Tag Archives: Don haring

The dying trade? Private investigators in Australian crime fiction

In the 1940s and 50s, some of the biggest names in Australian fiction were authors unknown today. People such as Gordon Clive Bleeck, Carter Brown, Don Haring and KT McCall were the leading lights of a huge local pulp fiction industry. It produced countless cheap westerns, science fiction and above all crime novels, printed cheaply with lurid covers and sold at news-stands on the street and in train stations. This piece was originally commissioned by the Wheeler Center and appeared on their website here.

In 1938, the federal government decided to levy foreign print publications. As a result of this decision, local publishing houses sprang up to fill the void, releasing hundreds of novels a month, including Westerns, racing and boxing stories, science fiction and crime. Hard-boiled and not so hard-boiled PIs became a standard feature of the pulp crime scene that flourished in Australia for two decades thereafter.

The authors are unknown today, despite some selling in the millions in Australia and abroad. Gordon Clive Bleeck wrote over 200 novels, including PI stories, while working full time for NSW Railroads. Carter Brown, the alias of UK immigrant Alan G Yates, is associated with nearly 300 titles.

Starting off as a hugely popular radio program on the Macquarie Network, the PI Larry Kent inspired a series of novels by Don Haring, an American who lived in Australia or a time, and Queenslander Des R Dunn.… Read more