Detective Story Magazine; Shean Connell)
  • "Bear Killing" (May 1946, Private Detective Stories)
  • "The Contesse and the Killer" (May 1946, Speed Detective; by Sam Drake
  • "Death-House Double-Cross" (May 1946, Super Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Talent for Murder" (May 1946, Super Detective)
  • "Gambler’s Payoff" (June 1946, Detective Story Magazine; Shean Connell)
  • "Live Wire" (June 1946, The Phantom Detective)
  • "Death Takes the Pot" (July 1946, Private Detective Stories)
  • "A Will For Murder" (July 1946, Super Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Pyre for a Corpse" (August 1946, Speed Detective)
  • "Double, Double, Here Comes Trouble" (September 1946, Super Detective)
  • "They Carried Him Out" (October 1946, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine; )
  • "The Barefaced Murder" (December 1946, Detective Story Magazine)
  • "Murder Runs in the Family" (December 1946, Private Detective Stories; by John Ryan)
  • "Bullets Backstage" (January 1947, Hollywood Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Time to Kill" (February 1947, Speed Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Gun in Hand" (March 1947, Super Detective; by John Ryan)
  • "Island Strangler" (March 1947, Popular Detective)
  • "Goal for a Gunman" (May 1947, Super Detective; by John Ryan)

COLLECTIONS & CHAPBOOKS

  • The Frankie and Johnny Murder: Two Tales of Murder and Intrigue (2004)... Buy this book
    This 68-pages chapbook contains two stories, "Dance Act" and "The Frankie and Johnny Murder

  • The Quires Matter: A McGowan For Hire Mystery (2006)... Buy this book
    Reprint of "
    Please Locate Murder"as 76-page chapbook.

  • The Bodyguard and Other Crime Dramas (2009)... Buy this book
    Edited by Tom Roberts, and featuring an intro by Ron Goulart, this volume collects six stories by Torrey.

NOVELS

Respectfully submitted by Joel Lyczak, with assistance by Richard Moore, John Locke (editor, Off Trail Press), Will Murray, Tom Roberts" (Black Dog Books) and Keith Alan Deutsch (Black Mask Magazine), as well as the reminiscences of Steve Fisher, and Don Torrey, Roger’s step-brother. Bibliography compiled and formatted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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