Monday, 16 August 2010

Carl Dekker Confusion

In Finland it seems that in the early 1960s everyone wanted to reprint Australian “author” Carl Dekker. Dekker (see below) stories were published by Calvert Publications (also see below). During the 1950s, Calvert printed about 350 digest novels—war, romances, westerns and, of course, crime fiction. Carl Dekker’s “On the Spot” stories were illustrated by Stan Pitt (1925-2002) who created a bevy of beauties to attract the eye of the “intended” (male?) reader. Dekker’s “hook” was that each story had a different exotic location – Shanghai, Damascus, and Venice etc.

In Finland, the first two translated “Carl Dekker” novels (Pin it on the Doll and Eve as in Evil) were reprinted in 1962. Published in the Ilvessarjassa (1960 – 1968) series, the digests lacked the Pitt covers as can be seen (compare to others below). The Ilvessarjassa series consisted of 'digests' by popular SU authors such as Day Keene, Gil Brewer, and Richard Prather. The inclusion of a small Australian series is odd to say the least.  There were much more popular authors including Carter Brown (see - I'm updating that one too).

Two years later another Finnish series, Sarjakustannus. printed six Carl Dekker titles under its “Max Strong” series— [in chronological order] Secret Plot in Shanghai, The Golden Gallows, Casino Minx, Lay Low My Lovely, Cutie Cursed, and A Wink from a Witch--there was no mention of Carl Dekker, only the original title on the verso of the title page. The Max Strong series (1962-65) is a strange phenomenon in that it started with another Australian crime lightweight, Max Strong (Cleveland Publishing Coy, see below).  Apparently the twenty-something Max Strongs, published in the 1950s, were penned by Robert Dudgeon (really accountant Frank Greenop 1913-1975) – other Dudgeon stories also appeared in this Max Strong series though they weren’t Max Strongs in Australia (see Thrilling Detective). Confused? Well the pulp fiction world of the 1950s is baffling. Bottom line: Robert Dudgeon stories were subsumed under the Max Strong series in Finland. None of the original Stan Pitt covers were used. And so were Carl Dekker--the Finnish, it seems couldn't get enough Aussie pulp fiction.

But wait—there’s more. In 1956 more Dekkers appeared in yet another detective series. Between 1965 and 1968 Viihdekirjat compiled 13 titles for their “Peter Flynn” Series: [in appearance order] Not for the Hangman, Casino Minx, Wink from a Witch, Cute Cargo, Grieve for me Gorgeous, Fate Chose this Number, Nightmare at Noon, Counterfeit Doll, The Talented Angel, Lay Low My Lovely, Gallows of Gold, Danger Doll, and Cutie Cursed. [ The covers are all Robert McGinnis ones--see to the left, much better than the earlier ones hey?].  But I have no idea who the heck Peter Flynn is/was!

Why Carl Dekker was so attractive to THREE Finnish publishing houses is unknown. To the best of my knowledge his stories did make it to any other European countries…could it be his slightly Nordic name? was the material simply available and/or cheap? If anyone has any further information, please email me.

For the Max Strong Carl Dekkers visit this website

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